CGIAR Research Programs

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI works in partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector to develop scalable agricultural water management solutions that have a real impact on poverty reduction, food security and ecosystem health. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa, IWMI is a CGIAR Research Center and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

In Southeast Asia, WLE builds directly on the work and accomplishments of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF Mekong) which sought to improve the livelihoods and ecological benefits derived from reservoirs and their catchments without impairing the economic and social gains of development.

WLE in the Mekong focuses on five themes:

  1. water governance
  2. healthy rivers
  3. river food systems
  4. healthy landscapes and ecosystems
  5. capacity building and professional development.

It will conduct research throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion, specifically in four river basins: the Mekong, Red, Ayeyarwady and Salween.

Additional CRPs of relevance to IWMI-SEA include the Humidtropics, Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The Integrated Systems for Humid Tropics CRP, referred to as Humidtropics, seeks to transform the lives of rural poor in the humid lowlands, moist savannas, and tropical highlands in tropical Americas, Asia, and Africa. Intensification of agricultural systems in the humid and subhumid tropics offers the best potential for poverty reduction, especially for women and other vulnerable groups, and meeting world food demand. Research driven by IWMI in Southeast Asia focuses on determining the effect of crop intensification of downstream water resources.

The Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) CRP has a mandate to confront the paradox of high ecological productivity and the high prevalence of poverty, vulnerability and inequities among social groups relying on AAS. IWMI –SEA is a partner within AAS, and in SEA is undertaking research into system productivity, strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity and improving policies and institutions in the Tonle Sap in Cambodia. IWMI-SEA is well positioned to support the development of similar activities in Myanmar, especially in the Ayeyarwady delta which is likely to be a future focal point for AAS.

The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) CRP seeks to overcome the threats to agriculture and food security in a changing climate, exploring new ways of helping vulnerable rural communities adjust to global changes in climate. In Southeast Asia, CCAFS is testing pro-poor adaptation and mitigation technologies, practices and systems in six climate smart villages (CSVs) in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. As a partner in CCAFS, IWMI is currently coordinating the baseline research in one of the villages in Laos (Ekxang). In addition, IWMI is a key partner in a CIAT[1]-led project investigating agricultural technologies for enhanced adaptive capacity and resilient livelihoods in CSVs of Southeast Asia.


[1] International Center for Tropical Agriculture (known by its Spanish acronym CIAT for Centro

Internacional de Agricultura Tropical)