CGIAR Joins Forces with World Food Programme to Tackle Post-Pandemic Hunger

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The Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN agency will work with CGIAR to bolster food systems amid the pandemic recovery, the climate crisis and the threat of instability.

“This partnership will help us carry on saving lives and changing lives so more people have the opportunity to prosper and be self-sufficient.”

The world’s largest publicly-funded agricultural research network, CGIAR, has united effort with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to help tackle hunger and malnutrition in the pandemic recovery.

CGIAR and WFP, winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue their long-standing partnership to build resilience and promote sustainable agriculture.

The two organizations will concentrate on the links between climate change and conflict, the adaptation of food systems, and risk impacts on food security and development programs as part of their efforts to support the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“We’re delighted to sign this MoU with the World Food Programme to extend and deepen our shared commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition, particularly at such a critical moment for global food security,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, Managing Director for Global Engagement and Innovation at the CGIAR System Organization.

“The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme shows the international community’s understanding that there is an imperative to strengthen global food systems, especially in the pandemic recovery, and with the addition of this partnership, our two organizations are well-placed to make significant impact.”

The collaboration comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to add pressure to already stressed food systems. Last year, WFP Executive Director David Beasley warned that the pandemic has put several countries at risk of famine, with the number of people suffering acute food insecurity expected to rise to more than 270 million.

“Our work with CGIAR will help make food systems more resilient and less vulnerable to shocks,” said Beasley. “To strengthen broken or dysfunctional food systems in fragile settings, it’s critical to understand the links between conflict, climate and hunger. This partnership will help us carry on saving lives and changing lives so more people have the opportunity to prosper and be self-sufficient.”

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, WFP and CGIAR will work together to transform food systems at a national level and establish ongoing support based on scientific evidence ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021.

To streamline its own assets and consolidate its work worldwide, CGIAR is also undergoing an institutional reform to become One CGIAR. A newly integrated leadership and Board in place last year will support the level of collaboration required for an integrated global and country response.

In addition to the new MoU, CGIAR and WFP already collaborate on a number of projects. WFP and CGIAR’s International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) have worked together for more than two decades in areas such as improving food aid distribution systems and designing social protection programs that aim to improve nutrition through food and cash transfers to the poor.

WFP also works with several CGIAR Research Programs on projects including developing food security policies in Colombia, picture-based insurance for smallholder farmers, and assessing the impact of conflict and food assistance in countries.

The two organizations are currently partners with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in the area of climate security at the intersection of climate change, conflict and food security. The ongoing work aims to address the roles of food, land and water systems in mitigating and helping communities adapt to climate change, while preventing hunger and conflict.

The work is underpinned by CGIAR research on agricultural productivity, natural resource management, climate science, livelihoods and food security, youth, and gender, markets and value chains.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Donna Bowater, Marchmont Communications, or +44 7929 212 534.

Header photo by C. De Bode/CGIAR.

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