There is a huge gap between researchers trying to understand the complex relationships between the need to cut hunger rates to zero and reducing inequality whilst also keeping our ecosystems healthy so that they maintain the clean water, healthy soils and biodiversity essential for humanity’s long-term welfare. The Social and Environmental Trade-offs in African Agriculture (SENTINEL) team plans to close this gap in three African countries and help key decision makers – as well as the civil groups that lobby them – understand the different ways of developing agriculture without impacting negatively on the natural environment. Lessons learned will be useful for the entire sub-Saharan Africa region.
The research process will involve a context analysis of each country as a whole, followed by analyses to determine: (i) drivers of current agricultural landscapes, (ii) impacts of different agricultural development pathways on socio-economic factors, biodiversity and the capacity of ecosystems to provide services to people over the long term, (iii) the role of institutions and policies in shaping agricultural systems; and (iv) the political and economic barriers to more joined-up policy and planning.
The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Research Councils UK Collective Fund is supporting projects in developing countries with the aim of building research knowledge in the UK, and strengthen capacity overseas, to help address challenges, informed by expressed need in the developing countries.