Momentum increased in 2020 in making the vision of One CGIAR a reality, with key milestones achieved in CGIAR’s governance and leadership arrangements.

Membership of CGIAR’s governing and independent advisory bodies came together during 2020 as part of the Transition Consultation Forum, providing multistakeholder input and advice on the transition to One CGIAR. Its members, along with experts and stakeholders from across CGIAR and its partners, worked in smaller, thematic Transition Advisory Groups to provide continuous input and guidance across the various dimensions of the One CGIAR transition. The CGIAR System Board provided oversight of the transition.

A key milestone was the 1 September 2020 appointment of CGIAR’s inaugural Executive Management Team, comprised of three Managing Directors. Their appointment introduced cross-CGIAR management and leadership for the first time in CGIAR’s history. The Executive Management Team is tasked with the leadership of delivery of One CGIAR, working closely with leaders across CGIAR, and forging new linkages and partnerships.

This team is well positioned to chart a new course for CGIAR. Their extensive leadership experience, complementary skills, and access to scientific expertise and resources will ensure CGIAR can deliver on its mission of ending hunger by 2030.

Dr. Namanga Ngongi, Chair of the System Board’s EMT Search Committee, immediate past Board Chair of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, and first President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

From 1 September 2020, the CGIAR System Board’s membership was reconstituted, with further decisions taken by a majority of CGIAR’s Centers and Alliances to appoint those same eight members to their own reconstituted boards from October 2020. This situation represented an important step toward the establishment of the unified governance and institutional integration model envisaged under One CGIAR.

Decisions taken by CGIAR’s governing bodies* continued to strengthen CGIAR delivery, with important examples being the January 2020 adoption of a Framework for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion in CGIAR’s Workplaces and associated Action Plan, a CGIAR-wide Research Ethics Code, and a cross-System Code of Conduct for CGIAR Governance Officials in November 2020.

A new research and innovation strategy

Through dedicated work of the Transition Advisory Groups, extensive consultations with CGIAR’s leaders and partners, and deliberations through governance meetings during 2020, the System Council approved the System Board-recommended CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy in December 2020, which sets out a unifying mission of “transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis” and outlines how CGIAR will develop and deploy its capacities, assets, and skills to address priority global and regional challenges with partners over the decade.

If managed and governed differently, food systems could be a lever of global change, at the vanguard of sustainable living for all, leading other sectors with solutions and inspiration. The transition to One CGIAR provides an opportunity for a fresh 10-year strategy that can shape a stronger and more relevant science agenda for today’s dynamic world.

Kundhavi Kadiresan, Managing Director, Global Engagement and Innovation

*Decisions of CGIAR’s governing bodies are available at CGIAR System Board decisions and System Council decisions.

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