Global meeting helps plan research-for-development

April 15, 2010 at 9:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We must build on synergies: Dr Mahmoud Solh, representing the Alliance of CGIAR Centers, addresses the GCARD conference

The Global Conference for Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD) was held earlier this month in Montpellier, France. The four-day meeting focused on defining a broad research agenda for the CGIAR over the next decade, based on closer dialog between research centers, national and regional organizations, and donor agencies. With more than 800 delegates – government ministers, farmers, development experts, scientists, donors, representatives of international agencies and others – the breadth of views was almost unmatched.

CGIAR research has generated benefits worth an estimated US$120 billion over the last 20 years alone. But given the extent of poverty in some developing countries, and the increasing challenges (water scarcity, food insecurity, climate change), even more needs to be done. The GCARD helped identify key research and development goals, estimate the funding required to meet these goals, and bring together donors and implementing partners.

The regional priorities identified at the GCARD meeting correspond closely to ICARDA’s research programs. This was no surprise, because ICARDA is known for its close partnerships with national research systems at every stage of the research-development continuum. The “new” CGIAR will build on past successes, working with an even broader range of partners.

Input from the conference is being incorporated into the CGIAR strategy and results framework, which is based on a set of Mega-Programs, each implemented by several Centers working together with a range of other partners. Seven Mega-Programs are envisaged, focusing on various areas: climate change and agriculture, water resources, staple food crops (e.g. wheat, food legumes, rice, maize), integrated agricultural production systems (crops, rangeland, livestock as well as aquatic and forest resources), health and nutrition, and markets. Selected (‘fast-track’) Mega-Programs will be launched this year, funded through a newly established mechanism known as the CGIAR Fund. ICARDA’s research agenda is closely linked with several Mega-Programs.

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