Moving in the right direction: join the debate on the CGIAR agenda

Last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, the FARA@15 Celebration provided the opportunity to announce the first step of a consultation on the new CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework (SRF), as well as the forthcoming launch of the GCARD 3 process.


“GCARD3 will be a two-year consultation process  focusing on stakeholder and partner priorities and based on national and regional stakeholder consultations designed to help shape the strategy and future direction of international agriculture research and innovation.” (GCARD3 flyer)


Embedded in a joint FARA-CGIAR  two and a half day ‘Workshop on Review and consolidation of the emerging Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa’s (S3A) operational strategy’, a panel composed of Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of GFAR, Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, and Alain Vidal, Interim Strategy Director of the CGIAR Consortium, presented to around one hundred delegates about the longer term and innovative engagement concept of this third GCARD process in which:


“Consultations will continue throughout 2015 and will be both on-line and face-to-face at a global, regional and national levels. Some of the key consultations will be hosted by national partners around the shape and direction of the CGIAR Research Programs. The results of these consultations will provide inputs to a focused GCARD3 event in late 2015 and subsequent further development of the next round of CGIAR Research Program proposals.” (GCARD3 flyer).


A video, produced by GFAR, also shown at the event highlighted the importance of such an engagement process with stakeholders around the world to be able to properly orient agricultural research so that it aligns with what countries want to achieve as well as what is needed by the poor within those countries. Reinforcing this message, the panellists emphasized the need for agricultural research to be particularly aligned with development priorities in Africa, both for the future CGIAR strategy and programs and for the emerging S3A.


“GCARD3 will be an inclusive, participatory process and an opportunity to shape the future. It will encourage conversations for change in setting a new agenda for agricultural research in development and new pathways for uptake. The overall outcome will be the clear – and transparent – identification of international research priorities, and what’s needed to achieve future development goals in national systems, in particular for family farmers and poor communities.”(GCARD3 flyer)



Seeing results already

As a part of the overall GCARD 3 process, the first step of a consultation on the new CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) is now under way and active. With the aim to ‘Let your voice be heard!’, the consultation which was launched on November 20th 2014 has now heard over 50 voices through:

The voices have come from both women (29%) and men (71%) from countries including France, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan and Tanzania. And the voices have been reflecting views from the private sector, public sector, NGOs, UN agencies, universities and farmer organizations. Those voices have been loud, and what has been heard so far is very interesting with some key trends emerging such as:

  • Looking at whether the vision is appropriate the survey has so far revealed that 35% agree that it is, with 50% somewhat agreeing that it is appropriate and 15% not agreeing. In the e-consultation a couple of the comments point to ways in which the vision could/should be strengthened–see those here.
  • We asked people what they thought of the principles driving the research strategy and the majority of people agreed or somewhat agreed with all of them, but the one that got the highest percentage of respondents (75%) fully agreeing with it was ‘Principle #6.  Research will respond to local and national priorities and add value by placing them in the context of global public goods. This will include the rigorous and systematic characterization of key farming systems and landscapes, to facilitate targeted scaling up and the production of baseline data from which to assess progress towards impacts.’ In the e-consultation a comment was made on the research strategy principles that There is a great divide between basic and applied research i.e. some research activities are being done purely for science sake not directed towards field impact.”  Have your say here.
  • People have been sharing their priorities of the Intermediate Development Goals proposed, and one comment made was that “multiple of the sub IDOs present significant overlaps, some are quasi substitutes, while they should be complementary as much as possible. There is a sense of these being reflecting the 15 CG centers’ views. It is clear that the importance of IDOs will depend on the context.” What are your priorities?
  • A push for capacity development to be included was heard from various parts of the consultation. In the survey it received the largest number of respondents indicating they ‘strongly agree’ with it as a cross-cutting topic. One person wrote to the email address asking that the SRF Please focus on building national capacity in agriculture, self-sufficiency in farming and climate-smart (carbon-neutral, as you write) crops and farming systems.” And a discussion started by Suresh Babu from IFPRI and now joined by a number of other people on the e-consultation is exploring how CapDev should be truly cross-cutting here.

So you are encouraged to join the consultation and share with others to participate as well. Thank you for letting your voice be heard!

Consultation Phase 1 ends: 12 December 2014
Consultation Phase 2 starts: January 2015


Alain Vidal and Nadia Manning-Thomas, CGIAR Consortium Partnerships Team

Photo credit: ©FAO/Ishara Kodikara

Source: CGIAR