On 4 and 5 December 2014, the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR) and CGIAR institutes in Ethiopia organized a special consultative meeting to ‘strengthen EARS-CGIAR partnerships for effective agricultural transformation in Ethiopia‘.
The meeting brought together over 70 participants, spanning EIAR directors, directors of six regional research institutes, five vice-presidents for research from five Ethiopian universities, nearly all heads of CGIAR institutes hosted at ILRI (and some senior scientists) as well as to other stakeholders from Ethiopia in the research, government and development sectors. The whole Ethiopian Agricultural Research System (EARS) was represented.
The meeting featured many presentations, from EARS and from the CGIAR, to map agricultural activities currently taking place in Ethiopia, review ongoing challenges in cooperating and explore opportunities for new and deeper collaboration.
On the second day, after the presentations, participants formed working groups to identify collaboration modalities. Rather than focus on specific areas of agricultural research – which would have been tedious given the incredibly diverse agendas –the meeting organizers (Barry Shapiro of ILRI and Dawit Alemu of EIAR) recommended focusing on ‘how to get this partnership to the next level’. Ideas on how to do this were teased out from the presentations given and the working groups came up with four key areas for discussion:
- How to establish an EARS-CGIAR partnership committee
- How to align research and extension priorities
- How to work on joint publications and communication
- What capacity development efforts are needed for innovative research
After the group work, Shapiro and Fentahun Mengistu (director of EIAR) introduced a collaborative program on sustainable intensification and climate change that would bring together institutes from national and international research institutes in the country. Concept notes will be developed in the near future to further flesh out this program and get it started by the first quarter of 2015.
This was a first meeting between all of CGIAR and the wider EARS and was an important milestone in a long relationship. It will hopefully contribute to richer and more integrated collaboration in the future. This meeting was also a significant development since the review of the Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) of CGIAR entails a series of national consultation meetings in all CGIAR focus countries (including Ethiopia) and this ‘summit of the systems’ is an excellent foot in the SRF review door….
More on livestock: the livestock master plan, introduced by HE Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, state minister for livestock resources development
Following this EARS-CGIAR consultative meeting, Shapiro welcomed Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, Ethiopia’s state minister for livestock resources development who gave a presentation on the newly approved Ethiopia Livestock Master Plan (LMP) to help the regional research institutes and universities better understand its priorities.