How can we ensure that health, food systems, and sustainable agricultural systems mutually reinforce one another?

Impacting beyond niches: exploring approaches for up- and out-scaling innovations in mountains areas

Basement Room A-126 September 8, 2017 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

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Susanne Wymann von Dach1, Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel1,2, Radhika Murti1,3, Giorgina Catacora4, Manuel Peralvo5, Jianchu Xu2,6, Kiros Hadgu2, Manfred Perlik1, Andreas Heinimann1

1Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland; 2World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); 3International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); 4AGRUCO, Universidad Mayor San Simón de Cochabamba, Bolivia; 5CONDESAN, Ecuador; 6Kumning Institute of Botany, Kuming


In a context of rapid socio-economic and environmental change, inovation processes are key for promoting sustainable development, i.e. for fostering environmental integrity, advancing just economic development, and human well-being. However, successful innovations are usually the result of a complex interplay of institutional, socio-economic, and environmental factors and are thus very context-specific. In the challenging and highly heterogeneous contexts of mountains, innovations that build upon the unique local human and natural potentials are often taking place in niches protected by subsidies, economic incentives or supported by external donors. However, to really make relevant contributions to sustainable development pathways in and beyond mountain areas, innovations should be able to reach out beyond these niches. The objective of the session is to advance the understanding on how promising innovations in rural mountain areas can be up- and out-scaled beyond the context where they were developed. Based on insights from development-oriented research in Latin America, East Africa, and China researchers and development practitioners will address the following questions: How do mountain specific characteristics enable or hinder innovations processes? How have global socio-economic trends opened up or hampered opportunities for up-and out-scaling innovations in mountains? What kind of policies, institutional strategies, and learning approaches can support the expansion of innovations processes beyond niches?

In preparation for the session, panelists will write a short synthesis of their case study guided by a given conceptual framework. The written summaries will be circulated in advance of the session to the panelists. The conference session will start with presentation pitches (3-5 min. each) on the highlights of each case study. It will then be followed by a 60 minutes interactive debate with the participants using the “fish-bowl conversation” model, during which the session questions will be explored. The results from the session will feed into a joint discussion paper, for eventual publication in a peer-reviewed journal.