New GFAR Steering Committee sets agenda to meet Sustainable Development Goals

gfarDuring a two-day meeting on 8-9 February 2017, members of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) Steering Committee met at the GFAR host organization, FAO in Rome, to set the agenda for this global forum on agri-food research and innovation, towards helping to meet the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GFAR has undergone a major transformation and now brings together a vibrant and fast-growing community of self-declared Partners in GFAR (presently 433 partner organizations), who recognize that these complex challenges can only be met through working together for success. The Forum’s Steering Committee now comprises 34 elected representatives, from across 13 sectors involved in agricultural research and innovation at international, regional and local levels. Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe of the University of Nairobi is among the new Steering Committee Members, representing the Higher Education Constituency.

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Universities recognised as important stakeholders in enhancing the impact of Agricultural research for Development – RUFORUM at the GCARD3 Conference

Above: Seedlings grown from tissue samples in a laboratory being showcased during the exhibition at the ARC, South Africa. Photo Credit: Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth

Above: Seedlings grown from tissue samples in a laboratory being showcased during the exhibition at the ARC, South Africa. Photo Credit: Photo by IISD/Kiara Worth

The third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3), jointly organised by the Global Forum on Agriculture Research (GFAR) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) under the theme “No One Left Behind: Agri–food Innovation and Research for a Sustainable World” was attended by over 400 participants representing academia, government, civil society, research and the private sector. The four day Conference was held 5-8 April, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  RUFORUM Secretariat, representing its network of 55 universities attended the Conference.

During the Opening Ceremony, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer at Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) applauded the Conference Organisers for bringing together key stakeholders to promote effective, targeted investment that will build partnerships, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system. This action she hoped would ensure that today’s agricultural research will impact on the rural poor.  She also emphasised the need to work together differently, develop collaborative strategies that are realistic to emerging challenges, enforce higher stakeholder commitment towards engaging, debating and formulating real policies that are holistic and not linear in approach. She applauded all the female participants and thanked them for their contribution to the Agricultural development sector.

The Conference noted the need for capacity building across the research for development sector and for universities to be included into the global consultations under GFAR. Universities were challenged to transform themselves towards academic enterprises and knowledge entrepreneurship whist staying grounded as student –centric institutions that are preparing students to be “master thinkers”, able to grasp a wide array of skills and contribute to the desired workforce, a gap that still needs to be addressed.

RUFORUM also participated in the exhibition, together with other 13 exhibitors. The event included a one day field trip to ARC-VOPI Rooderplaat and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute campus. Click here to download the Press Release.