Initiative Result:

GENDER conference charts directions for equality

The 2023 CGIAR GENDER-ICAR conference convened a global network, received endorsement from Indian policy makers, and charted new directions for G20 countries.

The CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform offered its network of gender researchers a unique opportunity to connect with partners and peers, influence the priorities of one of the world’s largest national agricultural research organizations, and offer recommendations to G20 policy makers. Key stakeholders, including the president of India, the director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and India’s G20 Sherpa, acknowledged CGIAR as the go-to resource for recommendations and guidance on research, policies and investments toward more inclusive, equitable and resilient agrifood systems.

The CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform partnered with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to convene an international research conference “From research to impact: Toward just and resilient agrifood systems” in October 2023. The event built on the momentum created by India’s successful completion of its G20 presidency, during which Indian leaders broke new ground by elevating women-led development as a core theme in its sustainable growth and development.

By partnering with one of the largest national agricultural research and extension organizations in the world and by aligning with G20 leaders’ renewed attention to women’s leadership and empowerment, the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform offered its network of gender researchers a unique opportunity to reconnect and influence both practice and policy, with potential to achieve large-scale impact.

The need for world-class gender research provided by CGIAR and partners was acknowledged in the opening session when President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu in her inauguration address said that research is needed to understand how to transform agrifood systems, change the stories of currently marginalized women in food systems, and achieve ecologically sustainable, ethically desirable, economically affordable, and socially justifiable agricultural production. Also on the opening day, India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said in his keynote address that while the recent G20 Summit marked progress, the recommendations and insights offered by the conference would be critical to implement.

Director of ICAR Himanshu Pathak expressed his endorsement in an op-ed co-authored with CGIAR’s GENDER Impact Platform director, Nicoline de Haan. Together they argued that world-class agricultural research, conducted through multistakeholder collaborations, should play a central role in identifying the priorities and innovations that can transform the G20 commitments into positive outcomes for women and men farmers, communities, and entire nations. They highlighted how research-driven agricultural innovations can foster greater food security, nutrition and resilience, while also advancing progress toward gender equality goals.

Almost 700 delegates from 52 countries — representing renowned academic and research institutes, national agricultural research and extension systems, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, donor agencies, policy makers, and the private sector — joined the event. They put forward a wealth of research-based insights and recommendations in 60 parallel sessions — including 4 plenary sessions, multiple capacity development sessions, and various scientific sessions — covering 6 themes:

  1. A gender and social inclusion lens on resilience in the context of climate change, COVID-19 and other shocks and stresses
  2. From women’s empowerment to gender-transformative change in agrifood systems
  3. Gender-responsive and -transformative agrifood system innovations
  4. Fostering equitable market systems
  5. Delivering nutrition, food security, and health for all
  6. Youth and agrifood systems

Key insights and findings from the discussions are summarized in the conference report and are being transformed into actionable policy recommendations for ICAR and Indian policy makers to consider in a forthcoming policy brief. The event also garnered extensive interest from news and social media, yielding 39 pieces in print media, 86 pieces in online media, and social media mentions from thought leaders such as President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu, India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, and Andrew Campbell.

The CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform is also set to continue its guidance to G20 leaders, including as expressed in an op-ed by de Haan in late 2023, calling for Brazil — India’s successor for the G20 presidency — to make gender equality in climate action a priority to prepare for COP29.

A post-conference evaluation survey (n = 162) showed an overwhelmingly positive response, with every respondent saying that the conference realized or exceeded their expectations.

I am elated to know that the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform is working on putting equality and inclusion at the heart of food systems research by focusing on women, not as the objects of transformation, but as the agents and drivers of transformation.

President of India Smt Droupadi Murmu

Header photo: International CGIAR GENDER-ICAR conference “From research to impact: Towards just and resilient agri-food systems” in New Delhi, India from 9-12 October 2023. Grey Matters Communications.

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