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Consortium newsletter inaugural issue march 2012


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Consortium newsletter inaugural issue march 2012

  1. 1. CONSORTIUM NEWS Inaugural IssueMessage from the Board Chair March 2012Welcome to the inaugural issue of Consortium News, a regular bulletin with updates fromthe CGIAR Consortium. This issue will provide an update of our current activities as well asa summary of the main results achieved since the reform process started.Significant progress has been achieved with regard to the reform process, although it isacknowledged that much more needs to be done.I am pleased to inform you that the government of Denmark recently announced that it willsign the Agreement establishing the Consortium as an international organization, along withFrance and Hungary. I will attend the signing ceremony in Paris on 2 March.All 15 CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) have been approved by the Consortium Board(CB) and submitted to the Fund Council (FC) for funding. To date, most of the CRPs havealready received funding approval and ten are already in operation. The remaining CRPshave been submitted for consideration and approval at the March FC meeting.Our funding situation is also looking positive. According to the CGIAR Fund Office (FO), 25 donors have either startedor completed Contribution Agreements. A few of these donors have also amended their original agreements to makeadditional contributions – a strong indication that donors have confidence in the potential of CGIAR research. Fundingfor Center operations in 2011 was almost US$700 million, up from almost US$650 million in 2010. A significantincrease is also expected in the unrestricted funding for 2012.Resource mobilization continues to be a high priority for the Consortium. As such, the CB is collaborating with the FC toestablish a resource mobilization strategy and an action plan. To be successful, resource mobilization needs to besupported by effective communication. So, in addition to the ongoing redesign of the CGIAR institutional website andthe creation of CGIAR branding guidelines that will enable us to speak with one voice, a collective approach is beingtaken to organize and participate in events and activities that will influence the global agenda. The Rio+20 event inJune this year is one such example.We are also working on the design and implementation of the One Corporate System, a Center-led initiative to increaseCGIAR’s efficiency and effectiveness.To ensure a smooth and efficient transition of activities after the resignation of the CEO, the CB immediately set up anExecutive Committee (Ex-Co) comprised of four CB members: Carl Hausmann, Ganesan Balachander, Lynn Haightand myself. During the last quarter of 2011, three members of the Ex-Co spent time at the Consortium headquarters inMontpellier working directly with CO staff. This face-to-face experience has given all of us a better understanding andappreciation of our respective roles. The CB also established four other committees with the purpose of improvingcommunications, transparency and governance within CGIAR: Audit and Risk; Science, Program and Partnerships;Nominations and Evaluation; and Members Interest.Following a thorough CEO selection process, two final candidates were retained. In the interest of ensuring fulltransparency and broad participation in the final selection, both candidates have been invited to make a presentation tothe joint Directors General/Board of Trustees/CB meeting on 28 February. The CB is expected to make a final decisionon the appointment of the new CEO at the seventh CB meeting in March.In closing, I would like to say how gratifying it is to be publicly acknowledged by our donors for the work we do. Forexample, Bill Gates mentioned CGIAR’s work in his 2012 Annual Letter, when he called for more innovation inagriculture and described CGIAR’s contribution as being “critical”. This is further evidence that we are on the right track.I hope you will find the Consortium News useful. It is an attempt to ensure that the Consortium as a whole is keptinformed of the progress being made in achieving the objectives outlined in the CGIAR reform process while keepingan eye on what still needs to be done.Carlos Pérez del CastilloChair, CGIAR Consortium Board
  2. 2. 2 CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWS2010 HighlightsDuring 2010, several important building blocks of the new CGIAR were put in place: • CGIAR Fund established • CB formed • CGIAR Fund Governance Framework (an umbrella for all new institutional documents outlining mutual accountabilities between the Fund and the Consortium) prepared • CGIAR Constitution, which sets out the roles, responsibilities and governance of the Consortium and its relationship with the Centers, approved • First Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) held • First two CRPs – Global Rice Science Partnership, and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security – approved by FC • First Consortium CEO appointed • Nine Centers and the CO began integrating their project, financial and human resource management systems into the One Corporate System (OCS) • Three CB meetings and three FC meetings held • Montpellier, France, chosen as Consortium headquarters2011 HighlightsDuring 2011, institutional reform continued to be implemented: • Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) approved by the Funders Forum • All 15 CRP proposals submitted by Centers approved by the CB and submitted to the FC – two years since the reform process started • CO staff was recruited and started operating in the new Consortium office at Agropolis International, Montpellier • Joint Agreement and Consortium Performance Agreement adopted by the FC and the CB • Program Implementation Agreement approved by the CB and the Centers • Consortium-level Gender Strategy developed by the CO and approved by the CB • Monitoring principles developed by the CO and approved by the CB • Consortium Intellectual Asset Policy adopted by the CB after extensive consultation with CGIAR stakeholders, and CGIAR Intellectual Asset Principles draft developed by Centers and donors • France and Hungary signed the Agreement establishing the Consortium as an international organization. France’s signature requires parliamentary ratification. • Five CB committees created with the purpose of improving communications, transparency and governance within CGIAR.
  3. 3. CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWS 32011 Outreach Activities • Consortium and the Stockholm International Water Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on water management issues – November • Consortium and the French Commission de la recherche agricole internationale (CRAI) signed a joint declaration – Montpellier, September • CGIAR celebrated its 40th Anniversary: one event hosted by World Bank (July) and another hosted by FAO (December) • Consortium hosted media briefing and learning event: The “Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa: challenges and opportunities for mitigating drought-induced food crises” – Nairobi, September • Consortium actively participated in G20 Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, the first G20 conference to focus on issues of international agricultural research for development – Montpellier, September • Board Chair made a presentation on the developments of the CGIAR reform process at 37th Session of the Committee on World Food Security – Rome, October • Consortium website launched – May • Design and development of the new website begun – OctoberCurrent Consortium ActivitiesAcquisition Process of International Organization StatusThe Agreement establishing the Consortium as an international organization (IO) was signed by Franceand Hungary during the closing session of the G20 meeting last September in Montpellier, France. Sincethen, the Agreement has been open for signature by other countries at the French Ministry of ForeignAffairs in Paris. All CGIAR donor countries have been invited to sign the Agreement and, in addition, theConsortium has been engaged in discussions with many potential signatory countries regarding theirsignature. Denmark is scheduled to sign the Agreement on 2 March 2012, while many other countries haveexpressed interest in signing too. As France’s signature requires parliamentary ratification, IO status will begranted as soon as another country that does not require parliamentary ratification (such as Denmark)signs the Agreement.Consortium Board CommitteesAs well as setting up the Ex-Co, the CB established four other committees as the result of an ad hoccommittee (made up of two CB members and two Center representatives) working on governance issues:Audit and Risk; Science, Program and Partnerships; Nominations and Evaluations; and Members Interest.Following decisions made at the Cali CB Meeting, the Ex-Co drafted the charters for the five committeesand submitted them to the CB on 20 January 2012 for their comments. After a number of adjustments, thefive charters were approved by the CB on 30 January 2012.The Nominations and Evaluations Committee (NEC), comprised of Carl Hausmann, Ganesan Balachander,Ian Goldin, Paul Zuckerman (Centers’ Board Chair representative), and Robert Zeigler (Centers’representative), has been working on the evaluation of the CB in order to explore the best practices of ahighly effective board over time. Instead of conducting a self-evaluation of the CB, the NEC agreed to allowa designated representative from each of the Centers to participate in the evaluation. This process isassisted by an external evaluation firm, which designed two survey questionnaires, one for the CBmembers and the other for the Centers, and circulated them on 15 January. The firm will evaluate theresponses and send a final report to the NEC by mid March.
  4. 4. 4 CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWSLast Steps in the Appointment of a New CEOImmediately following the resignation of the CEO, the CB established an ad hoc CEO Search andSelection Committee in October 2011. The Committee, which consists of the four Ex-Co members andPamela Anderson (the Centers’ CB representative), began working on the search and selection processwith the help of a recruitment firm. During the initial stages, the selection process benefited from theCenters’ input on both the Terms of Reference for the CEO role, and the suggested nominations. After achallenging search during which the Committee reviewed over 250 candidates, a long short-list ofcandidates was compiled. The Committee then selected four candidates, whom they interviewed in Miamiin early February. After an in-depth discussion, two candidates were retained for the final phase of thisprocess. In order to maintain transparency and broader participation, the CB has invited the two candidatesto make presentations in response to the question: “What do you believe are the challenges in the CGIARSystem in the short, medium and long terms and how would you address them?” during the joint DirectorsGeneral/Board of Trustees/CB meeting in Montpellier on 28 February. The final decision is expected to bemade during the March CB meeting.Development of 2012 CRP Financing PlanA 2012 CRP Financing Plan proposal has been developed by the CO in consultation with the Ex-Co. It willbe presented for approval at the seventh CB meeting in Montpellier and then presented at the upcomingFC meeting in Seattle.New Staff in the Finance and Corporate Services UnitA new Finance Officer, Mrs. Denyse Faulkner, has been appointed and will begin work on 27 February2012. This position ensures that there will be a permanent complement of two professional officers in theFinance and Corporate Services unit. During 2011 and 2012, the Consortium also engaged the services ofa long-term consultant who is assisting with start-up activities and, more specifically, helping to establishthe OCS for both CGIAR as a whole and the CO.Improving Management of CGIAR Intellectual AssetsThe Consortium Intellectual Assets working group (Ganesan Balachander – Board member; Sara Boettiger- CIMMYT Board Chair; Emile Frison - Bioversity DG; Bryan Harvey - former IITA Board Chair; Bob Zeigler- IRRI DG; and Elise Perset - Consortium Legal Counsel) has been working on a new draft of the CGIARIntellectual Assets Principles with the FC donors working group, which comprises representatives from theWorld Bank, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Initiative for Agricultural Researchfor Development (EIARD), FAO, Japan, Australia, and the Canadian International Development Agency(CIDA). After numerous discussions, a face-to-face meeting last year, and several document iterations, adraft was agreed on and sent to the CB, Centers and donors for wide review in January. The document hasbeen amended according to the feedback received and, as there are still a couple of unresolved issues, willbe submitted to the upcoming CB and FC meetings for discussion.
  5. 5. CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWS 5Establishing Monitoring Principles and Reporting Templates for CRPsAfter a thorough examination, the CB approved the Consortium-level monitoring principles proposed by theCO last November. Following this approval, the CO began drafting a chapter on “harmonized reporting” forthe Common Operational Framework (COF). The draft chapter contains reporting templates that areexpected to meet the requirements of donors while also respecting the Consortium-level monitoringprinciples. In order to receive formal endorsement of the draft chapter, the CO held several discussionswith a group of interested donors. The CO also formed a working group 1 made up of the directors of fourquite different CRPs—to obtain their perspective on those activities that can (or cannot) feasibly bereported on an annual basis.The working group has been providing inputs to the CO for discussions with donors on their reportingrequirements and the associated ‘template’ amendments for annual reporting. Three teleconferences withdonors have taken place so far. The CO re-drafted the chapter, after taking into account donor requestsand inputs from the working group. After the third teleconference, the templates were further amended andsent to the FC for discussion and use as an interim reporting template for 2012. During the thirdteleconference, two donors indicated that they were not ready to approve the draft chapter for inclusion inthe COF. The draft will also be sent to the Centers and CRPs for comments.Implementation of the Consortium-level Gender StrategyThe Consortium-level Gender Strategy approved by the CB last November will be discussed withinterested donors in a consultation to be jointly organized by the CO and the FO. As part of the Strategy,the CB hired a senior gender advisor, Dr. Jacqueline Ashby, for one year beginning last December. Dr.Ashby’s main function is to facilitate the mainstreaming of high quality gender research in all the CRPswithin six months of their implementation. The commitment to gender will be presented in a CRP-levelgender strategy. Dr. Ashby has organized a first meeting with CRP scientists undertaking research ongender to plan the scope of the research across the recently launched CRP Gender and AgricultureResearch Network. This meeting will precede the CGIAR-sponsored Global Conference on Women inAgriculture (organized by the Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions) in Delhi inMarch.New Strategic Research Theme on In Situ Management of AgrobiodiversityIn line with the identified gaps in the current portfolio of CRPs raised by the scoping study on geneticresources, the Consortium asked the CRP on Dryland Systems to design an in situ agrobiodiversitymanagement component. Centers involved in that CRP submitted a revised proposal following someiteration with the CO. The Consortium reviewed the submission and concluded that with some minoramendments it was ready for review by the ISPC. The ISPC will provide further comments that the CRPcan take on board (along with other comments received from donors) during its current inception phase.The CO has also been working very closely with the Global Crop Diversity Trust to address a request fromthe FC that the Consortium develop a sustainable mechanism that will support System genebanks. Theprogram submitted to the FC for approval includes the design and implementation of a genetic resourcesinformation system that will involve all relevant CRPs and the facilitation of an expert network on emergingstrategic genetic resources issues.1 The advisory working group consists of: Achim Doberman, director of the largest and longest running crop improvement CRP(GRiSP); Bruce Campbell, director of the longest running natural resources management CRP (Climate Change, Agriculture andFood Security); Patrick Dugan, director of the smallest CRP (Aquatic Agricultural Systems, a System-level CRP) and MarkRosegrant, director of the social science CRP (Policies, Institutions and Markets).
  6. 6. 6 CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWSImproving Communications in the CGIAR • Enrica Porcari was appointed Acting Director of Communications in October. Plans to recruit a fulltime candidate continue. • CGIAR needs to communicate with one voice. In addition, the launch of the CRPs and a reformed CGIAR called for new, clear CGIAR branding guidelines, which have been developed by the CO following extensive consultations with CGIAR communicators and other relevant groups and will be presented at the March CB meeting. The CGIAR institutional website (, which is an important communications vehicle, is being redesigned in close cooperation with the FO, the Centers and CRP communicators. The official launch is planned to coincide with the Rio+20 event. • To better communicate for influence and impact, efforts are being made to pursue collective, cohesive messages with major campaigns. Towards this end, plans have been developed to be present at both Rio+20 and GCARD with one voice. • CGIAR’s online presence has increased significantly: a number of training and strategic sessions on how to optimize online presence for increased reach and impact have been carried out with Centers and CRPs. In addition, the Consortium has facilitated the publication of opinion pieces, stories of change and articles covering the impact of CGIAR’s work in a number of media outlets.OCS: One System Many GainsThe OCS began as an inter-Center initiative to adopt and implement a common enterprise resourcesplanning system aimed at addressing the project, financial and human resource information needs of theCenters. Nine Centers and the CO are participating in the initiative, with the first implementationsscheduled for the end of 2012.By implementing the OCS, Centers can expect to improve operational efficiency at the Center-level interms of research, research support, and administrative support, and also facilitate collaboration andinformation sharing within Centers, among Centers, and among CRP participating Centers.IRRI and WorldFish will be the first Centers to implement the OCS – around September 2012. The CO willimplement the system either at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013. Bruce Fraser, Finance Officer inthe CO, is representing CO needs by working closely with the OCS team.Outreach ActivitiesThe Chief Science Officer and a Center Director General are both members of the Organizing Committeeof the next GCARD meeting, which is to be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The program for the meetinghas recently been amended by GFAR to reflect comments received from the Consortium, and a newbudget request has also been prepared for submission to the FC. After analysis of the submission, the CBwill present the new budget request and the amended program to the FC. To support the work andpartnership underway with African development partners, two CB members are participating in themeetings of the Steering Committee working on the joint CGIAR-CAADP (Comprehensive AfricaAgriculture Development Programme) initiatives.Preparations are also ongoing for the Consortium’s collective participation in the Rio+20 and ‘Planet underPressure’ events.
  7. 7. CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWS 7Developing Three New Memoranda of UnderstandingTwo Memoranda of Understanding are being finalized. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) withCGIAR’s Gender & Diversity Program focuses on how the intellectual assets of the Program are going tobe maintained and passed onto the Consortium in the second half of 2012. The other MOU, with AWARD,an independent program, stipulates that AWARD is a preferred provider of certain services for theConsortium and the CRPs. Interested CRPs will have more specific letters of agreement with AWARDunder this umbrella MOU.Two CB members are working on a third MOU with the African Union, the main objective of which is tofacilitate a strategic partnership within the CRPs’ framework that will support a robust African scienceagenda – in the agricultural and natural resources sectors in general, and around the implementationagenda of CAADP in particular.New Consortium Office Building to Be Completed by End of 2013An architect for the construction of the Consortium building in Montpellier, France, has been selected byrepresentatives of the Region du Languedoc, Agropolis and the Consortium. A call for tender, which waslaunched last year, attracted over forty applicants, five of whom were requested to submit an initial projectplan. The selected plan is for a building that will be modern, environmentally friendly and energy efficient.Completion is targeted for the end of 2013.Supporting Communities of PracticeThe CO will continue to support activities across the Consortium through a series of meetings: Past meetings: • An initial meeting of Center intellectual property specialists was held in October 2011. The main focus was to launch the Consortium Legal /IP Network and to discuss the draft ‘CGIAR IA Principles’ and the ‘Consortium IA Policy’, as well as the co-development in 2012 of implementation guidelines and best practices to ensure their coherent implementation in the CRPs. • The CO organized a science leaders meeting with all the CRP Directors and Center DDGs- Research. Discussions focused on: (i) the draft Monitoring Principles at Consortium and CRP levels, (ii) the draft of the Consortium-level Gender Strategy, (ii) the process for Research Priority Setting and Foresight in the context of the new action plan for the SRF, and (iv) criteria for selecting a few common research sites among some CRPs. • The Corporate Services Executive (CSE) met twice in 2011 – in Montpellier (April) and Washington- IFPRI (September). In addition, a specialist finance working group meeting in December reviewed reporting and accounting issues in the CRPs and the progress being made with the OCS. • A meeting of Center human resource managers was held at IRRI in February 2012, as part of an effort to establish a System-wide HR community of practice. • The first CGIAR communicators meeting was held in Nairobi in May 2011, during which the CGIAR branding guidelines, the new, CRP joint communications plans and other cross-System activities were launched.
  8. 8. 8 CGIAR CONSORTIUM NEWS Future meetings: • CRP Gender Research Experts – first meeting • ICT Managers Meeting 12 March 16-19 April New Delhi, India Rome, Italy • CGIAR Communicators Meeting • Corporate Services Executives Meeting 19-23 March 24-25 May Rome, Italy Montpellier, FranceUpcoming EventsThe Consortium will participate in: • 7th Fund Council Meeting 7-8 March Seattle, USA • Global Conference on Women in Agriculture 13-15 March New Delhi, India • ISPC meeting 26-28 March New Delhi, IndiaCGIAR Consortium, c/o AGROPOLIS INTERNATIONALAvenue Agropolis, F-34394, Montpellier, Cedex 5t (+ 33 4) 67 04 7575w Printed on recycled paper