Research and Extension Systems


FAO and CGIAR programme leaders met in Rome, to exchange new developments of their strategic objectives in both organizations and identify areas for strategic collaboration aimed at boosting the impact of their research and development activities. This is the first meeting following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding in February this year.

The CGIAR was represented by the CEO of the CGIAR Consortium Office Frank Rijsberman, Senior Research Officers and Programme Leaders of CGIAR Research Programmes, and for FAO by Deputy-Director General Dan Gustafson, Assistant Director Generals, Strategic Objective Coordinators, the Director of Strategic Planning, and other Senior Staff.

FAO’s new strategic framework was presented and specific research needs of new strategic objectives identified. A mapping exercise showed the convergence of objectives, as well as the huge potential for strategic collaboration to reach shared strategic objectives, taking advantage of FAO’s close relationship with developing countries and CGIAR’s advanced research programmes and technical solutions.

FAO and the CGIAR agreed to focus the new strategic collaboration initially on three areas:

Gender equity in food, agriculture and rural development. The joint work envisaged will lead to develop better methodologies that can provide policy-makers with more timely and accurate information to target interventions more effectively to reduce gender inequalities and to assess the impact of measures taken to improve women’s access to resources, with special emphasis on sustainable food security and poverty reduction. This collaboration will further strengthen the capacities for evidence-based policy making and programming by governments, international organizations, and many other stakeholders to reduce the gender gap.

Metrics for impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and contribution to sustainable development goals. The joint work aims to improve quality and timeliness of data for tackling complex policy challenges and for aligning more closely the results-based management systems of the two organizations, such as the collaboration will examine measurement issues for topics such as sustainable development, nutrition and health.  Recognizing that new and unconventional approaches can help to lower the costs and improve the availability of real-time data. An important focus will be to identify and assess, from the standpoints of measurement and statistical analysis, candidate indicators, for the UN’s next generation of sustainable development goals, specifically targeting the development needs of the poorest populations.

Landing strips: Enhanced mechanisms to support knowledge and technology transfer at country level.  Building on decades of joint technical work, the two Organizations also discussed ways to scale up and improve their ability to jointly make CGIAR-developed innovations and expertise available in the policy processes in countries where FAO is closely engaged with governments. The complementary strengths of the two organizations can be deployed, it was agreed, to address key challenges faced by small producers in increasing the intensity and productivity of agricultural production, in gaining market access, and in delivering advanced technical solutions to strengthen smallholders’ resilience to climate change. The two organizations envisioned the research-policy linkages working as a two-way exchange, with country-led initiatives defining key problems to be tackled by research, and research providing new technical and policy options for effective policy intervention.  Both Organizations are also committed to building independent policy and technical capacity within the countries in which they are engaged.

A follow-up meeting is being planned for the early fall of 2013 to assess the initial concepts and develop more substantial work plans to implement them.