Dissent in the ranks

Day 2 at GCARD and the CGIAR reform is still hot on everyone’s lips. A small blue pamphlet laid out in the press room today may look boring, but its content is far from it.

It contains the results of an informal survey of 13 large funders and more than 16 CGIAR centre chairs, director generals and deputy director generals, and suggests that these key stakeholders perceive the CGIAR to be failing in every one of its six ‘reform guiding goals’.

The survey was conducted informally by Hartmann, head of the International Insitute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria and vocal critic of the CGIAR reform (see CGIAR reforms make research decision-making distant).

It asked ‘funders’ and ‘doers’ to rank, from 1 to 5, how well the CGIAR reforms have achieved goals such as increased outcome and impact, simplicity, clarity, decentralised decision-making and subsidiarity.

The CGIAR failed to score above the ‘pass’ mark of 2.5 in any goal, although several respondents felt it was too early to assess some goals—most notably, those associated with impact, effectiveness and subsidiarity.

Hartmann includes some lively comments from respondents:

“The goals are too blah and self delusory—they do not allow choices to be made. We need clear principles and measurable criteria to differentiate options and quantify/qualify progress”, T. Simons.

He also includes some personal recommendations for the reform process, such as considering mega-programmes based on commodities or regions (rather than global) and streamlining administration requirements.

Hartmann said he is disseminating his pamphlet to GCARD delegates and using it to show that not all members of the CGIAR are happy.

Sian Lewis
Commisioning editor, SciDev.Net


2 Responses to Dissent in the ranks

  1. […] ask whether the new CGIAR will be a good idea not just for Africa but for the hungry everywhere. Maybe not […]

  2. Dave Wood says:

    Note that it is the reform process of the CGIAR that is being criticized by donors – not the CGIAR itself. The reform process – and before that the renewal process – is a top down effort promoted by the World Bank (and, for some reason, the UK DFiD). Hartmann – DG of IITA in Nigeria – wants to go back to the old CGIAR.
    The main impact of the CGIAR over the past 40+ years has been first in rice, then wheat, and then cassava biological pest control (this a triumph of science). This is 90% of all CGIAR impact from only three centres: IRRI well on top, then CIMMYT and IITA, all on specific commodities.
    Rather than yet more reform farmers need amalgamation or closure of under-performing centres to focus CGIAR effectiveness.

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