14) Entebbe meeting to develop joint medium-term sub-regional plans for Africa (2 June 2005)

The international agricultural research institutes under the Alliance of Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR are meeting jointly with the leaders of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at Entebbe, Uganda, on 8 June, to accelerate dialogue with partners to develop joint Medium Term Plans (MTPs) for West and Central Africa (WCA) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA).

Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT and Chair of the Alliance Executive of the Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR, will chair the meeting together with the FARA Chair, Dr. Pape Seck of Senegal. The Entebbe meeting will bring together representatives from the CGIAR centers, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the sub-regional organizations and the National Agricultural Research Systems.

According to Dr Dar, the dialogue process with multiple partners working for agricultural research for development in sub-Saharan Africa was initiated when it was observed that there were similarities in their research priorities. “We view the Entebbe meeting, being organized as part of the FARA General Assembly proceedings, to be a good opportunity to interact to ensure buy in for regional joint MTPs. We hope an aggregated MTP for 2006-2008 for these sub-regions will evolve from the initiative.”

In 2004, the CGIAR system established two task forces to consider the potential for programmatic and structural adjustment of the operations of the Future Harvest Centers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). They were tasked to identify areas of synergy between the CGIAR centers, consider opportunities for better programmatic alignment and to identify implementation mechanisms for a regionally integrated developmental effort.

One of the principal recommendations from the consolidated report of the two task forces was the need to develop integrated, inter-center medium term plans, which are in harmony with the sub-regional objectives for WCA and ESA research partners.

Following up on the recommendation, the CGIAR Executive Council, chaired by Dr. Ian Johnson of World Bank, asked the centers to design concrete steps to align research programs jointly with partners in Africa . The centers believed that the first step to such an alignment would be through the development of a common set of sub-regional medium term plans (MTPs) for themselves and partners.

Preliminary meetings to initiate this process were held at Nairobi, Kenya, in mid-April for ESA and at Ibadan, Nigeria, in early May for WCA, which discussed the practicalities of the proposal. The Africa Rice Center and the International Livestock Research Institute are the lead institutions in this process in WCA and ESA, respectively.

At the Entebbe meeting, Dr. Dar said that the Alliance of the Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR will discuss the action plan prioritized by them with the partners. They will also discuss how these priorities can be dovetailed with those of the SSA Challenge Program of the CGIAR.

The Alliance of the Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR intends to start the second phase of the process in October 2005, which will result in the formulation of fully integrated MTP for 2007-2009 for the two sub-regions in Africa.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.