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40 impacts of 40 years of CGIAR Research: 1971–2011–and an update

CGIAR 40-Year Anniversary Logo
The Fund Office of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) recently produced two publications summing up past and current accomplishments in the CGIAR.

What the CGIAR has accomplished in 4 decades
First is a brochure celebrating, and listing, 40 impacts of 40 years of CGIAR Research: 1971–2011, which provides the following assessment.

‘The collaborative work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) has resulted in development impacts on a scale that is without parallel in the international community. They are the result of “international public goods,” including improved crop varieties, better farming methods, incisive policy analysis and associated new knowledge. These products are made freely available to national partners, who transform them into locally relevant products that respond effectively to the needs of rural households in developing countries.

‘Following are 40 largely quantitative findings on CGIAR impacts since its inception in 1971. Most were gleaned from a 2010 Food Policy journal article authored by Mitch Renkow of North Carolina State University in the USA and Derek Byerlee, a former adviser in the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department and co-author of the World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development. The article provides a quite comprehensive overview of hard evidence published in the last decade on CGIAR research impacts.

‘Several studies published in recent years have documented the impacts of the CGIAR as a whole either at the global level or in specific regions. . . . The economic benefits of the CGIAR as a whole were estimated to range from about US$14 billion to more than $120 billion. Even under quite conservative assumptions, the benefits of research have been roughly double the investment.’

Two of the impacts included in this ’40-year list’ are the result of livestock research conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

ILRI research helps deliver a vaccine against East Coast fever
The first livestock-related impact listed regards development of a vaccine against an ‘orphan’ livestock disease of poor people in Africa. ‘Diseases also pose a major threat to livestock production. Solutions, such as vaccines, are now being rolled out and could generate large impacts. The production and delivery of a vaccine for East Coast fever—a tick-transmitted disease that threatens some 25 million cattle in 11 countries of eastern, central and southern Africa — is being placed in the hands of private sector partners. It is expected to save more than a million cattle, with benefits worth up to US$270 million a year in the countries where the disease is now endemic.’

ILRI research helps support small milk producers
The second livestock-related impact listed concerns a change in policy that enables poor milk producers to grow their businesses. ‘Development impact depends not just on new technologies but on better policies that offer rural people the means and incentives to invest in sustainable agricultural production and resource use. While hard to measure, the impacts of CGIAR policy research and advocacy appear to be substantial, as suggested by recent case studies indicating benefits worth millions of dollars. Research and advocacy aimed at decriminalizing the marketing of milk by small-scale vendors in Kenya created benefits for producers and consumers having an estimated value of $44–283 million.’

Read the CGIAR Fund Office brochure: 40 findings on the impacts of CGIAR research: 1971–2011, March 2011.
CGIAR 40-Year Anniversary Logo

Where we are now
Another new publication from the Fund Office provides an update on the CGIAR reform process. Some excerpts follow.

‘2010 was an extraordinary year in the history of the CGIAR. Following donors’ approval of reform measures at the CGIAR’s Business Meeting in December 2009, the newly formed CGIAR Fund Council—chaired by Inger Andersen, Vice President for Sustainable Development in the World Bank—made a series of landmark decisions over the course of the year. It approved the documents for legal establishment of the Fund and appointed the Chair (Kenneth Cassman, Heuemann Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska) and members of the new Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC). Most significantly, the Fund Council approved two CGIAR Research Programs, which address fundamental challenges for agriculture in this century—raising the productivity of staple foods and coping with the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security.

‘The new CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers had already appointed Carlos Pérez del Castillo as its Board Chair in late 2009. He has a long and distinguished record of national and international public service, with emphasis on international economic issues. The full Board was rapidly assembled and by September 2010 had appointed the Consortium’s first Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd Le Page. He previously led the Sustainable Agriculture and Development division of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, focusing primarily on the improvement of agricultural value chains with small farmers in Africa and Asia. In January 2011, Jonathan Wadsworth, a senior adviser to the UK government, was chosen to serve as Executive Secretary of the Fund Council and Head of the Fund Office.

‘In addition, the Consortium Board chose Montpellier, France, as the location for the Consortium office at the invitation of the French Government. It also reviewed and refined the Strategy and Results Framework (which will be considered by the Funders Forum in April 2011) and assessed the process for creating and refining major new research programs within this framework.

‘In sum, ambitious reforms are advancing rapidly, with the aim of heightening the CGIAR’s relevance and impact through harmonized funding for programs that confront key global research challenges. . . .

CGIAR Research Programs
‘The CGIAR is rapidly developing a broad research portfolio, consisting of CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), which are grounded in the Strategy and Results Framework (SRF). The SRF provides, for the first time, a common research strategy for all 15 of the Centers. It establishes four System-Level Outcomes—reducing rural poverty, improving food security, enhancing nutrition and health and sustainable management of natural resources—which are addressed by the CRPs. These are major multi-year collaborative initiatives, through which the Centers and their partners aim to deliver measurable results, with a sharp focus on development impact.

As the SRF took shape in 2010, the Consortium solicited proposals for CRPs.’

Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Two CRPs have been approved so far, one on rice, ‘Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP)’, and the other on climate change. ILRI is centrally involved in the latter, called ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security,’ or CCAFS for short, which is described as follows in the CGIAR Fund Update.

‘Agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change, accounting directly for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, or nearly 26 percent if one takes into account the emissions from deforestation that are related to agricultural expansion. The sector is also highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as shifting rainfall patterns and more severe weather, which could severely depress agricultural productivity, with expected losses on the order of 10-30 percent in developing countries.

‘CCAFS will offer developing country farmers new options for adapting to emerging impacts in the coming decades and for mitigating climate change through a “carbon-friendly” agriculture that also strengthens food security and reduces poverty. Developed in collaboration with the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP), the initiative involves all CGIAR Centers (under the leadership of CIAT) and a wide coali- tion of partners. With an initial 3-year budget totaling US$206 million, it was launched during the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in early December at Cancún, Mexico.

‘Investment in CCAFS is expected to result in the impacts described as follows by 2020:
■ The cross-sectoral efforts to which CCAFS contributes will have reduced rural poverty by 10% in the target regions (initially East and West Africa and the Indo-Gangetic Plains).
■ The program’s contribution to reduction in hunger will have helped reduce the number of undernourished people in rural households of the target regions by 25%.
■ Agriculture will have contributed to climate change mitigation by enhancing storage or reducing emissions by 1,000 Million tons CO2-eq (considering all gases) below the “business-as-usual” scenario.

‘Four more CRPs are expected to be submitted to the Fund Council in April 2011:
Wheat—Dramatically boost wheat productivity while renewing the crop’s resistance to globally important diseases and pests and enhancing its adaptation to warmer climates while reducing the water, fertilizer, labor and fuel requirements of wheat production.
Maize—Help double maize productivity, with essentially no expansion of maize area, through more intensive, sustainable and resilient maize-based farming systems that are adapted to climate change and to rising fertilizer, water and labor costs.
Forests and trees—Enhance the management and use of forests, agroforestry and tree genetic resources across diverse landscapes.
Policies, institutions and markets—Design appropriate policies and strengthen the capacity of institutions and markets to support pro-poor growth in agriculture.

‘Other programs under development focus on:
Agricultural systems in the dry areas—Pursue new technology, institutional and policy options for enhancing productivity and managing risks through diversification, sustainable intensification and integrated agro-ecosystem approaches.
Agricultural systems in the humid tropics—Widen the array of technologies and innovations available and strengthen local capacity to adopt these for rural livelihood improvement.
Aquatic agricultural systems—Change the way the CGIAR engages with aquatic agricultural systems to better address constraints faced by rural households.
Roots, tubers and bananas—Develop methods that better enable smallholder farmers to access markets for higher value products, thus raising incomes and contributing to more diverse farming systems.
Grain legumes—Identify ways to use grain legumes more effectively for enhancing human nutrition, raising feed quality and maintaining soil health.
Dryland cereals—Improve the efficiency of research on dryland cereals so that it better meets the needs of smallholder farmers in drylands.
Livestock and fish—Raise the productivity of small-scale livestock and fish systems to make meat, milk and fish more affordable and readily available to poor consumers while increasing rural incomes. [ILRI is leading this program.]
Agriculture for improved nutrition and health—Accelerate progress in improving the nutrition and health of the poor through changes in agricultural and food systems. [ILRI is leading major health aspects of this program.]
Water scarcity and land degradation—Develop and promote research-based solutions that address water scarcity and land degradation while contributing to ecosystem sustainability. . . .’

Read the whole publication from the Fund Office: An update on the CGIAR for donors, March 2011.

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