National Level Dialogue Workshop in Chennai
National level dialogue:
Transdisciplinary research on agrobiodiversity and land use change
Date: September 2nd - 4th, 2013
Venue: M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai, India
Land use change becomes more and more obvious even in remote rural areas, where we had expected to find save pockets for maintaining agrobiodiversity. The situation is not only complex, changes are also most imminent. To untangle this downward spiral of land encroachment and biodiversity loss as well as to work towards innovative answers against this trend, the research project BioDIVA has chosen a transdisciplinary approach.
Transdisciplinarity: Involving practitioner’s knowledge to create solutions
Transdisciplinary research is one answer to the sobering assessment of the limited impact of agricultural research on the mitigation of actual problems of rural people. Many research finding are not transferred into practice or do not stand the testing by practitioners. To overcome this dilemma and to make science more actionable, a school of transdisciplinary sciences emerged, believing in the necessity to involve the knowledge of laypersons from outside academia right into the research process. The challenge lies in combining theoretical discourse, data analysis and an intense consultation processes with a diversity of stakeholders.
Feedback spirals: Communicating science across levels
This Chennai workshop on the one hand serves to present the academic research results of the interdisciplinary and international team. On the other hand, this national level meeting is one stepping stone in enriching the field findings from empirical research with insights from the national level. The continuous dialogue between levels of jurisdiction has already been practiced in the Panchayats (village assemblies) and the district of Wayanad, where research is carried out and then was taken to the Kerala state level for deliberation.
Transformation knowledge for gender-equity and sustainability
Since 2010, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from India and Germany has worked using a transdiscipliary approach towards a holistic and interactive understanding of agrobiodiversity in times of rapid land use change. With the gained knowledge on ecological patterns, changing gender relations, motivation of farmers and a historical land change analysis, the BioDIVA research team aims to create knowledge, which enables stakeholders to transform the current situation into a more equitable and sustainable one.
Book launch: “Cultivate Diversity! A handbook on transdisciplinary approaches to agrobiodiversity research”
To make the transdisciplinary research approach and our research experiences available to other agrobiodiversity researchers, BioDIVA launched the handbook “Cultivate diversity!” at the Chennai workshop. The book employs a layman language as to lower the barriers between academic’s and practitioner’s worlds. Gathering experienced transdisciplinary researchers and activists from around the world, we share our methods and experiences of transdisciplinary knowledge creation for the sake of a more equitable and sustainable agrobiodiversity use.
The workshop brought together experts, civil society and policy makers concerned about the trend of land use change affecting ecological services and agrobiodiversity. Equipped with background information and the latest research findings, we brought together various actors with a stake in making land use sustainable. Together, the assembled experts explored viable strategies for sustainable land use and elaborated means for policy integration. Furthermore, the workshop offered opportunities to build alliances among stakeholders and contributed to the on-going dialogue on addressing the concerns of landscape transformation.
National Level Dialogue Workshop in Chennai - Inaugural speech
Inaugural Address on “Transdisciplinary knowledge and actionable research” by Dr. V. Pal Singh, Regional Coordinator South Asia, ICRAF, New Delhi
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