A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

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CGIAR: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Nourishing the Future through Scientific Excellence
Strategy for Engagement between CSOs & CGIAR
CSO-CGIAR Competitive Grants Program
CSO-CGIAR Forum at AGM06
Innovation Marketplace
CSO-CGIAR Virtual Conversation
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the CGIAR mean by Civil Society Organization (CSO)?

The CGIAR uses the United Nations' definition of Civil Society Organization, which is an "association of citizens (outside their families, friends and businesses) entered into voluntarily to advance their interests, ideas and ideologies." The term does not include profit-making activity (the private sector) or governing (the public sector).

Of particular relevance to the CGIAR are farmer/ development and environmental organizations, social movements, indigenous people's organizations, academia and other public benefit non-governmental organizations.

2. Who are the CGIAR's CSO partners? Where they from and what are their interests?

The CGIAR's CSO partners are from Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and South and Southeast Asia regions. Most generally CSOs that work with CGIAR are mainly interested in agricultural research for development, natural resource management, aquaculture, food security, linking small scale farmers to markets, participatory research, ICTs for developmentand more.

3. What opportunities are there for CSOs to engage in CGIAR-supported activities?

The CGIAR has three systemwide initiatives that involve CSOs:

a. The CSO-CGIAR Competitive Grants Program is designed to cultivate stronger relationships between civil society organizations and the CGIAR in agricultural research for development. This initiative is part of the building blocks for further expanding engagement with CSOs and sharing knowledge for impact. The first CSO-CGIAR Competitive Program is currently underway.

b. The Innovation Marketplace (IM) takes place every two year together with the CSO-CGIAR Forum during AGMs. The objective of the Innovation Marketplace is to identify and support the most innovative ideas in all areas of agricultural research from across the world, bringing together a variety of players from CGIAR Centers, farmer groups, civil society organizations and National Institutes, to promote knowledge sharing. The next Innovation Marketplace is scheduled for December 2008.

c. The Challenge Programs are time-bound, independently-governed programs of high-impact research that targets the CGIAR goals in relation to complex issues of overwhelming global and/or regional significance, and requires partnerships among a wide range of institutions, among them CSOs in order to deliver its products.

The first Challenge Programs, namely, Water and Food, HarvestPlus, and Generation, were launched on a pilot basis in 2003 following a CGIAR-approved process and guidelines for developing and implementing Challenge Programs. At present, the Cycle 2 of Challenge Programs is underway and a call for pre-proposals is being launched.

For more details, please go to http://www.cgiar.org/impact/challenge/index.html

Predominantly, the CGIAR works in partnership with CSOs in research for development programs at the Center level. Projects at Center level are often carried out in collaboration with CSOs. For more information, please check individual CGIAR Center websites.

4. How does the CGIAR maintain an open dialogue with CSOs?

In addition to the programs outlined above, the CGIAR organizes both face-to-face and virtual dialogues with CSOs. A CSO Forum is convened at the CGIAR's Annual General Meeting every other year. The first such CSO-CGIAR Forum took place during in December 2006 in Washington DC, and featured a series of lively group discussions aimed at identifying lessons learned and new avenues for improved collaboration. With more than 100 CSO present, The Forum was able to draw on the experience of nearly 50 current CSO-CGIAR partnerships.

The CGIAR facilitates periodic on-line discussions with CSOs through a listserv. The first virtual conversation took place prior to the CSO-CGIAR Forum during AGM 06, and the main purpose was to give participants an opportunity to get to know one another and learn about a wide range of collaborative experiences. http://www.dgroups.org/groups/cgiar/cso-cgiar-forum/index.cfm

5. Does the CGIAR fund CSOs?

The CGIAR does not fund CSOs directly. However, the CGIAR has different activities to foster CSOs-CGIAR Center partnerships, and funds different competitive mechanisms to strengthen this relationship. Among them are Challenge Programs, CSO-CGIAR Competitive Grants Program and the Innovation Marketplace outlined above.

6. Are National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) included in the CGIAR definition of CSOs?

No. The CGIAR considers NARIs part of the government, and thus not part of the CSO community.

7. How can I find out about the latest developments, news and events related to CSOs and provide suggestions on CSO-CGIAR related activities ? Who can I contact to get more information?

You can send us an email to cso-cgiar@cgiar.org , or check our website for news related to CGIAR-CSO engagement at http://www.cgiar.org/csos/index.html