8 March 2017 – During a dynamic two-day meeting on 8-9 February, members of the newly appointed GFAR Steering Committee met at the FAO headquarters in Rome, to agree actions to help meet the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CABI CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, participated on behalf of AIRCA – the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture.

Steering Committee members agreed key areas to address in the GFAR Medium-Term Plan, including empowering sustainable rural communities, increasing the flow of knowledge, transforming learning and youth empowerment, and enabling rural enterprise. Members set out ideas on the forms of partnership needed to take collective action in these areas.

GFAR, a unique global network for action on agri-food research and innovation, has undergone a major transformation, putting partnership at its core, and bringing together a vibrant and fast-growing community of self-declared Partners in GFAR. These 433 organizations recognize that complex food security challenges can only be met through working together for success.

On 10 February, Dr Nicholls then attended the annual meeting of the Director Generals of AIRCA, also held at the FAO headquarters in Rome. Chaired by Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali, CEO of Crops For the Future, AIRCA Director Generals discussed joint actions for 2017.

A key initiative is the Global Action Plan on Agricultural Diversification (GAPAD), proposed at the COP21 UNFCCC Climate Meeting in Paris in 2015. GAPAD will support the SDGs by showing how agricultural diversification can help achieve food and nutritional security, alleviate poverty and provide new opportunities for more environmentally sustainable agriculture.

GFAR Steering Committee members meet at the FAO Headquarters in Rome

GFAR Steering Committee members meet at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, ©GFAR

The AIRCA members also attended a high-level meeting with the FAO Director General, Dr. José Graziano da Silva, and discussed the need to diversify the global food basket beyond the world’s major staple crops.

Talking about the events, Dr Nicholls said, “It was an honour to represent AIRCA on the GFAR Steering Committee and then to meet the DG of FAO with my AIRCA colleagues. This recognition of AIRCA and the relevance of its work to food and nutrition security shows how much progress the group has made since we came together.”

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