The main goal of AgMIP’s regional integrated assessment (RIA) methodology is to provide scientifically rigorous information to support improved decision-making by various stakeholders, ranging from local to national and international non-governmental and governmental organizations.
Key features of the RIA methodology:
- A protocol approach based on a rigorously documented methodology so that results can be replicated and intercompared, and so that methods can be improved over time.
- The study design must be made with input from stakeholders and policymakers
- A transdisciplinary, systems-based approach that can incorporate important features of current and possible future systems, including multiple crops, inter-crops, livestock, and non-agricultural sources of income.
- The approach must be able to account for the highly diverse types of systems, and the widely varying biophysical and socio-economic conditions that characterize farms.
- The approach must be able to incorporate the high degree of heterogeneity in biophysical and economic conditions typical of most agricultural regions.
- The methods must be able to quantify vulnerability to climate change in a meaningful way, i.e., it must be possible to characterize the impacts on those farm households that are adversely affected by climate change, as well as those that benefit from climate change. In other words, it must be possible to quantify not only average impacts but also the distribution of impacts in diverse populations.
- Key uncertainties in climate, crop, biophysical, and economic dimensions of the analysis must be assessed and reported so that decision-makers can understand them and use them to interpret the results of the analysis. (Antle et al., Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems 2015)
AgMIP Protocols for Regional Integrated Assessments
Various regions of the world are now undertaking regional assessments following AgMIP protocols and integrated assessment procedures. The Protocols for Regional Integrated Assessments was written such that it represents a minimum approach that can be expanded upon in regions where available data and resources allow. The methods and core approach used by all interdisciplinary research teams need to be fundamentally consistent in order to enable meta-analyses and large-scale studies. Particular care must therefore be taken in introducing new methods and models that could potentially limit the ability of results to be compared beyond the immediate region.
The purpose of the Protocols for Regional Integrated Assessments is to describe recommended methods for a trans-disciplinary, systems-based approach for regional-scale (local to national scale) integrated assessment of agricultural systems under future climate, bio-physical and socio-economic conditions. An earlier version of these protocols were developed and used by several AgMIP Regional Research Teams (RRTs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA) in Phase 1 research. (AgMIP Protocols version 5.1). This guide has been updated to incorporate the new research methodology being followed in Phase 2 of the Regional Integrated Assessments. It is written to guide a consistent set of integrated assessments that can be applied to any region globally.