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French research institutes and FAO strengthen collaboration

New partnership to boost food security and sustainable development around the world

Photo: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti
FAO’s Director general José Graziano da Silva with from left Cirad’s Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Michel Eddi, President Director-general of INRA Philippe Mauguin, IRD’s Director of European and International relations Henri Luc Thibault and Agreenium Director Claude Bernhard.

16 February 2018, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and four major French research and high-level education institutions - the  Agriculture Research Centre for International Development (Cirad), the National Institute for Agriculture Research (INRA), the National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and Agreenium (the French  Agricultural, Veterinary and Forestry Institute) - today agreed to increase joint efforts to develop innovative food security and environment-sensitive approaches that contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

FAO and the four French institutions have a long track record of excellence in the implementation of joint projects in various regions around the world on key themes related to food security as well as sustainable rural development and livestock production.

The new partnerships will focus on a number of areas, particularly in developing countries, including agroecology, sustainable natural resources management in the context of climate change; agriculture innovation for family farmers; sustainable and safe food systems for food security (nutrition, waste and loss reduction, market chain governance); sanitary risks, such those related to animal and plant health, One Health and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) reduction.

FAO and the four French institutions will also seek to foster sustainable territorial development. The four-year partnership agreements were signed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, Michel Eddi on behalf of Cirad, Philippe Mauguin on behalf of INRA, Henri-Luc Thibault on behalf of IRD and Claude Bernhard on behalf of Agreenium.

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva said: "Through these complementary partnerships and coordinated synergies, jointly we can advance innovation in agriculture and food systems that are safe, sustainable and inclusive, while addressing unprecedented challenges such as climate change and forced migration, and ultimately contributing to the 2030 Agenda."

Cirad's Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Michel Eddi said: " With this new agreement, today our partnership with FAO is entering a new phase. The Cirad welcomes this strengthened partnership with FAO, and in particular in areas such as agroecology and to support public policies which will allow us to innovate together for tomorrow's agriculture in line with the 2030 Agenda."

President Director-general of INRA Philippe Mauguin said:"With this new Memorandum of Understanding,  INRA and FAO will mobilize scientists and researchers to address major global challenges related to agriculture, food and environment which are at the core of the 2030 Agenda"

IRD's Director of European and International relations Henri Luc Thibault said: "Achieving the SDGs and particularly SDGs 2, 13 and 14, on food security, climate change and marine resources will not happen without mobilizing agriculture research for development. There will be no sustainable agricultural or rural development, no sustainable fisheries or aquaculture without adequate investments in research. The combined action of FAO and IRD will therefore enable developing countries to be at the forefront of new technical and societal routes, new production and consumption patterns adapted to the needs of humanity and the capabilities of our planet."

Agreenium Director Claude Bernhard said: "Agreenium is particularly proud of having such opportunity to contribute to skill members who did not have the possibility to benefit from established educational systems. Concretely, we plan to launch a project on food systems for a better nutrition for MOOC. We aim to build an ecosystem of competencies to support sustainable agriculture and improve food security."

The partnerships

In particular FAO, Cirad and INRA will increase joint initiatives to promote climate-smart-agriculture  and agroecological practices, support the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources, and improve sharing of knowledge and innovations such as the once related to water management and soil health to fight water scarcity.

FAO will work with the IRD to promote innovative and sustainable farming production systems, biodiversity in food and agriculture, and sustainable food practices. The aim is to share innovations at the national level through the use of IRD's training and exchange platforms and mobilize high-level experts to build institutional capacities and support South-South Cooperation and Triangular cooperation programs among others.

The partnership sealed with Agreenium will also enable a better sharing of knowledge, making FAO's e-learning courses on food systems and nutrition available to everyone on various platforms for open online courses. The two partners have also pledged to build institutional capacities through internship and fellowship opportunities.

Last December a new framework agreement was signed between FAO and France on the occasion of the One planet summit.  This Friday, FAO and France engaged on their first strategic dialogue which brings together high-level representatives from Ministry of agriculture, foreign affairs and research institutes to exchange on the strategic priorities of the two Parties, such as agroecology, climate change, biodiversity and rural youth employment.

About the Partners:

Cirad is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. Its main objective is to build sustainable farming systems capable of feeding ten billion human beings by 2050 while preserving the environment.

INRA is the French national research institute. INRA carries out mission-oriented research for high-quality and healthy food, competitive and sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation, specializing in producing and disseminating scientific knowledge, promoting innovation and partnerships and training scientists and experts, shaping national.

IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development), is a multidisciplinary organization working primarily in partnership with Mediterranean and inter-tropical countries. Via its network and presence in fifty or so countries, it takes an original approach to research, expertise, training and knowledge-sharing, to the benefit of countries and regions that make science and innovation key drivers in their development.

Agreenium is a national public establishment of cooperation whose primary purpose is to organize cooperation between its members and to enable them to bring together training and research strategies developed through joint projects at national, European and international level. 

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