22 January 2014 – CABI kicked off the New Year holding its 393rd Executive Council meeting and paving the way for new projects and initiatives contributing to global food security. Representatives from 31 CABI member countries met in London, together with CABI’s Board members, and a number of CABI staff led by CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls.
At the meeting, Executive Council members reviewed the positive results achieved during 2013 through CABI’s work in international development and publishing. This included significant progress in projects and programmes such as Plantwise and the African Soil Health Consortium. All recommendations were approved unanimously. Members were involved in signing off on a number of new proposals, including endorsements on:
• the CABI 2014-2016 medium-term strategy
• the CABI 2014 budget and 2015-2016 plan
• the re-election of Dr Lutz-Peter Berg (Switzerland) as the Chair of the Executive Council in 2014; and
• the re-election of His Excellency Garvin Nicholas (Trinidad & Tobago) and election of Mr Nasser Tamei (Papua New Guinea) as Executive Council delegates for the Board observer positions for 2014
With lots of comments, feedback and questions from the Executive Council members, the meeting was lively and interactive.
Opening the meeting, Executive Council Chair, Dr Lutz-Peter Berg, commented, “There is a real collaborative spirit between CABI and member countries – the best I have experienced in my time as an Executive Council member and Board member/observer. Huge steps forward have been made in 2013, and I look forward to a challenging and successful 2014.”
Talking about CABI’s projects for tackling food security, Dr Nicholls said, “Members are keener than ever to participate. We’ve seen significant investments that allow us to be innovative and bring in new people, always ensuring the values and culture of CABI remain steady. This is not just about food security, but about nutritional security. We have to see change in behaviour of the farmers and creation of markets for more diverse, nutritional products.”
Speaking about Plantwise, CABI’s food security programme, China’s representative, Mr Zhiyu Hu, said, “Personally, I have seen that Plantwise has done great work at the community level – robust and fruitful. On an official note, China will continue to support in any way it can and would propose that both experiences and lessons be summarised and shared among countries to ensure further success, and more widespread of Plantwise implementation in China and globally.”
Mr Yu Kwang Song expressed the DPRK’s highest appreciation for projects stemming from CABI Europe-Switzerland, while Mr Tamei of Papua New Guinea thanked CABI for its support, especially in response to the management of the Coffee Berry Borer. While Papua New Guinea is not currently a member of Plantwise, Mr Tamei expressed his country’s’ interest in joining. Zambian representative, Mrs Ikayi Mushinge, said, “Zambia joined Plantwise in 2013. In one year, CABI has trained 30 extension officers as plant doctors. I appreciate and recognize the practical way that CABI moved in. Should there be any challenges, don’t hesitate to let us know and we will help.”
Concluding the meeting, Dr Berg thanked those who attended for their time and commitment to achieving CABI’s objectives in global food security.