Accountability for actions, Capacities for Change, Foresight for better futures, GFAR blog, Partnerships for impact, Research in society, Transformative investments

GFAR: Catalyzing change through networked actions

GFAR is truly a multi-stakeholder body. GFAR involves everyone from farmers to upstream science, public, private and civil society all working together in dealing with issues of the complex, ‘wicked’ problems of agriculture, food and rural development. These are issues that require multiple actors, who may often hold fundamentally opposed views, to work together in order to achieve success.

In the realities of rural development, where decisions and actions take place among a plurality of actors with complex interactions and power relationships, progress can only be achieved on the basis of working together beyond institutional bounds. This actually challenges many preconceptions. It challenges the way the institutions traditionally work, the way they think about hierarchies, about who is actually setting the agenda and “who it’s for”.

These kinds of considerations and questions about networked actions are not confined to agriculture. In a chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Public Management entitled “Networks and Inter-Organizational Management: Challenging, Steering, Evaluation, and the Role of Public Actors in Public Management1, many important points are raised about the role and challenges of networked actions in enabling institutions to achieve together much more than each could alone.

In this video, GFAR Executive Secretary Mark Holderness reflects on this paper and how GFAR, through its networked actions, helps people think positively and differently about what they are doing and why and how they are doing it. This is exactly what GFAR has always been about, and why the Partners in GFAR are together creating an enormous social movement for transforming agricultural innovation for development.

Dr Mark Holderness  is Executive Secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (mark.holderness(at)

1This chapter of The Oxford Handbook of Public Management was authored by Erik-Hans Klijn and published in the Oxford Handbooks Online, © Oxford University Press, 2015.

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