CGIAR to Launch Advisory Panel and Consultations to Boost Partner Engagement

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30 March 2022, Africa: CGIAR’s System Board is launching a high-level Advisory Panel that will oversee a new series of consultations aimed at strengthening strategic engagement with country and regional partners as the organization continues its transition to a unified and integrated One CGIAR.

The announcement follows calls from CGIAR’s System Council, comprising representatives of country partners and funders, which met earlier this month. System Council representatives reiterated their strong commitment to moving forward with the One CGIAR transition and called for greater engagement of country and regional partners. That call has been echoed in feedback from other stakeholders, including some former CGIAR senior staff.

“Our partners have been and remain essential in guiding the One CGIAR transition,” said Marco Ferroni, Chair of CGIAR’s System Board. “While diverse representation from the global South has been systematically included in key decision-making processes associated with the reform, we have heard and agree that we must do more to engage our key country and regional partners. We are boosting our engagement efforts, with a focus on listening and adjusting how we work with our partners to ensure their perspectives are reflected and served in CGIAR’s reform and future.”

The high-level Advisory Panel will bring together representatives from across regions and from national agricultural research systems, government ministries and the private sector. It will build on CGIAR’s Engagement Framework for Partnerships & Advocacy, which sets out the guiding principles, systems and approaches for partners and CGIAR to achieve their common goals. The Advisory Panel will support CGIAR in further developing its regional and national engagement strategies in line with the principles of this Framework.

“I welcome the redoubling of efforts to engage with key partners to build a CGIAR fit for the future,” said Namanga Ngongi, former President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), former member of the CGIAR System Board and former Board Chair of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). “The challenges we are facing now – climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict and pandemic – are more interconnected and interdependent than ever. CGIAR must change and evolve as the world around it does, providing research efforts and solutions that are equally interconnected, and delivering impact locally, regionally and globally.”

Alice Ruhweza, a member of CGIAR’s System Board and Africa Regional Director at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said: “Food systems are at the heart of the accelerating environmental crisis the world is facing. The One CGIAR transition is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fundamentally transform our organization to deliver the innovations needed to address some of humanity’s most urgent challenges.

“Developing research around cross-cutting issues and regional realities is the only way we can scale-up and deliver impact at the pace and scale required,” Ruhweza added.

The One CGIAR transition brings together 12 CGIAR Research Centers/Alliances and the System Organization to work as one. Centers maintain their legal status and brands, while working more closely together in an integrated operational structure overseen by unified governance. CGIAR has a network of more than 3,000 partners around the world and over 9,000 staff in nearly 90 countries.

“We welcome the fresh impetus and further opportunity to engage our valued partners,” said Claudia Sadoff, Convener of CGIAR’s Executive Management Team, and Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact. “Only by working with our partners, listening and adapting will we continue to improve the livelihoods, nutrition, resilience and food security of people around the world.”

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