On 20 June 2021, APAARI started its new partnership with the Asia-Pacific Islands Rural Advisory Services Network (APIRAS) to implement the Joint Action Plan developed following the completion of the Joint Rapid Appraisal (JRA) of capacities for agricultural innovation systems (AIS). The JRA took place in 2020 and focused on assessing the regional landscape of capacities for AIS in Asia. The new partnership will lead the regional actions prioritized in this assessment.
The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), together with its partners and expert groups, has developed approaches and tools to strengthen capacity to innovate in the agri-food sector. The Common Framework for Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation System is the principal guide to the TAP approach to strengthening capacity to innovate at local and national level. In support of the Common Framework, TAP has also developed various tools, assessment methodologies and operational guidelines which have been tested, validated and up-scaled successfully under the EU-funded project “Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation System” (CDAIS) implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and TAP partners.
Building on these experiences, TAP is further promoting and integrating these tools and approaches in selected regional and sub-regional research and extension organizations in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, under the EU-funded project “Developing capacities in agricultural innovation systems: scaling up the TAP Framework” also implemented by FAO and TAP partners. APAARI and APIRAS are TAP’s key regional partners.
The new partnership among APAARI and APIRAS will strengthen their capacity to integrate TAP tools and approaches in their work programme to promote innovation processes at the country level. It will also facilitate and strengthen collaboration and synergies between research coordinated by APAARI and extension coordinated by APIRAS. The joint activities will particularly focus on promoting capacity development (CD) materials, tools, multi-stakeholder dialogue and training on strengthening AIS through enhanced functional capacities at various levels.
A concept note for a Regional Innovation Forum for Asia-Pacific is being developed to provide a platform for regular discussions of multi-stakeholders on the issues of CD, partnership and enabling environment for innovation. A series of webinars will be organized into thematic working groups, which will lead to the first big event planned for 2022 – High-Level Regional Innovation Forum (HLRIF). Other supporting activities being currently planned in the context of this partnership include various awareness and advocacy events to promote CD for AIS concepts in the Asia-Pacific region targeting research, extension and higher education actors, as well as a launch for good practices and survey on research-extension interface.
All these planned activities will involve APAARI and APIRAS members and key partners, as well as other relevant stakeholders, which is envisioned to strengthen the collaboration and networking among them. The participants are considered to be key policy influencers, and the planned activities will enhance their functional capacities to better advocate for the integration of the AIS perspective in their national contexts and institutions.