Open letter to world leaders from the CGIAR centres

The world’s leaders meet in New York, 25-27 September 2015, to sign into existence the Sustainable Development Goals. Will the leaders support the co-advancement of agricultural and natural resource management? The leaders of the international research centres that make up the CGIAR, a global partnership for a food-secure future, want to know.

 

The CGIAR is a global partnership for a food-secure future. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Tran Ha My

The CGIAR is a global partnership for a food-secure future. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Tran Ha My

 

Sent to 193 heads of state, 193 United Nations’ permanent representatives, 30 ministers in the main developing countries in which the CGIAR works and 34 ministers of international development in countries in the Organization of Economic Development.

 

The 17 global goals which you have supported the creation of are an unrivalled span of human aspiration covering everything from sharing prosperity, to protecting the planet, to promoting a more peaceful world. The commitments, resources and accountability that you have offered in support are tremendous, and have helped to fill a huge political gap by acting collectively.

Reducing rural poverty, ensuring food and nutrition security, and improving natural resource systems are key dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are also the shared strategic goals of the 15 centres of the CGIAR. Together we stand ready to engage and be accountable for our contributions to the entire SDG ambition, and specifically to: SDG 1 (Poverty), SDG 2 (Food Security and Nutrition), SDG 6 (Water), SDG 7 (Sustainable Energy), SDG 13 (Climate Change) and SDG 15 (Land Use).

The collective of 15 CGIAR centres is more than 40 years-old and works in over 70 developing countries through extensive partnership networks. Its 12,000 staff focus on delivering actionable knowledge, robust evidence for policy and investment decisions, and capacity development for, inter alia: sustainable agriculture practices, rural livelihood improvements, improved crop varieties, biodiversity conservation, climate-change adaptation and mitigation, and sustainable management of landscapes.

We have aligned our new strategies with the SDGs and we offer realistic impacts by 2030 of: (i) improved varieties and management practices for 350 million smallholder farmers; (ii) 500 million people, of which at least 50% women, no longer suffering nutritional deficiency; (iii) 100 million people lifted out of, and staying out of, poverty; (iv) reduction of GHG emissions from agriculture by 0.8 Gt per year; and (v) restoration of 190 million ha of degraded land. No other group of organizations combines advances in agriculture development and natural resource management better, or more comprehensively, than the CGIAR centres.

A key to successfully achieving the SDGs will be sufficient means of implementation. Here the CGIAR centres are concerned by the fluctuating recognition of coupled research and development endeavours in priorities and financial commitments. Accordingly, at the 70th UN General Assembly in New York next week we call on world leaders and key development actors to recognize, and document, their appreciation for the importance of groups such as the collective of CGIAR centres. Furthermore, to incorporate new commitments and continued support up to, and beyond, 2030 for advancing our innovative programmes in alignment with, and strongly contributing to, the SDG ambition.

Our two main questions for you are: (i) can we include you along with other countries and key actors as champions of the co-advancement of agriculture and natural resource management?; and (2) which agencies in your country should we more actively engage with in this co-advancement? Please respond with answers or any further information required either directly to any of the signatories of this letter or centrally to the CGIAR Centre Representative (centrerep@cgiar.org).

If we had all the knowledge, technology and capacity we needed then we would not need coupled research and development endeavours. We remain at your service to help combine the science of discovery with the science of delivery of positive agriculture and natural resource management impacts.

Yours sincerely

Ann Tutwiler, Director General, Bioversity, Italy
Barbara Wells, Director General, International Potato Centre/Centro Internacional de la Papa, Peru
Beth Woods, Board Chair, Worldfish, Malaysia
Bruce Coulman, Board Chair, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria
Camilla Toulmin, Board Chair, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Lebanon
Chandra Madramootoo, Board Chair, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, India
Christian Samper, Board Chair, Bioversity, Italy
David Bergvinson, Director General, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, India
Don Blackmore, Board Chair, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka
Emerlinda Roman, Board Chair, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
Geoff Hawtin, Board Chair, International Center for Tropical Agriculture/Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Colombia
Harold Roy-Macauley, Director General, Africa Rice, Cote d’Ivoire
Jeremy Bird, Director General, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka
Jimmy Smith, Director General, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
John Hudson, Board Chair, Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia
John Lynam, Board Chair, World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya
John Snape, Board Chair, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento di Maíz y Trigo, Mexico
Kym Anderson, Board Chair, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA
Lindiwe Sibanda, Board Chair, International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
Martin Kropff, Director General, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento di Maíz y Trigo, Mexico
Mahmoud Solh, Director General, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Lebanon
Nteryana Sangina, Director General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria
Peter Holmgren, Director General, Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia
Peter Matlon, Board Chair, Africa Rice, Cote d’Ivoire
Robert Zeigler, Director General, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
Rodney Cooke, Board Chair, International Potato Centre/Centro Internacional de la Papa, Peru
Ruben Echeverria, Director General, International Center for Tropical Agriculture/Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Colombia
Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA
Steve Hall, Director General, Worldfish, Malaysia
Tony Simons, Director General, World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya

 

 

Rob Finlayson

Robert Finlayson is the Southeast Asia program's regional communications specialist. As well as writing stories for the Centre's website, he devises and supervises strategies for projects and the countries in the Southeast Asia region, including scripting and producing videos, supervising editors and translators and also assisting with resource mobilization.

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