PARIS, FRANCE (2 March 2012) – The CGIAR Consortium, representing the world’s largest global agriculture research partnership aimed at reducing rural poverty and hunger was officially granted International Organization status today.
Mr. Henri de Raincourt, French Minister of Cooperation was first to sign the Agreement establishing the Consortium as an international organization, at the closure of the first ever G20 International Conference on Agriculture Research for Development, in Montpellier in September 2011. Mr. de Raincourt was joined by H.E. Sem Laszlo Trocsanyi, Ambassador of Hungary to France.
The signature today by Mrs Dorte Riggelsen, Ambassador of Denmark to France on behalf of her government officially ratifies the agreement conferring to CGIAR the status of international organization.
“Achieving International Organization status and recognition is a major step towards enabling the reformed CGIAR to deliver research resulting in real impact; improved food security, health and nutrition alongside sustainable management of natural resources,” said Mr. Carlos Perez del Castillo, CGIAR Consortium Board Chair, who was present at the event. “This status will allow the consortium to operate as an independent organization, speak with one voice at an international level, establish better partnerships and raise awareness of its work at a time when agricultural research is key to the survival of a billion people,” he added.
Over the past four decades, CGIAR has proven that investing in agricultural research has a cost-effective impact on the fight against hunger and malnutrition. In the late eighties, CGIAR’s research on how to biologically control the cassava mealy bug, a pest which was destroying harvests in sub-Saharan Africa, saved at least 20 million lives for a total cost of only US$20 million. In other words, for every dollar invested, a life was saved.
Since 2010, the CGIAR has been undergoing a major reform to ensure that their research delivers clear impacts like this. With the Consortium becoming an International Organization from today, this not only endorses the strategic reform, but by facilitating fundraising and co-ordination it will catalyze the impact-oriented research essential to the lives of millions of smallholder farmers.
“I am grateful for the support shown by the signatories to the Agreement for making this possible,” said Mr. Pérez del Castillo.
Denmark (current holders of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union) has been working in partnership with CGIAR for 40 years and has donated more than US$204 million in essential contributions to the organization. This relationship was further strengthened in 2009 when Denmark began hosting in Copenhagen, the country’s capital, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), a 10-year program that offers developing country farmers new options for adapting to and mitigating emerging impacts of climate change.
CGIAR is also indebted to France, and not just for the country’s role in securing the International Organization status. The CGIAR Consortium Office is headquartered in Montpellier, a well-established, French agricultural research hub. This enhances the French scientific community’s involvement in CGIAR Research Programs such as the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), a program that works in partnership with, among others, two French organizations, CIRAD and IRD. By 2020, GRiSP aims to lift 72 million smallholder farmers out of poverty and help 40 million reach food security.