GCARD2, organized by GFAR in partnership with the CGIAR and our wonderful hosts, the Government of Uruguay, set out to move the process forward from WHAT transformation of agricultural research for development (AR4D) is required, to HOW to implement the GCARD RoadMap in practice and the difference it makes. This message of Change was strong and persistent throughout the Conference and explicitly focused on better meeting the needs of smallholder farmers.

GCARD2 was a truly global event: with 658 participants in Uruguay from 101 countries, including Ministers from the region and with over 1,000 people joining us on-line, all working to promote the agricultural research for development changes we all wish to see. We came together as representatives of a wide range of organizations involved, across the spectrum from farmers to upstream research.

Twenty GFAR-supported pre-conference sessions enabled organizations such as the CGIAR, Regional Fora and FAO to discuss their programmes in more detail with others involved and shape their inputs to the conference itself.

The conference discussions built from your own actions and commitments at all levels: an inspiring cast of over 220 speakers from all sectors and regions presented their work and its implications, enabling meaningful discussions on 20 themes of global importance. Sessions addressed diverse perspectives and realities around delivering change in these key agendas. The parallel sessions built from existing programmes, finding synergies and connections that can now come together to lead to large-scale and tangible outcomes, owned by all involved.

The GCARD2 has also specifically explored the practical implications of partnership and pathways to impact around the themes addressed by the new CGIAR Research Programmes, helping CRP leaders to now reshape their programmes to meet the needs and expectations of partners.  This has led to a range of new commitments to partnership, capacity development and foresight in the CGIAR, as voiced by Frank Rijsberman, CGIAR Consortium CEO.

Through the GCARD2 we have, among others:

  • Considered how AR4D systems can align with major development policies such as those of national Governments of the G8 and G20 and the establishment of post-2015 development goals.
  • Repositioned women farmers’ needs firmly at the centre of AR4D processes.
  • Directly engaged the voices of youth into consideration of the issues involved.
  • Developed and agreed collective actions that will bring together diverse foresight analyses, to better understand future needs and priorities and help us all to shape the future we desire, particularly exploring the future for smallholder farming.
  • Brought a range of innovative agricultural research-for-development agendas to centre stage: household nutrition, gender-based needs, attracting young people into agriculture, meeting the needs of communities shattered by protracted crises, linking farmers to markets, adapting to climate change impacts and fostering community-centred innovation were all addressed as key agendas alongside actions generating productive, sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems.
  • Set out what is required for solid actions to track and stimulate investments and returns and make these more effective and comprehensive, linking public, private and civil mechanisms.
  • Agreed practical concerted actions to develop required capacities at national, regional and global levels, providing a launch pad for a wide range of new partnerships and collective actions to deliver change, including the CRPs, the Tropical Agriculture Platform of FAO and partners, the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for the Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Gender in Agriculture Partnership and the New Extensionist focus of GFRAS.
  • Met desired expectations of the Conference in a very inclusive and cost effective way.

The GCARD was an exciting event with a strong focus on practical action. From the survey conducted at the conference end: 80% of respondents found the sessions to have been either Useful or Very Useful to your work, while 79% felt that the knowledge you have acquired is likely to change the design or implementation of your AR4D programmes and activities, while as many also felt that the GCARD would be likely to change your approach to existing or new partnerships in AR4D programmes and activities.

To quote William Dar, ICRISAT Director General: “GCARD2 was invigorating. But it made clear that much hard work lies ahead. GFAR Chair Dr. Monty Jones urged us to unite around the six-point plan of the GCARD Road Map: inclusive priority-setting, equal partnerships, increased investment, improved capacities, improved development impacts, and better communication of achievements. It was agreed that we all share responsibility and accountability for executing towards those targets.  We embrace that challenge, because we believe that GCARD has got it right. Inclusive and innovative partnerships, guided by well-informed foresight, will illuminate the road ahead. Let’s strengthen our partnerships to accelerate the engine of development for smallholders.”

And Robert Carlson, President of the World Farmers’ Organisation: “I would like to express to you my highest satisfaction and gratitude for having invited WFO to the GCARD 2012. The level of discussions and results achieved over the entire event were remarkable. I am also particularly glad to notice that GCARD’s conclusive remarks focused on farmers, women, youth and extension as main partners to work with for the future challenges and activities of GCARD.”

GFAR Secretariat looks forward to working with all of you to help turn your aims and commitments into solid realities over the period to GCARD3.

More information is available here.

For full details on GCARD2, visit: http://www.egfar.org/