Liu joins new sustainable agricultural intensification commission

Jack Liu joins international commission to guide investments in agricultural innovation.

Jianguo “Jack” Liu is joining international scientists, experts and decision-makers to collect and assess evidence to accelerate the urgently needed transformation of agriculture.

Liu, MSU Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, is one of 22 on the new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI). Initiated by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, CoSAI will work over 18 months to guide investments in agricultural innovation.

Progress toward feeding growing global populations, while protecting the natural environment is behind schedule, according to a major recent study that calls for a “ruthless focus” on solutions. It follows a growing body of evidence on the imperative need to improve food security and nutrition, protect biodiversity, reduce poverty and bolster climate resilience.

In response to these challenges, CoSAI commissioners are setting out to fill persistent evidence gaps to support policy-makers and private sector investors to boost investments in innovation and accelerate progress toward sustainable intensification of agriculture (SAI). Their efforts will complement insights derived from past commissions and studies on agriculture, food and the environment.

“Our 22 newly appointed commissioners include some of the most eminent experts and decision-makers from Africa, Asia and Latin America,” said Ruben Echeverría, chair of CoSAI. “They are uniquely placed to bring to light the challenges the Global South is facing in developing and adopting innovations that can help meet our food needs, whilst regenerating the natural environment.”

In many parts of the Global South, demand for food is quickly rising, resources are limited and external shocks – such as from extreme climate events – have become increasingly common.

Liu, who directs MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, has served on various international and national committees and panels. He is a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science and was a coordinating lead author of the global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services organized by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The CoSAI Commissioners will follow a process of “open inquiry” that will call upon a wide range of input – from farmer organizations to policy-makers, researchers, civil society and leading thinkers – to share their solutions to these big challenges, and debate the practicalities of implementation, taking a Global South lens.

The results of CoSAI’s work will guide global and national decision makers to support approaches to innovation that boost food production and access, ensure natural environments thrive, and reduce poverty and inequality.

CoSAI will have its official launch in June, in a global web event.

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