Highlights from GCARD – April CAN

“Millions of people around the world are enduring lives of hardship and misery today. We are collectively and personally responsible for this tragedy. I am personally ashamed…However, I believe that here at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), we have begun the process to put the structures, activities, and programs in place that will enable us to end poverty in this world.” These were the words of Dr. Monty Jones, 2004 World Food Prize Laureate and new Chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), during an emotional closing address of the first GCARD conference held in the last week of March 2010 in Montpellier, France.

GCARD is a biennial conference organized by GFAR in collaboration with the CGIAR to create a framework for global agricultural research to make development impact. In support of the on-going process of CGIAR reform, the recent GCARD meeting was also aimed at developing a new architecture for CGIAR centers to work interactively and integratively in partnerships with stakeholders in agricultural research. Participants included researchers, policymakers, farmers, donors, and members of civil society from every region of the world.

Under the CGIAR reform process, the ‘Strategic Results Framework’ (SRF) defines the CGIAR research outcomes and objectives, from which the Mega Programs are being developed. The Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) was enriched with ideas from GCARD participants on how best to undertake results-oriented research that will address major global challenges. These ideas will be used to inform the final version of the strategy and to shape the Mega Programs. Also discussed were themes which GFAR had earlier identified as crucial in the formation of architecture for agricultural research for development (AR4D). The need to revitalize and reform the way partnerships are managed at all levels was strongly emphasized. The inclusion of gender in all programmes was stressed as “non-negotiable.” There was also a strong call to strengthen the capacity for national agricultural research and AR4D. A bottom up approach to research that puts farmers and food providers at the center of agricultural research at the international, regional and national levels was also stressed.

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