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Mitigation and Transformation Initiative for GHG Reductions of Agrifood Systems Related Emissions” (Mitigate +)

Contact: Marco Nilgen and Björn Vollan

Within the context of the One-CGIAR “Mitigation and Transformation Initiative for GHG Reductions of Agrifood Systems Related Emissions” (Mitigate +), the Research Group Sustainable Use of Natural Resources is going to partake in the implementation of participatory action research to support food system stakeholders to co-design, experiment and implement integrated socio-technical innovations to mitigate GHG emissions, while improving socioeconomic outcomes.

Our research group aims to perform an investigation of bottom-up processes in public policy decision-making as potential deep leverage interventions on a path to more sustainable food systems. We will initiate this process by organizing and analyzing citizens’ juries within the context of living-labs implemented by Mitigate +. In citizen juries, bottom-up decision-making processes are facilitated by the incorporation of balanced expert knowledge and stakeholder input supplemented by alternative forms of learning. Citizen juries create spaces where representatives of the respective target population deliberate on a controversial issue of public importance, before making policy recommendations based on these deliberations. In this way, local knowledge and stakeholder interests are blended with expert information to inform policy decision-making. Such approaches can be especially helpful when complex and value-laden interrelations, as e.g., the socio-ecological trade-offs inherent to food systems are relevant to the policy decision at stake.

Over the course of two years (2023 & 2024) and in a total of two research sites (Kenya and a second site yet to be specified), our research group aims to tackle two distinct objectives: First, to unlock the transformative potential of citizen juries at the individual, stakeholder group, and food system level, taking into account contextual factors that further our understanding of the conditions under which citizen juries and their outcomes become more accepted among citizens, leaders, and food system actors, while leading to improvements for local socio-ecological systems. Second, to create acceptance among policymakers for integrating citizen juries into public participation processes by generating and communicating evidence and co-designing locally adapted citizen jury designs.