Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First day of the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD)

28-31 March 2010, Montpellier, France. Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development: Enhancing Development Impact from Research: Building on Demand
The GCARD process is addressing the following questions:
  • What are the development needs where AR can play its best role?
  • How best do we turn research in development impacts at scale?
  • How can more effective pathways be developed to create impact for the poor?
  • What investments, institutions, policies and capacities are necessary?
An influential panel of global leaders from local and international institutions opened the first-ever Global Conference for Agricultural Research for Development this morning, highlighting the need for increased collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation in order to meet grand challenges that we all face in feeding the world.

“GCARD offers a special opportunity to strengthen international agricultural research,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a video address.
“Indeed, the theme of this conference, Shaping the future of agriculture together, is of critical importance. You must apply ingenuity knowledge, and the power of partnerships to reach new levels of cooperation, innovation and trust to create better and more sustainable solutions. I know you will keep the needs of farmers, especially the poor ones, in the forefront in order to make a difference in improving their lives.”

Dr Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD • Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of FAO

Professor Adel El-Beltagy, Chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)

Panel discussion. By comparison, the challenges that we face today make the Green Revolution an easy challenge, said Sir Gordon Conway, who moderated the session entitled Partnerships for a better future. “The plant breeding innovations were easy, it focused on big farmers on land that was well irrigated and well managed.”
Each panelist was asked to identify one partnership that could serve as an example for a successful partnership.

For Tang Huajun, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), international and national partnerships and cross-sectoral collaboration with universities, farmers, and extension officers were critically important to China’s ability to feed over 1 billion people. CAAS currently has partnerships with 140 countries, involving thousands of researchers from Chinese and international research institutions around the world.
“We can feed our people because of these collaborations,” he said.

Huajun, Ann Tuttwieller of USDA, and Dr. Laurence Tubiana of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also highlighted the need for greater internal alignment to improve coordination and collaboration and foster a sense of common purpose and “trust” across agencies.
In summary, Sir Gordon highlighted several themes that emerged from the discussion.
1. Focus on problems, not programs.
2. Focus on partnerships that bring people together and relate to the needs of stakeholders.
3. Breakdown silos between research disciplines.
“Its isn’t easy because silos are comfortable, but if you can make working together exciting, then it will open a lot of doors for communication between one silo and another,” he closed

Panel discussion: Reshaping agricultural research systems to meet the needs of the poor.
Moderator: Prof. Ismail Serageldin.
Introduction by Moderator, followed by panel dialogue to address major requirements in reshaping agricultural research for development.

Synthesis and Close of session

GCARD conference website
GCARD blog
latest version of the GCARD2010 Program

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