WASHINGTON, April 12, 2011 - International development donors have added significantly to the momentum building behind an unprecedented effort to reduce world hunger and poverty, curb natural resource destruction, and confront climate change.
CGIAR Fund donors and stakeholders met in Montpellier, France, where they approved three research-for-development programs dealing with forests, maize, and drylands. They also took other key decisions to start the flow of funds into these new initiatives together with two others approved in November 2010.
For 2011, donors are expected to provide the CGIAR Fund with a total of US$358 million. This covers about half of the costs of research conducted by the Consortium of International Research Centers including the programs just approved. Donors will cover the other half of the CGIAR’s 2011 budget through bilateral agreements already in place.
“I am especially gratified that, in this year of the CGIAR’s 40th anniversary, we have gone beyond commemorating past achievements to set the stage for even greater development impacts in the coming decades,” said Inger Andersen, CGIAR Fund Council Chair and Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank, one of the CGIAR’s founders and a key supporter. “Achieving those greater impacts, however, is contingent upon increased funding for the wider agricultural research effort.”
That wider research effort involves other crops, various CGIAR Consortium member centers, and numerous partner organizations. It aims to achieve the 70 percent increase in agricultural production needed to provide food security for a global population of 9 billion people in 2050.
The research-for-development programs approved cover:
1. Forests, including trees grown on agricultural land. This program promises to deliver important results within 10 years. These include a doubling of rural household income for a significant portion of a priority group of about 500 million people living in or close to forests in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
This research will also improve the efficiency of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). Within a decade, efficiency gains could boost the amount of REDD+ credits available to developing countries by US$108 million to US$2.7 billion per year. To be implemented by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in collaboration with three other CGIAR Centers, the program will have a budget of US$67.8 million in its first year.
2. Maize. The program is designed to ensure that productivity can be doubled by 2050 to meet expected demand (including inexpensive food for some 900 million poor consumers). It will also stabilize the total maize growing areas in developing countries to avoid environmental damage. To be implemented by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), this program will have a budget of US$54 million in its first year.
3. Drylands. Occupying 40 percent of the earth’s land area and home to a third of its population, they are especially vulnerable to climate change and, thus, require a dedicated effort to protect vulnerable people and natural resources. The International Center for Agriculture in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) will implement the collaborative program, with a budget of US$37.4 million in its first year, aimed at reducing the risks involved through a mix of improved technologies and policies that help diversify and sustainably intensify crop and livestock production.
A fourth program – set for approval in July of this year after modest adjustments – will put in place the policies and institutions needed for smallholder producers and other rural people, especially women, to gain easier access to markets. This will raise their incomes and strengthen household food security. Two other programs approved last year focus on boosting rice productivity and providing the rural poor with options for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
While agreeing to support ambitious new programs, CGIAR Fund donors also approved the broad strategy within which the programs will operate. The strategy commits the CGIAR to a business-like, results-based approach to management that defines the organization’s development objectives and systematically directs all of its research capacities and investments toward achieving these, with full accountability for measurable progress. At the same time, donors ironed out details of the formal agreements under which they will disburse funds to the new programs.
“With our new strategy and programs, we now have a strong and flexible basis on which all 15 of the CGIAR Consortium’s member centers can act collectively with hundreds of partners to deliver results that contribute to the Millennium Development Goals,” said Carlos Pérez del Castillo, Consortium Board Chair.
Overall funding to the CGIAR will need to increase rapidly to support all of the new programs expected to get under way in 2011.
The CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for sustainable development with the funders of this work. The funders include developing and industrialized country governments, foundations, and international and regional organizations. The work they support is carried out by 15 members of the Consortium of International Research Centers, in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.
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