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CGIAR Science Week: innovation and partnerships for a food, nutrition, and climate secure-future

When humanity has faced its greatest challenges, science and innovation have provided solutions. Today, major and connected global challenges threaten the sustainability of food, land, and water systems, with the most vulnerable people and communities at greatest risk.

Recognizing the urgency of these challenges, CGIAR and the Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) are convening the world’s leading scientists and decision-makers at the intersection of agriculture, climate, and health for an inaugural CGIAR Science Week. The gathering will inspire action and investment in sustainable food systems that nourish both people and the planet. With the new CGIAR research Portfolio being shaped to address the biggest challenges and opportunities of our time, this will be a key moment to shape and co-create the research and innovation agenda and to establish critical partnerships.

Drawing on CGIAR science and partnerships from around the world, the inaugural CGIAR Science Week brings together the community working for a food, nutrition, and climate secure future to:

  • Hear from global leaders in research, policy, and development about how we can harness and scale science and innovation during our Plenary sessions.
  • Co-create and contribute to the design of new CGIAR 2025-2030 programs during our Stakeholder Consultations.
  • Discover the best of our science during an exciting program of Science Talks, Innovation Showcase, and Research Workshops.
  • Experience game-changing innovations that are improving the lives of producers and consumers around the world in our Exhibition Area.
  • Explore CGIAR and partner labs and research stations and see science in action during our field visits.

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Programme

Plenary
Stakeholder Consultations
Side events
Exhibition area
Field visits

When humanity has faced its greatest challenges, science and innovation have provided solutions. Today, major global challenges are threatening the sustainability of food, land and water systems, with the most vulnerable people and communities at greatest risk. At this critical moment, CGIAR Science Week’s plenary program brings together global and regional leaders in research, policy, and development to discuss how we harness and scale science and innovation and partner to provide food, nutrition and climate security for all.

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Monday, Jul 1
13:00 - 13:05

Opening Address

13:05 - 14:45

Welcome

14:45 - 15:55

Panel Discussion: CGIAR past, present and future

What should we learn from CGIAR’s past and present to help us as we reimagine a sustainable and healthy future for people and our planet? Join the discussion with current and former CGIAR leadership, young scientists, and students.

15:55 - 16:15

Break

16:15 - 16:45

Fire-side Chat: Addressing the challenges of our time with inclusive innovation

The challenges the world faces are increasingly global and interconnected. At the same time there is growing awareness of the complexity and context-specificity of agrifood systems. How do we address the mega challenges of our time with inclusive approaches to research and innovation?

16:45 - 18:00

Panel Discussion: Power in Partnership

Convening mission-driven partnerships and boosting South-South collaboration to get innovations into the hands of farmers. The new CGIAR partnership strategy combined with the capacity-sharing operating model and the systems approach will drive South-South collaboration highlighting the potential in specific sector like the Blue Economy in Africa.

Tuesday, Jul 2
08:00 - 08:50

Panel Discussion: ASEAN Focus: Fostering Regional Integration & South-South collaboration

This session explores successful strategies for enhancing integration and coordination in the ASEAN region and beyond. It also addresses the opportunity to scale and deliver technologies and development solutions through ADB grants and loans in the context of the recently announced strategic partnership between ADB and CGIAR.

08:05 - 09:10

Scene Setting

09:10 - 09:30

Presentation: CGIAR’s Portfolio 2025-30 Update

Learn how CGIAR’s research portfolio for 2025-30 is taking shape. Find out how CGIAR’s work will address the major challenges threatening the sustainability of food, land, and water systems and their transformation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

09:30 - 10:00

Panel Discussion: Scaling for impact

“Linking the last mile – empowering regions and countries to ensure innovations reach farmers and consumers. How to move away from the linear model where local experimentation are transferred and duplicated at scale towards a new one where niche innovation contribute to an action regime change by integrating local innovation, territorial and national policies and support services and global frameworks

10:00 - 10:30

Break

10:30 - 11:00

Panel Discussion: Embracing Regional Targets

11:00 - 11:45

Panel Discussion: 2050 vision for Africa: a dialogue between CGIAR leaders and some key partners

Africa’s growing population will face challenges from climate change, youth and unemployment, migration (within and beyond Africa), the technological divide, and vulnerability of the food systems. The recommendations from the 2023 inaugural Africa Climate Summit, and the African Leaders Nairobi Declaration and Call to Action on Climate Change, pave the way for science and innovation to play a central role in urgently addressing the climate crisis. What strategies and solutions offer the best bets for Africa? What roles do sustainable livestock and aquatic foods play?

11:45 - 17:00

Break

17:00 - 17:45

Tomorrow's harvest: the power of innovation and networks in LAC

Innovation and collaboration are revolutionizing LAC’s agri-food landscape to address pressing challenges in agri-food systems such as climate crisis, environmental resource degradation, competitiveness, and food and nutritional security drive resilience and sustainability. This session explores how AgriLAC Resiliente, CGIAR’s regional initiative in LAC, has been integrated into the region’s agri-food innovation systems to strengthen them while expanding the impact of science through a network of networks.

17:45 - 17:50

Red Thread

Wednesday, Jul 3
10:30 - 10:35

Scene Setting

10:35 - 11:05

Panel Discussion: Wealth in Diversity

Wealth in Diversity
Crop variety and healthy soils are key to a healthy diet for a growing population. This session explores the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS), indigenous agriculture and orphan crops, the role of the genebanks, and healthy soils.

11:05 - 11:35

Panel Discussion: Building Water-Resilient Food Systems

Building Water-Resilient Food Systems
What will it take to achieve “building water-resilient food systems”, which was a COP28 Presidency outcome? This session explores the future of food systems in the context of water resilience, integrating perspectives from policy, science, and industry and learning lessons from research in arid regions.

11:35 - 12:05

Presentation: The Future of Agri-Foods

The Future of Agri-Foods
Leveraging CGIAR’s expertise in projections and foresight, we take a look at the future of agri-foods.

12:05 - 12:10

Break

12:10 - 13:10

Closing Ceremony

The new CGIAR Portfolio, which will run from 2025-2030, is being designed to bring out the very best that CGIAR has to offer in the face of the biggest global challenges. To ensure that CGIAR research and innovation is truly demand-driven and addresses the needs of local, regional, and global stakeholders, there is a strong focus on co-creation and consultation in the portfolio development process. The new portfolio is taking shape around 13 proposed CGIAR Programs which will address mega challenges and opportunities including: Climate Action, Sustainable Diets, Genetic Innovation, Scaling Impact, Digital & Data Innovation, and Genebanks. During 12 stakeholder consultation sessions at CGIAR Science Week, the cross-CGIAR teams drafting the proposals will share initial thinking on the programs and work areas and seek input from partners and stakeholders to shape the proposals as they develop. We look forward to your engagement and support as we build this exciting new Portfolio together.

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Monday, Jul 1
18:00 - 20:00

Innovative institutions and policies for systems transformations

Conference Room 3

Food, land, and water systems must be more productive, resilient, and responsive. This requires in-country analytical capacity, strong institutions, and effective policy action. This work leverages our ability to assess complex interactions, synergies, and tradeoffs, link with global policy networks, and create relationships with policymaking, research, and implementing institutions in the South. CGIAR builds policy coherence by piloting tools to strengthen countries’ institutional analytical results and responding to policy demand and crises via rapid response to promote evidence-based decision making.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

18:00 - 20:00

Closing the productivity and resilience gaps through genetic innovation

Conference Room 1

For smallholder farmers to overcome climate impacts, build livelihoods, and feed their communities, they need seeds/seedstocks of varieties and breeds that are productive, nutritious, gender-responsive and resilient. Our breeding programs offer smallholders more farmer-demanded options to replace outdated varieties and breeds that struggle against climate, food demand, and environmental challenges. CGIAR and national breeding programs are modernizing, integrating and targeting their programs to design, develop and deliver improved  crops, vegetables, trees, livestock, fish and other aquatic species for smallholder farmers.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

Tuesday, Jul 2
12:30 - 14:30

Climate action for resilient food, land, and water systems

Conference Room 1

While the agri-food sector contributes 1/3 of emissions and is extremely vulnerable to climate change, it can also be part of the solution by reducing emissions, strengthening carbon sinks, and increasing resilience. We are on track to breach the crucial 1.5°C limit in less than a decade. The most vulnerable populations, including small-scale producers and other marginalized actors, are facing increasing food insecurity and malnutrition and finding it progressively challenging to make a living. CGIAR’s climate work addresses the high-stakes climate crisis by delivering cutting-edge innovations and leveraging partnerships to accelerate adaptation and emissions reductions across food, land, and water systems. We are also working to improve the food, nutrition, and water security and livelihoods of small-scale producers with adaptation efforts focused on the most affected producers and consumers and most food-insecure communities.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

12:30 - 14:30

Future frontiers

Conference Room 3

People – especially women – in settings with fragility, conflict, migration, and rapid urbanization are the most vulnerable to crises and need solutions. We advance food system science to address fragility, conflict, rapid urbanization, and demographic shifts amid climate change. We focus on science-based solutions for resilient food systems in fragile and conflict-affected areas through preparedness, recovery, and understanding of migration; resilient urban and peri-urban food systems, particularly for the urban poor; and rapidly identifying and deploying innovations to strengthen food systems against shocks.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

Wednesday, Jul 3
08:00 - 10:00

Animal and aquatic food systems for nutrition and health

Conference Room 1

Farmers, herders, fishermen, value chain actors and consumers lack access to affordable, high-quality, nutritious animal and aquatic foods. Integrating innovative agriculture and aquaculture practices to boost productivity, enhance sustainability, and improve livelihoods and food security. Co-developed localized solutions across value chains to mitigate the impacts of animal and aquatic source foods while ensuring fair and inclusive access.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

08:00 - 10:00

Enablers of science, innovation, and adoption: Gender and social inclusion

Conference Room 3

Gender and social inequality in agri-food systems results in less food and nutrition security, more poverty, and less resilient and sustainable food systems.  CGIAR works to close the gender gap and enhance opportunities for youth in food, land, and water systems. Climate risks negatively impact women in food systems more than men because they are more dependent on agriculture and are less able to adapt.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

Thursday, Jul 4
16:00 - 18:00

Diets and Nutrition

Conference Room 1

The gap between what people should consume and what food systems provide is wider than ever, resulting in diets that are not nutritious, healthy, or sustainable, particularly in LMICs. Research and innovation with a unique, consumer-focused perspective, contributes to collective global targets for healthy diets and sustainable food systems. CGIAR generates evidence on how to cost-effectively attain sustainable healthy diets and nutrition while reducing environmental impacts.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

16:00 - 18:00

Sustainable Farming

Conference Room 3

Our growing population needs sustainable intensification of farming systems for food and nutrition security, income, employment generation, and reduced poverty. Farmers face climate change adaptation and mitigation challenges, while environmental degradation and biodiversity loss require resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable farming system solutions. Our work on sustainable farming includes productivity, resilience, and sustainability of priority farming systems at scale through integrated agronomy, plant health, and farming system solutions. These include high-quality yield increases; more stable yields, adapted to climate change; enhanced nutrient and water-use efficiencies; improved soil health; and reduced losses caused by pests, diseases, and weeds. We strengthen systems approaches to deliver integrated solutions. It builds on CGIAR and partners’ comparative advantages and CGIAR’s long track record of work.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

Friday, Jul 5
08:00 - 10:00

Demand-led scaling

Conference Room 1

The pace of technological and social innovation falls short of driving transformative change across food, land, and water systems. Together with partners, CGIAR tests, refines, and scales innovations in the contexts where they will be scaled while nurturing enabling environments for adoption and impact. We align innovations derived from CGIAR and its partners with stakeholder demands to drive transformative impact and advance scaling and innovation systems science.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

08:00 - 10:00

Enablers of science, innovation, and adoption: Data and digital innovations

Conference Room 3

Sustainable, inclusive food system transformation and economic growth are hampered by weak digital infrastructure, capacities, and services, especially for the rural poor. The Global South, especially women and rural areas, is underserved by digital technologies. Enabling policies and investments are urgently needed. We catalyze the sustainable transformation of food, land, and water systems through digital technologies and data science approaches. CGIAR generates evidence and innovative solutions through coordinated activities on the enabling environment, the digital divide, systems dynamics modeling, real-time monitoring, and enabling digital platforms.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

16:00 - 18:00

Regenerative landscapes and agroecosystems

Conference Room 1

Food systems worldwide worsen social inequities and contribute to biodiversity loss, water pollution, and natural resource depletion. We envision sustainable, healthy, equitable and prosperous landscapes and livelihoods critical for sustainable food systems, and human health. Our research will provide evidence for context-specific food system and value chain investments. We will propose solutions to challenges like deforestation, land and water degradation, and biodiversity loss, and build resilience to climate change.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

16:00 - 18:00

Enablers of science, innovation, and adoption: Capacity development

Conference Room 3

Capacity sharing is a next-generation approach to capacity development, embracing mutual learning, co-development, sharing and exchanging evidence, innovations, and technologies with partners, versus the traditional unidirectional transfer of knowledge and skills. Our work on capacity sharing will aim to strengthen the research-for-development and scaling capacities of partners, nurture healthier and more equitable partnerships, and catalyze greater investments by showcasing the impact of enhanced partner capacities. Our vision is to enhance the research, innovation, and scaling capacities at researcher, institutional, and system levels, for both partners and CGIAR, through tailor-made country and regional-level interventions.

Join this stakeholder consultation session to input into the initial thinking and contribute to shaping the proposal for our exciting new Research Portfolio.

The side-event schedule will be posted soon.

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Thursday, Aug 1
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Explore the CGIAR Science Week expo to discover the exciting innovations and partnerships delivering impact in food, land, and water systems transformation. Get hands on with transformative best-bet technologies and meet the scientists from CGIAR and partner organizations working at the cutting edge of research for development in areas including climate action, genetic innovation, digital & data, livestock and aquatic foods sustainable farming, sustainable diets and policy.

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Friday, Aug 2
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This is fun! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see science in action. Put on your walking shoes and take your pick of full- or half-day visits that offer a close-up view of research in the lab and field. Tour cutting-edge labs researching genotyping & phenotyping, soil & land health, and tree germplasm, among other topics, explore work on conservancy and wildlife, visit a pest screening facility, and see how one company is turning life-changing science into supermarket products.

The field visit schedule will be posted soon. Some field visits will take place on 30 June and 6 July.

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Saturday, Aug 3
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Speakers

Ismahane Elouafi
CGIAR Executive Managing Director
Ismahane Elouafi
CGIAR Executive Managing Director

Ismahane Elouafi is the Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, effective December 1, 2023.

She previously held the position of Chief Scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Prior to that, she was the Director General at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) based in the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Elouafi has held several senior scientific and leadership positions, including: Senior Adviser to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Branch in Ottawa (AAFC), Canada (2006–2007); the National Manager of Plant Research Section (2007–2010); and Director of Research Management and Partnerships Division at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (2010–2012).

She has worked as a scientist with several international research organizations and has been a member of various strategy expert panels and advisory groups, including the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), and HarvestPlus. She has been a member of several governance boards, including: the boards of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in the United States; the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) in the United Kingdom; and the Professional Development Institute in Canada.

She was also a member of the Scientific Group for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit and of the CGIAR System Board.

Aly Abousabaa
Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
Aly Abousabaa
Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)

Aly Abousabaa is Regional Director, Central and West Asia and North Africa, CGIAR, as well as Director General of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). He is a strategic leader in sustainable development, climate change advocacy, and agriculture research in global dry regions. His scope covers North Africa and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and West Asia. In addition to being an active reformer both within ICARDA and One CGIAR, he promotes the global scaling of dryland agriculture innovations to improve the livelihoods resilience of smallholder family farmers under a climate crisis. Prior to joining CGIAR to head ICARDA, he was Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). He led the preparation and execution of the Bank’s key strategies in the areas of agriculture, water, natural resources management, climate change, infrastructure, women, youth and governance. Through mobilizing and managing a portfolio of USD 11 billion, his work made a transformational impact on the lives of millions of people across Africa. At the AfDB, he also helped coordinate climate change negotiations in Africa and acted as Gender Champion. He continues to sit on several international boards and has built up a personal global network of international partners in development. He holds a master’s in civil engineering from Montana State University in the US and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Alexandria University.

Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda
Chair, CGIAR System Board
Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda
Chair, CGIAR System Board

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is an animal scientist and a practicing farmer with extensive experience, serving as a policy advisor to numerous African governments and global institutions. She serves on the Nestlé Board and as Chair of the Council at the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe and as Extra Ordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, and member of Champions 12.3, accelerating progress on UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, halving global per capita food waste.

In January 2023, she stepped down from the position of Professor, Director and Chair of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa; and has stepped down from the Board of the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg).

She previously served as Board Chair for the International Livestock Research Institution (ILRI); Board Member of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); and program advisor to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). She also served on the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems and as a member of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Policy Advisory Council. She has served in senior leadership positions in various organizations, including co-Chair of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), Vice-President, Country Support, Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and CEO and Head of Mission of the pan-African Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). She holds a PhD and MSc in Agriculture from the University of Reading, and BSc in Animal Production from the University of Alexandria, Egypt.

She was appointed to the CGIAR System Board in April 2021, and has served as the Chair since January 1, 2023.

Dr Namukolo Covic
ILRI Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia
Dr Namukolo Covic
ILRI Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia

Namukolo Covic is Regional Director, East and Southern Africa (ESA), CGIAR, and ILRI Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia, and CGIAR Country Convenor for Ethiopia. She has over 20 years’ experience on different aspects of food security and nutrition including research, program implementation and leadership development. Most recently she was on the leadership teams of two United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) 2021 action tracks, and is a founding member of the Coalition of Action on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems for Children and All. She co-leads the Governance Working Group of an Independent Expert Group that emerged from the UNFSS that has developed a Monitoring Framework on Food Systems Transformation to guide progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) countdown to 2030. Before joining ILRI, she was a senior research at IFPRI and has worked on projects in several countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. She is recognized for her ability to work at the interface of research, policy, and program processes and has worked extensively with the government of Ethiopia and other African national and regional stakeholders on different fronts of food systems and nutrition. Since 2011 she has supported African Union (AU) efforts on linking agriculture and nutrition in the CAADP process and has served on several AU Task Forces including for the development of the CAADP Results Framework and Biennial Review process, as well as the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative of the AfDB and the AU. She is a member of the EAT Lancet Commission 2.0.

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