On 21 and 22 May 2012, the Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) team held a reflection and road map meeting with 24 participants from the four projects that make up the NBDC as well as from the Management Team of the Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF).
Participants reported on progress (see a report from the ‘Nile 4’ project), assessed whether NBDC is on the right track, identified the NBDC’s comparative advantages, crucial gaps and potential adjustments and, finally, developed an action plan that integrates monitoring and impact assessment and folds into a ‘sunrise strategy’ as the NBDC (and its parent CPWF) is scheduled to end in 2013.
The keywords for this important meeting have been: alignment, integration and indeed sunrise.
The pressure to deliver science and show results is mounting in the CPWF generally. For the NBDC this means the component projects should emphasize and deepen collaboration and synergies with one another.
Beyond internal alignment of the different projects, a major challenge is to ensure the NBDC is integrated with other research and development initiatives – as both outlets to disseminate its research results and to engage audiences around the research insights gathered so far and the tools and approaches developed by the various NBDC teams.
The Africa RISING program and initiatives by e.g. the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations or the United Nations’ Environment Program were some of the initiatives mentioned that could help pave the way for the sunrise strategy.
Although the program comes to an end in late 2013, the team wants to see this not so much as a sunset but rather as a sunrise, the start of a new and exciting period. During the meeting, the team started brainstorming a vision for 2014 and beyond, which builds upon the different innovation platforms – which should also be further integrated.
The way to the sun?
The comparative advantage of the NBDC was seen to lie in the combination of research outputs and development outcomes, the integrated approach at multiple scales and the program’s reputation for its knowledge brokerage function. Mobilizing these assets through a ‘sunrise strategy’ will stimulate integration and alignment in the best possible way.