Photo credit: Mulugeta Ayene/WLE


First, a note on COVID-19: This global pandemic is a stark warning that disrupting ecosystems, in a globally interconnected world, exposes us to massive levels of risk. Already faced with climate change and natural resource scarcity, the impacts of which might be longer lasting and of even greater magnitude than COVID-19, this crisis underscores the importance of doing much more to build resilience in our food systems. WLE’s work on landscapes approaches in agriculture, city-region food systems, innovations for smallholder resilience and more will help guide us toward answers in these difficult times.

Photo credit: Jim Holmes/IWMI


How do we transform food production so it enhances the environment?
Izabella KoziellProgram Director, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)

Agriculture must be intertwined with conserving and restoring natural resources, which will mean actively managing the various trade-offs and synergies that exist between agricultural growth and the environment. Investing in future solutions that tackle these multiple complexities will deliver more food in ways that nourish both people and the environment. Identifying win-win scenarios will be key.

WLE’s primary focus is on providing evidence and tools to ensure smarter agricultural decisions that enhance our environment.

Photo credit: Mulugeta Ayene/WLE


Why are smallholders so vulnerable to climate shocks?
Giriraj AmarnathIWMI scientist

“Smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable to climate shocks. Lack of awareness to current agriculture technologies and innovative tools, risks inherent to agricultural investments, limited assets and financial capital are all major reasons for farmers’ low investments in enhancing their adaptive capacity. This is why we are combining a number of very different solutions into one climate-smart bundle.”

WLE’s work spans from soil to solar and provides climate mitigation and adaptation solutions to smallholder farmers.

Photo credit: Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF


What benefits for people and the environment can women entrepreneurs help create?
Mary NjengaBioenergy research scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Reusing readily available waste to produce bioenergy provides an opportunity for women who do not have access to lots of capital and may have little education to start modest, but viable businesses. Beyond offering women with opportunities to create their own businesses and enjoy the benefits, such low-tech local businesses are also able to supply consumers with reliable, cheap and cleaner sources of energy that they would otherwise not be able to access.

WLE interventions highlight why gender equal and socially inclusive food solutions are critical to addressing poverty and hunger.

Photo credit: Mulugeta Ayene/WLE


How can we support smallholders and Global South communities, especially in light of COVID-19?
Ruben EcheverríaChair of Commission on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification (CoSAI)

With estimated millions struggling to afford food due to COVID-19, farmers throwing out tons of fresh produce, milk and meat, because no one is buying them, and restaurants and small businesses teetering on the edge of collapse, the coronavirus has exposed weaknesses in food systems. Looking forward, we need to use our current failures to reconsider how to better connect agriculture, nutrition, and health – and in doing so how to make future food and land systems more sustainable and resilient.

WLE’s solutions enhance smallholder opportunities and reduce poverty.

Photo credit: Jorge Oviedo


How does income affect nutrition?
Jenny PeñaCIAT researcher

The lack of economic resources is one of the main reasons why people in Cali do not have a complete, high-quality and varied daily diet. It is known that eating vegetables is healthy, but people perceive them as expensive. That's why eating cheaper fried sausages with potatoes, or food from a packet, is presented as a good option, as opposed to rice with vegetables, which can cost the same.

WLE solutions are also helping farmers produce enough nutritious food for growing populations.

2019 Publications highlights

In 2019, WLE delivered nearly 200 publications, of which 115 were peer-reviewed journal articles. A selection of the most read and most widely shared articles, books and chapters as well as briefs and reports is featured below. We are also highlighting the five seminal international reports that WLE lead or contributed to. Visit our repository, to explore all WLE publications.

Journal Articles

WLE in the news

Thrive Blog Highlights

Thank you to WLE’s partners and donors

WLE is grateful for the support of CGIAR Trust Fund Contributors, including direct support from