A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

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CGIAR: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Nourishing the Future through Scientific Excellence

Agriculture: A Priority on the Global Development Agenda

Key documents that will help to shape the global development agenda in 2005 and beyond have reaffirmed the critical importance of agriculture and science and technology.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in a special report entitled "In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all"called for a significantly increased global research and development effort to focus on the special needs of the poor in agriculture, climate, energy, health, and natural resource and environmental management. The report will be discussed at the Millennium Review Summit scheduled for September 2005 to assess progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr. Annan highlighted several crucial areas for emphasis, if the goals are to be met by 2015. These include (in alphabetical order):

  • Agricultural research;
  • Biodiversity;
  • Climate Change;
  • Desertification;
  • Equitable trading systems;
  • Increasing food output and income;
  • Natural resource management;
  • Rural development; and
  • Science and technology for development.

On similar lines, a panel of 265 experts led by Jeffrey Sachs in a report ("Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals) prepared for the Secretary General emphasized the need for action, including research, in:

  • agriculture and natural resources management,
  • energy technologies,
  • climate change, and
  • public health.

In relation to Africa's special needs, the 17-member Commission for Africa, convened and chaired by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, called for increased investment in research, innovation, and extension over the next 10 years in order to realize Africa's agricultural potential as a contribution to growth and poverty reduction. The Commission also recommends more knowledge sharing between Africa and Asia, pointing out that the benefit of South-South research partnerships has been demonstrated by the development of the New Rice for Africa (NERICA). Research leading to increased production and use in Africa of high yielding, stress resistant, and nutritious varieties such as Quality Protein Maize and Vitamin A-enriched yellow sweet potato is also recommended.

Meanwhile the G-8 Summit scheduled for July 6-8 in Gleneagles, Scotland is expected to review progress under the 2004 G-8 Action Plan that focused on ending famine, raising agricultural productivity, and promoting rural development.

Each of these documents all made specific reference to the importance of CGIAR-supported research as a contribution to development. Links to the reports appear below.

Related Information:

In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for decision by Heads of State and Government in September 2005.

The Millenium Project : Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals

Commission for Africa Report