Seminar series - Agricultural Research for Development: communication and policy impact

The ENVS8018 - Partnership Research for Agricultural & Natural Resource-Based Development seminar series will showcase a range of speakers over semester 1, 2022 to explore the challenges and opportunities in the global food system.

Achieving food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, improved wellbeing and greater equity, while conserving and enhancing natural capital, and delivering climate change mitigation and adaptation outcomes, are amongst the greatest and most demanding challenges of this century. The UN Sustainable Development Goals articulate ambitions for each of these elements, and progressing towards those ambitions requires that we also address the synergies and tensions between the SDGs.

Over the past 50 years, a global network of institutions and initiatives has emerged to catalyse and communicate research, enable and link researchers, in support of agriculture and natural resources-based development to address these global challenges. Australian researchers, policy makers and practitioners have contributed to this network and activities in a variety of ways; the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has played a central role in many of these. ACIAR’s partnership mode of research for development is acknowledged globally as an exemplar that other seek to emulate.

Please email Peter Kanowski for the zoom link if you wish to attend online.


About the seminar

Creating space for agricultural research for development in crowded national policy and program agendas requires effective communication of its benefits to key decision-makers. This panel reflects on experience of communication and policy impact strategies from ACIAR’s work in Lao PDR.

About the speakers

Ms Dulce Simmanivong is based in Vientiane, and is responsible for strategic oversight of the Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar country programs. Before joining ACIAR in 2015, Dulce managed the rural development portfolio of AusAID/DFAT for six years, working across sectors, including financial inclusion, social protection, non-government organisation cooperation, mine action and rural livelihoods. Before then, she worked in program management positions with the United Nations and civil society organisations, including a farmers’ alliance. Dulce’s past work took her across North and South-East Asia. She earned both her degrees—a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) and a Master of Industrial/Organisational Psychology—at Ateneo de Manila University.

Dr Hilary Smith is a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Fenner School of Environment & Society where she collaborates with other researchers, primarily on ACIAR projects in Asia and the Pacific. She also co-supervises Masters and PhD scholars. Hilary undertakes research in forest policy, legal and governance issues with a current focus on forest plantations, agroforesty and wildlife in Lao PDR and Fiji. Much of her recent work has been on international forest and timber legality and policy issues through systematic legal analysis resulting in the development of legal compendia to the Forestry and Wildlife Laws in Laos. Hilary has also been involved in several international development projects researching and assessing value chains in these sectors and countries.

Dr Soytavanh Mienmany is Soytavanh Mienmany is a Lao Scholar at the Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University. Her research focuses on rural households’ decision-making and livelihood outcomes in three Northern Lao crop booms – banana, cassava and teak. She holds a Master’s Degree in Agronomy and AgroFood at SupAgro Montpellier, France, which included a research project entitled ‘Agriculture beyond the oil palm development in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia’. Before starting her PhD in July 2017, Soytavanh was working at the Lao Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in the fields of land use change, resource management and rural livelihood change.