The tenth CGIAR Fund Council meeting was held in Nairobi on 6-7 November, 2013. Dr. Simon Hearn, Chairman, Asia -Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), attended the meeting being the current representative of regional agricultural research organisations on the Council. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the progress, and to agree on some major tasks ahead. The meeting included reviewing the first full portfolio-wide reports on the CGIAR research programs (CRPs), and on the management of intellectual assets, as well as assessing the system-wide governance. Looking ahead, the meeting considered financing plans for the current CRPs, and to take a view on the next phase of CRPs and the mid-term review.
Summary of the key matters discussed and the decisions arrived at is provided below:
- The Fund Council meeting considered inter alia: gender mainstreaming; governance matters; progress across the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), financing plans for the CRP portfolio for the next two years, and options for extension of the CRPs beyond the implementation period covered by their currently approved budgets; a CGIAR open access policy; and progress on the mid-term review. The meeting also engaged in strategic discussions around i) the theme of integrating the CGIAR work the delivery of outputs to clients; and, ii) trends in urbanisation and farm size in developing countries, and their implications for agricultural research.
- The first phase of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRP’s) will conclude in June, 2014. Therefore, the Fund Council had focused on how the next phase of research programs might be developed. Synchronizing the next round of CRPs and sequencing with other key initiatives (management update of the Strategy and Results Framework (SRF), mid-term review, independent evaluations, and the organization of GCARD 3 were seen to be of utmost importance.
- The meeting agreed to push back the planned start of new CRPs to January 2017. The Consortium and Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), with Fund Office support, will develop the framework thinking for the second round of CRPs for consideration intersessionally. Greater emphasis on governance and results will be expected from the next round of CRPs.
- A review of CGIAR governance undertaken by PwC was considered. The review made 68 recommendations, intended to achieve more strategic coherence amongst CGIAR system entities; streamline the CGIAR governance structure to sharpen accountability and strengthen and clarify decision making and control; and to create operational frameworks and policies which endorse the governance structure. Some of the recommendations will require further consideration and will be directed to the mid-term review, which is now commencing.
- The mid-term review will be chaired by Sir John Beddington (former UK Chief Scientist), with a panel of about 8-10 members (to be confirmed shortly). The first meeting is expected in January and the report to be delivered around November, 2014. It is anticipated that they will range fairly widely across dimensions of appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency, and a joint Fund-Consortium reference committee will be established to support the panel in its work.
- Gender remains a focus of attention, both within the CGIAR system, and as a core feature of the research portfolio. While appreciative of the progress already made, a number of Council members desired to have a ‘transformative change’.
- The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) had commissioned a review of last year’s Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 2). The Fund Council considered a proposal for holding GCARD 3. Views on an amended proposal will be taken intersessionally. GCARD 3 is likely to be deferred until 2015 so as to coincide with the results/reviews of some CRPs.
- The CGIAR now has system-wide policy and principles for managing Intellectual Assets. The meeting considered the first full IP report. The Consortium will strengthen it’s oversight role.
- This was the last meeting for the Chair of the Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), Dr. Ken Cassman. In his last intervention, he gave an assessment of progress, but noted that the reform process is ongoing. He commented on the consequences of the rapidly expanding area under agriculture globally, implications for climate change and the urgent need for sustainable intensification.
Prior to the meeting, a one-day workshop was also held on gender research as to how it can enhance the system-level outcomes.
For more details, one could visit the CGIAR Fund Council website: http://www.cgiarfund.org/