SE044 Partnering for impact: a research and development response to SDG2: CGIAR and FAO partnership in agricultural research and development for sustainable food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods


  • FAO

The complex, systemic, multi-scale and cross-sectoral dimensions of the challenges facing agri-food systems require innovative solutions, and holistic approaches through the use of multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) to achieve the sustainable development goals. The Sustainable Development Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, recognizes multi-stakeholder partnerships as important vehicles for mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, particularly developing countries. Partnerships relevant to agricultural research for development is defined as "a sustained multi-organizational relationship with mutually agreed objectives and an exchange or sharing of resources or knowledge for the purpose of generating research outcomes (new knowledge or technology) or fostering innovation (use of new ideas or technology) for practical ends".

An example of a highly successful multi-stakeholder partnership is that between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the world's largest global agricultural innovation network (CGIAR). The FAO and CGIAR history of collaboration dates back to the 1960s. Both FAO and CGIAR share a similar vision of a world free of hunger, malnutrition and poverty and environmental degradation. Over the last fifty years, the collaboration has expanded and diversified, spanning from governance to programmatic collaboration. FAO technical departments/units and CGIAR Centers and programs have been working with public, private and civil society organizations at national level to co-develop, promote and disseminate and scale-up innovative technologies and practices, and strengthening capacities to innovate of national research and innovation systems. FAO and CGIAR also play a key role in international fora on integrated agricultural research for development such as the global conference on agricultural research for development (GCARD) and the global forum on agricultural research and innovation (GFAR).

The aim of the side event is to showcase success stories and demonstrate impacts at scale. More specifically the event pursues the following objectives: a) exchange lessons from successes and failures, b) identify innovative approaches and mechanisms for effective multi-stakeholder partnerships to accelerate the delivery of goods and services in the research and development continuum.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Dongxin Feng, Deputy Director, FAO Partnerships Division 
  • Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director General, FAO Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department
  • Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General, Bioversity International and CEO designate of the Alliance between Bioversity International and CIAT 
  • Li Xiande, Principal Scientist, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
  • Medi Moungui, Second Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative of Cameroon to FAO 
  • Nur Amalia, National Social Forestry Working Group, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia 
  • Temina Lalani-Shariff, Director of Communication and Stakeholder Engagement, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
  • Vincent Gitz, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) -  Moderator

Main themes/issues discussed  

The side event showcased many examples of excellent partnerships between CGIAR and FAO. It stimulated discussion around the following themes/issues:

  • Call to re-focus and strengthen the partnership between the two organizations in the context of global trends and challenges affecting agri-food systems;
  • Need to ensure that research outputs generated by CGIAR and other research organizations, are accessible to a wide range of stakeholders (farmers and their organizations, private sector, civil society, etc.) in different agri-food systems;
  • Importance of linking research and development to achieve SDGs, particularly SDG2 which is currently off-target;
  • Need to have a food system perspective in research, taking also into consideration food loss and waste (which is directly related to SDG 12);   
  • Importance of paying attention to gender and social differentiation, to bridging the gap between science and farmers in research and development activities;
  • Need to change and move beyond fragmented and individual Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between CGIAR Centers and FAO’s technical departments/divisions, in the context of the new reform process of CGIAR;
  • Ensure joint efforts to enhance the relevance and impacts of research for development to transform food, land and water systems in a climate crisis.

Summary of key points 

  • The long-standing excellence of the CGIAR and FAO partnership cannot be overemphasized;
  • The partnership has led to outcomes and impacts worldwide. However, in the context of new and emerging global challenges, achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly that of zero hunger, is under threat; 
  • Need to promote innovative approaches to research and development linkages that address the needs and demands of millions of family farmers worldwide;
  • CGIAR and FAO have complementary mandates and roles to play to end hunger and poverty and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • The side event discussions highlighted the need to re-examine and re-focus the partnership between CGIAR and FAO;
  • FAO and CGIAR Memorandums of Understandings (MoUs) must be strategic and medium to long-term and have a broader focus.

Key take away messages 

CGIAR and FAO have a collective mandate, partnering with national and other stakeholders to tackle the global challenges facing agri-food systems worldwide. Although the partnership has yielded concrete outcomes and impacts, food insecurity is still on the rise and achievement of many SDGs, particularly SDG2 cannot be expected by 2030. FAO and CGIAR both acknowledged the urgent need to re-focus and strengthen the partnership with a medium to long-term vision. 

CFS 46 Side Event: SE044 Partnering for impact: a research and development response to SDG2: CGIAR and FAO partnership in agricultural research and development for sustainable food and nutrition security and improved livelihoods. Committee on World Food


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