G20: New Focus on Agricultural Research

In a move that is positive for those of us involved in food security and agriculture, for the first time the G20 put agricultural research on its agenda at a meeting in Montpellier, France on 12-13 September 2011.  For details, see this link for concept paper, agenda, presentations, photos etc.

The four objectives of the meeting were (source: Global Forum on Agricultural Research):

  • greater co-operation and co-ordination of research policies and programmes on food security
  • effective and innovative research partnerships for development and better impact of research from CGIAR
  • stronger capacities in agriculture technologies for poor countries and synergies between G20 agricultural research systems
  • more involvement of the G20 agricultural research systems in the second global conference on agricultural research for development (Gcard) in Uruguay in 2012.

Mark Holderness, executive secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), said: “It is the first time the G20 has actively put international agricultural research on its agenda. That is a big step in itself — the G20 countries have recognised that [agricultural research has] a wider economic relevance.”

After the conference, on 16 September 2011 the Chairman of the board of the CGIAR Consortium for International Agricultural Research, Carlos Pérez del Castillo, made the statement below in a message to the directors general of the 15 CGIAR centres (including ACIAR) (source is here, highlighting is mine)

‘The G20 Conference on Agricultural Research for Development just held in Montpellier (12–13 September 2011), was the first conference in the history of the G20 that focused on issues of international agricultural research for development. David Nabarro called it a “historic event of momentous proportions”, because of the strong consensus that emerged from the discussions on the key role of international agricultural research for development in providing sustainable long-term solutions to global food security.

‘It was heartening to hear many delegations state that existing coordination mechanisms, such as the CGIAR Research Programs and the GCARD Roadmap, are particularly well positioned to facilitate international coordination. . .

‘[T]hroughout the Conference, extensive references were made to a strong commitment to international agriculture research for development and to the important role that the reformed CGIAR is expected to play in the international arena, as facilitator of research synergies among G20 countries. . . . There was . . . an overwhelming consensus that more stable and longer-term funding are needed for international agricultural research to succeed in providing long-term options and solutions to global food security. . .

‘We expect that the salient points from this meeting will be used as input for the joint G20 ministerial Finance and Development meeting in Washington (September 25), and for the Heads of States Summit, in Cannes (November 3–4). . .

‘[A]t the end of the Conference, the Treaty establishing the CGIAR as an international organization was signed by France . . . and by Hungary . . . . Two other countries are expected to sign in the coming days, as the Treaty is now formally open for signatures at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris.’

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