G20 Conference on Agriculture Research Development                       Montpellier, September 12-13, 2011.              ...
Worldwide, we have seen strong volatility and uncertainty in commoditymarkets, since 2008. Ultimately they have led to maj...
annually at 1.1% in the period 1975–1990, the rate was only 0.5% during1991–2007, according to FAO’s data.The success of t...
policies and approaches to research that result in greater farmersempowerment, for them to face the emerging and multiple ...
incomes. Public policies and investments are also the subject of ourresearch, aiming at, for example improving farmers’ ac...
Services, regional organizations, rural development specialists, membersof the scientific community, civil society groups,...
strengthening to ensure that research and resulting benefits are aseffective and equitable as possible.This new research p...
To conclude, I would like to summarize my answers to the questions wewere asked to address in this session.Firstly, we def...
I am confident that the G20´s new perspective will have a decisive role inaddressing these questions, and ensuring a more ...
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G20 conference on agriculture research development 2011 address by carlos pérez del castillo, cgiar board chair

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On the occasion of the G20 Conference on Agriculture Research Development
(September 12-13, 2011, Montpellier) CGIAR Consortium Board Chair, Carlos Pérez del Castillo addressed the gathering of high-level agricultural experts.

He began with the message “food security for our world is in a state of urgency” – and went on to outline the need for increased funding, and stronger co-operation and co-ordination in agricultural research for development.

Perez de Castillo assured the G20 nations that the CGIAR can now be their strongest ally in the task of making “a more food secure future for our world”.

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G20 conference on agriculture research development 2011 address by carlos pérez del castillo, cgiar board chair

  1. 1. G20 Conference on Agriculture Research Development Montpellier, September 12-13, 2011. Promoting Scientific Partnerships for Food Security Session 1: Stronger Co-operation and Co-ordination for Agriculture Research for Development and Food Security1.Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you on this important subject.Lloyd Le Page, the CGIAR Consortium CEO, was unable to join us today,because of a last minute impediment requiring his urgent attention. Heasked me to convey his regrets, and as Chair of the Consortium, I amhappy to take his place in this occasion.Today, I would like to address 3 key areas key to promoting scientificpartnership through stronger cooperation and coordination for AR4D.The urgency for more agricultural research.The food security for our world is in a state of urgency.Climate change, economic instability, persistently high food prices, andrapid population growth – all coming at the same time – are amounting toa perfect storm for our societies and our collective food security.In the Horn of Africa, for example, we are seeing a food crisis and famine,caused by multiple factors, including a drought and policies that haveperverse effects on agriculture on a scale that is deeply troubling to all ofus who have devoted our careers to agricultural research fordevelopment.1 Speaker: Carlos Pérez del Castillo, CGIAR Consortium Board Chair. 1
  2. 2. Worldwide, we have seen strong volatility and uncertainty in commoditymarkets, since 2008. Ultimately they have led to major price hikes in keystaples, which are having the greatest impacts on those who can leastafford them. It is the poor in developing countries – who already spendup to 80% of their income on food (compared to about 10% for you and I)– who are the ones most affected by the rising costs of basic food staples.As we have seen in recent years, food price hikes and pressures on supplycan trigger major waves of social unrest. In 2008, we saw food riots inmore than 30 countries. That social unrest can create a force that canpotentially jeopardize, even topple, national governments – or destabilizeentire regions.We are rapidly approaching the 2015 deadline for achieving theMillennium Development Goals. The first of these regards reducing theproportion of hungry people by half. While hunger has dropped by about25% since 1990 – there are still a billion people worldwide facing chronichunger. And with the drought, political instability, overall insecurity andgrowing famine in the Horn of Africa, we may see those numbers worsenfurther.Why are we starting to lose the battle against hunger against which wehad made such strides in the past?There are short and long-term causes behind the increase in the numbersof people that go hungry ever day. One of the primary long-term causes isthe decreased investment in agriculture and in agricultural research fordevelopment. There is broad consensus on this.Since the Green Revolution in the 1970s, there has been a steady declinein investments in agriculture. While the investment in agriculture grew 2
  3. 3. annually at 1.1% in the period 1975–1990, the rate was only 0.5% during1991–2007, according to FAO’s data.The success of the Green Revolution saved millions of lives, but it alsobred complacency and today we face the need for a new revolution inagriculture.With declines in agricultural investment have come declines inproductivity and sustainability. Meanwhile, the emergence of otherfactors - the energy, economic and financial crises, climate change,increased urbanization, and further rapid degradation of soils and water -has deepened the needs of the poorest and increased the challenge ofmanaging our natural resources sustainably.In 2009, the FAO´s High Level Experts Forum established that the annualgap between current and required investment in agriculture in developingcountries is US $67 billion annually. This would require a 50% increasecompared to current funding. And it includes increased funding forresearch, among other measures, to boost agriculture productivity.The G20, along with a myriad of international organizations involveddirectly or indirectly in food security, agree: Increased funding foragricultural research is fundamental.We know that it is a good financial investment. Even the mostconservative estimates of returns on investment in the CGIAR have shownrates of return equivalent to at least twice the investment – in some casesreaching as much as $9 of benefit for each $1 invested.But that is not the only reason we need more funding for agriculturalresearch. If we are to improve food security, combat poverty, improvehealth and nutrition, all while better managing our natural resources – themandate of our Consortium – we must design and implement different 3
  4. 4. policies and approaches to research that result in greater farmersempowerment, for them to face the emerging and multiple challenges Ialready mentioned.The need for stronger co-operation and co-ordination in agriculturalresearch for developmentSo along with the urgency for greater funding, we also must urgently buildthe mechanisms and strategies for stronger co-operation and co-ordination in agricultural research for developmentFor example, the CGIAR Consortium which I have the honour to chair, hasthousands of scientists, who work in partnerships with policymakers,national agricultural research services, and a wide range of private sector,academic, and non-profit partners to develop innovations that aim toimprove farm productivity and increased incomes by increasing farmer’saccess to proven interventions.The main thrust of our strategy includes a coherent set of integratedresearch for development activities that produce, for instance, improvedcrop varieties that remain highly productive under climate stress, such asdrought, floods, salinity, pest infestations. We also undertake research,through these partnerships, that results in crop varieties that have ahigher nutritional content and significant health benefits for farmers andconsumers. A third example is the improved water and soil managementpractices that increase agricultural productivity and resilience. Anotherarea of research is related to post harvest losses and means of controllingthem through better storage and processing options that allow more ofwhat farmers produce to reach markets and thereby boost farmers’ 4
  5. 5. incomes. Public policies and investments are also the subject of ourresearch, aiming at, for example improving farmers’ access to betterinfrastructures, including access to market, or improved food safety.The challenge we face is complex indeed. However, progress can occur ifwe focus on long-term solutions appropriate for farmers - and if we canwork together with you, and our other public and private partners, todevelop policies that remove barriers impeding the progress to long-termfood security.Our strategy is to continually increase investments in the longer-termstrategies that we need to develop higher yielding, and moreenvironmentally resilient and diversified agricultural systems. These areessential to feed a growing world population whilst minimizing the carbonand environmental footprint of our production systems.The CGIAR – partnering and collaborating to enhance impactsThe CGIAR consortium is composed of 15 international agriculturalresearch centers that operate through a number of research sites in over120 countries. The reach and strength of that partnership is furtherenhanced by the relatively recent creation of extensive global, regionaland national networks of institutions and stakeholders that work with theCGIAR Consortium within the framework of well defined agriculturalresearch for development programs. This significantly increases our abilityto create impact on the ground in terms of our four major objectives,defined in our new strategy: reducing poverty, improving world foodsecurity, ensuring environmental sustainability and improving nutritionand health. These networks incorporate National Agricultural Research 5
  6. 6. Services, regional organizations, rural development specialists, membersof the scientific community, civil society groups, and organizations withstrong links to farmers and innovation systems.Recently, the CGIAR has embarked on a deep structural reform to bettermeet the needs of our partners and end-users. This is allowing us to:(1) define our research priorities so that new knowledge and technologiesrespond to countries’ needs and research outputs are focused ondelivering direct solutions to the world’s food security problems;(2) integrate different competencies across the 15 centers to createcritical mass and a greater impact on the ground through their collectiveaction; and(3) review our partnering approaches to involve the relevant stakeholdersin the best possible way, not only in research, but also in translatingresearch into innovations and benefits for smallholder agriculture.Our current CGIAR research programs were developed in consultationwith scientists and partners in all the countries where we work. Thiscontributed to a strong sense of ownership on the part of all partners, inthe design of the new CGIAR research strategy tailored to meet thechallenges and realities of the coming decades.This new strategy provides an analytical frame for the new CGIAR researchprograms (CRPs). These programs are the main mechanism through whichwe conduct our work and collaborate with partners. The 15 CRPs addressseven key areas. These are: agricultural production systems, policies andmarkets, commodity improvement, agricultural nutrition and health,water and soils, forestry and climate change. Priority is given in all theseprograms to cross-cutting issues such as gender and capacity 6
  7. 7. strengthening to ensure that research and resulting benefits are aseffective and equitable as possible.This new research portfolio represents an unprecedented level ofcollaboration among centers and with their partners. These partnersinclude a number of institutions in the G20 countries. The portfolio buildson past achievements, adding value by linking activities, and creatingdynamic synergies among them. They will benefit from the CGIARs criticalmass of leading researchers and its strong links with national researchprograms and other partners, especially farmers.One of the real innovations in new CGIAR research approach is the focuson setting common objectives with our partners – linking science to theneeds of people in resource-poor areas. We are also taking the concept ofpartnerships and ways to tap comparative advantages to a whole newscale. One example of particular relevance for us today is the potential ofpublic/private partnerships to identify and advance positive policychanges, to fill gaps in access, or to spur innovation within a context ofcorporate social responsibility and sustainable use of natural resources.As I noted in the beginning of my presentation, the investment inagricultural research is urgent – and will have high returns.With the participation of more institutions and our approach to researchpartnerships through the G20, those returns can be even greater and long-lasting. What’s more, we know that payoffs in investments also translateinto non-monetary gains that also lead to improved lives: gains in socialcohesion, in human capital, in natural resources, and in physical resourcesand technology. 7
  8. 8. To conclude, I would like to summarize my answers to the questions wewere asked to address in this session.Firstly, we definitely coincide with the importance of sustainable foodproduction and productivity increase and sustainable resourcemanagement in agriculture as the key operational objective of agriculturalresearch for development concerning food security.Secondly, I have already highlighted the priorities, imbedded in the CRPs,that we are pursuing and which we consider essential to achieve globalfood security.Thirdly, I want to stress the importance of establishing partnerships atnational, regional and international levels to produce a greater impact inthe field.Fourthly, I would like to submit that our 15 CGIAR research programs arean important mechanism around which better coordination andcooperation of research efforts can be organized, including among theG20 agricultural research systems.Fifthly, some very valuable example of such collaboration andcoordination are already in place in all the CRPs. We would welcome theopportunity to further strengthen our cooperation with researchinstitutions from the G20 countries.Sixthly, pervasive computing and low-cost connectivity are transformingthe ways that science and development are conducted. Innovative use ofInformation and Communication technologies and processes makecollaboration more feasible across country and institutional boundaries.This “democratization” of science is transforming agricultural science,research and technology into an effective participatory and innovationssystem approach. 8
  9. 9. I am confident that the G20´s new perspective will have a decisive role inaddressing these questions, and ensuring a more food secure future forour world. And I assure you that the CGIAR will be one of your strongestallies to make this happen.Thank you. 9

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