Monty Jones, incoming chair of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, kicked off day two of GCARD by reminding us why we’re here.
“This [conference] is a major milestone in the evolution of agricultural research for development … We should contribute to shaping the future of ARD in a significant way.”
Jones said that he had seen the “usual networking and agenda setting” taking place and urged us to make sure that it doesn’t stop in Montpellier but, rather, marks the beginning of a long process.
Research remains a key tool for increasing agricultural productivity, he said, but its impact has not been adequate. He highlighted some of the reasons for this: underinvestment in research and capacity development, for which declarations remain unfulfilled; inadequate integration; failing to place agricultural research within the wider context of rural development; and underexploited opportunities for North-South and South-South collaboration.
“GCARD must map out solutions and actions to these – addressing constraints and exploiting opportunities.”
Jones outlined four ways forward for GCARD:
1) Establish research – and GCARD – as an inclusive process
2) Validate the CGIAR mega-programmes by national and regional stakeholders, and an understanding of how partners will work together
3) Make use of networking and learning opportunities
4) The development of a roadmap to reform and reorient agricultural research for development for meeting the needs of the poor
It’s tempting to view all of the above in a “heard it all before” manner – surely we know that research needs to be harnessed so that it actually benefits the ones we’re doing the research for?
But if it was that simple, we wouldn’t be here.