9) CGIAR Centers strengthen collective action and partnerships (11 July 2005)

The Alliance of Future Harvest Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a new initiative to further energize synergies among 15 international agricultural research institutes, is focusing on strengthening partnerships with civil society organizations and the private sector.

The Alliance of Future Harvest Centers of the CGIAR is a formal coalition of the 15 Centers, created to coordinate resources and programs to optimize collective action on issues and in geographic areas where it is clear that concerted effort can significantly increase headway in addressing critical problems.

The Alliance is a logical step in the growing integration of the Centers' work. It is designed to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and synergy among Centers and consequently, the overall performance of the CGIAR system. This is being done through: streamlining access to the Centers; bringing more disciplines and lines of thought to enhance institutional innovations; enabling Centers to speak with one voice on global issues; achieving cost savings in corporate services; and resolving conflicts.

Further, the Alliance is facilitating a fast collective response to rapid changes in the task environment; creating transparent rules of engagement to improve management of collective enterprises; and providing resources and recognition for collective endeavors.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Chair of the Alliance Executive, the initiative has gathered considerable momentum in the past year. For instance, the Alliance has achieved significant progress in developing ‘Quick Wins' in sub-Saharan Africa by developing medium term plans with the sub-regional organizations. It will also strengthen its support to CGIAR's regional programmatic alignment initiatives in the region.

The Alliance organized a successful meeting 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). The Entebbe meeting brought together representatives from the CGIAR centers, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the sub-regional organizations and the National Agricultural Research Systems.

The other achievements of 2005 have been the constitution of the Alliance Board, consisting of the Center Board Chairs. The Center Directors-General are now working together as the Alliance Executive. An Alliance Charter has been drafted, complementing the new CGIAR and covering important aspects of governance across Centers.

Discussions are also underway to locate the Future Harvest Alliance Office within the premises of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at Rome, Italy.

As the Alliance develops the capacity for stronger and faster reform, it expects to create a research delivery system that is open, partnership oriented and structured around clusters of Centers. The Alliance is strengthening its position as the third pillar of the CGIAR system, the first two being the CGIAR Members and the Science Council.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.