October 2012 is going to mark an important event for those involved in Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D). More than 600 people from all over the world will attend the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2), organized by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), in association with CGIAR, the global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. We expect close to 1,000 people to participate to the conference remotely, through our webcasting and social reporting.
Development changes needed to achieve the Millennium and Development Goals (MDGs) are often complex and require actions and interactions of multiple stakeholders at national, regional and international levels. The GCARD process is about reshaping agricultural innovation and its significance in meeting key MDGs. It brings together all sectors involved in AR4D: The public sector, national and international policy makers, agricultural Institutions, agricultural research systems managers, leaders of farmer organizations and cooperatives, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, universities, private sector enterprises in agri-business and farming, investors, donors and philanthropic organizations etc..
The GCARD process also provides a unique mechanism to collectively examine the realities of achieving impacts at scale and what steps and changes will need to be put into place now to reap the benefits of agricultural research, knowledge and innovation in meeting national and international development needs.
From GCARD1 to GCARD2
The First Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 1) was held in Montpellier, France from 28th to 31st March 2010, during which the GCARD Roadmap was developed. The GCARD Roadmap proposes a series of transformative measures required to enhance the contribution of agricultural research and innovation towards development outcomes. The Roadmap sets out commonsense, practical measures, applicable and acceptable across all sectors and scales. It identifies 6 key areas in which the transformation and strengthening of Agricultural Research for Development systems is required to realize the full potential benefits of agricultural knowledge and innovation on the lives of smallholder farmers around the world:
- Collective focus on key priorities as determined & shaped by science and society
- True and effective partnerships between research and those it serves
- Increasing investments to meet the huge challenges ahead
- Enhancing capacities to generate, share and use agricultural knowledge for development
- Effective linkages that embed research in wider development processes and commitments
- Better demonstration of impacts and returns from agricultural innovation
GCARD1’s regional and global analyses and the CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework both highlight the need to have a bottom-up approach that ensures all stakeholders who are involved in AR4D engage in policy processes and also contribute in implementing ideas into actions, so that by the end of the day the outputs from research have a positive impact on the lives of smallholders, whose development needs should be at the center of consideration. In doing so, together they will contribute in reducing poverty and hunger, improving human health and nutrition and enhancing ecosystem resilience, hence achieving the MDGs.
From Roadmap principles to actions
The GCARD2 will be a major step for AR4D as it will bring together the practical steps now being undertaken to deliver the changes demanded in the Roadmap, recognizing the diverse realities and political economies (the interacting political, economic, institutional, technological, social and cultural contexts) in which development outcomes are desired.
GCARD2 will identify ways of generating more coherent, evidence-based perspectives on our future needs from agricultural innovation and, from practice-based experience, what kinds of partnerships, capacities, actions and changes will be required, from smallholders to scientists, to achieve the desired impacts.
Are you involved in Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D)? What challenges are you facing and what changes do you think are required in order to make a greater impact?
This blogpost was written by Nawsheen Hosenally, one of the GCARD Social Reporters.