Tuesday, 30 March 2010


29th March 2010. During the GCARD 2010 meeting EFARD had the opportunity to hold an informal meeting on the way forward taking into account the latest development in Agricultural Research for Development and the ongoing debates on the changes and actions required by regional platforms for agricultural research to have greater impact on the poor. The mission of the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) is to strengthen the contribution of European Agricultural Research for Development to poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable development in developing countries by providing a platform for strate-gic dialogue among European stakeholder groups in order to promote research partnerships between European and Southern research communities. EFARD’s mission follows the principles of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) , and contributes to GFAR’s Global Plan of Action, in part-nership with the other regional fora of GFAR. In particular, EFARD has an important advocacy role to play in maintaining agricultural research for development as highest priority in the political agendas at European and International levels.EFARD Conferences, which are held about every three years, constitute the core element of EFARD’s activities in order to further exchange and promote strategic planning among European and partners from the South. Previous EFARD conferences, which were held in Montpellier (1997), Wageningen (1999) and Rome (2002), were directed towards the identification of common research themes and in-terests on the European level. EFARD presented during the GCARD meeting the outcome of the European GCARD consultation. The challenges faced by the European reviewers were similar in many ways to those addressed by the other 5 regional review groups in so much as they were asked to identify ways to improve the contribution of agricultural research to poverty reduction within the region, and globally; however, the challenges faced by the European reviewers were also different in so much as they had to consider the fact that Europe provides the majority of donor funding for global-ARD through bilateral and multilateral channels. Thus in presenting the synthesis, Dr. George Rothschild explained that the issues related to both the users/beneficiaries of ARD at the global and European levels and the suppliers of ARD funding had to be reviewed. This bottom-up/top-down challenge made the European review findings unique particularly since the North American donor community has not partaken in the GCARD exercise. The regional consultation from Europe ( EFARD) remarked on the need for greater AR4D to address poverty in Eastern Europe. It appears that the incidence and prevalence of relative and absolute poverty in Europe are on the increase – particularly in rural locations and city slums. The consultation revealed that the concerns of poor farming communities in Europe have been relatively neglected by the European ARD community, including by EFARD itself. However, partly as a consequence of the GCARD Europe initiative, EFARD has already proposed to include agriculture in Eastern Europe in its future agenda, in addition to addressing poverty in ‘the south’. During the informal EFARD meeting the participants expressed their full support to the EC funded PAEPARD project.