No greater challenge

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Amidst the transition to One CGIAR and COVID-19 lockdowns, the world’s leading maize and wheat research organization’s community found the time to slow down and weigh the successes and bottlenecks of this complicated year. More than 400 people spread across the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) 13 offices worldwide gathered for an all-staff virtual event to close 2020.

Aided by world-renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs’ vast experience in detangling global crises, sustainable development and poverty alleviation, staff reflected on the role they play within CGIAR and in helping CIMMYT increase its impact on nutrition security, poverty alleviation and a better world.

Connecting from his home in New York, Sachs urged CGIAR to see beyond the research priorities it set out to accomplish a half a century ago. With the 50th anniversary of CGIAR in 2021, Sachs encouraged CGIAR to think about the research priorities for the next 50 years. “We’re confronting a probably more systemic and even more complex set of challenges in food in 2021, than perhaps was the case in 1971,” he said.

“We need to expand the research agenda beyond the still-important focus on improved yields and varieties to consider the food system holistically. Our goal is a global food system that enables healthy diets, sustainable land use, resilience to environmental change, and good livelihoods for farm families.”

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