The CGIAR 2030 Strategy is based on the premise that the organisation can deliver more relevantly, consistently and efficiently when brought together under fewer institutional boundaries, supported by clearer, unified, and empowered management and governance. As stated in the CGIAR documentation “One CGIAR … provides the opportunity for a fresh ten-year strategy that can shape a stronger and more relevant science agenda for today’s world of change.”
The Strategy is an ambitious and exciting path forward for CGIAR. In a resource constrained world, reliance on partnerships is imperative. System transformation will require CGIAR to move into areas where it has not gone before, and this is where strategic partner growth will be a great asset as their respective strengths are added to the whole.
In October the CGIAR issued a survey soliciting comments from its constituency on its 2030 Strategy. GFAR collected comments from its partners and submitted these in response to the survey. Some of the comments submitted are as follows (edited to be concise):
- There is a need to work with and support strong and sustainable platforms of stakeholders in this process, including the National Agricultural Research and Extension service systems and regional research networks, as well as other multi-stakeholder platforms at national and local levels.
- How can innovations be framed and documented towards the reform of such a governance system? Specific support and strengthening of local food systems and small-scale food producers could be a viable starting point.
- What next after innovations? There is need for reform of the governance of food systems. Increasing corporate control of the food industry has compounded the situation of small food producers who experience continued difficulty in accessing services, credit and markets. Weak extension services and pricing policies also often work against them. The governance of the food system must be reformed if we are to ensure food for all.
- A key challenge that may arise is in developing a common institutional culture and understanding of the various elements of land, water and food systems. For one, as the strategy is framed, it seems that land and water are seen mainly as commodities and/or factors of production; hence the interrelationships between humans and resources are not explicitly addressed.
- Unequal power relations exist between small food producers (farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples) and private landowners, plantations, and agribusiness companies. Conflict management and resolution approaches could thus be a research agenda item that can mitigate risks of land and resource disputes.
- Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the food system is directly affected through disruptions in food supply chains and markets. At the same time, the capacity to produce and distribute food is hampered as a result of job losses and decreases in purchasing power. Small farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples remain at the frontline of this pandemic by continuing to be major suppliers of food, yet they continue to be deprived of access and control over productive resources (land, water and forests). In relation to gene banks and breeding centers, the pandemic has shown the importance of a decentralized system to increase our resilience. Farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples are breeders themselves, and should be recognized as partners to promote and encourage community-managed.