A major national consultation took place in Hanoi, Vietnam this week, to unite key players in agricultural research and define a collaborative road-map to deliver impact.
The meeting comes during a crucial phase in CGIAR restructuring, as a second phase of Center Research Program (CRP) themes are further refined to be rolled out next year.
Inputs from national participants at the meeting, which took place at the Agricultural Genetics Institute on December 14-15th, will be included among CGIAR Center priorities, aligned with national priorities and targets of Vietnam.
Ten CGIAR Centers were represented, led by CIAT and co-led by ICRAF.
More than 40 national research institutes and partners gathered to discuss major agricultural challenges and debate potential solutions.
The CGIAR panel presented key CGIAR joint targets in Vietnam, to trigger discussions on national topics of concern and opportunity including poverty reduction and productivity, food and nutrition security and natural resource management.
CGIAR support crucial
Delivering his opening remarks, Professor Nguyen Van Tuat, Vice President for Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD), said Vietnam is restructuring the agricultural sector to raise production and incomes as a key priority.
“Support from the CGIAR is crucial to reduce rural poverty and manage resources sustainably,” he said. He added that the gathering is an opportunity to discuss and identify gaps and priorities for research in Vietnam, strengthening partnerships towards a strategy for improved agricultural development.
Professor Le Huy Ham, Director General of the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI), noted the CGIAR’s decision to make Vietnam a focus country for CRP integration. “It is crucial information that Vietnam has been chosen as one of the priority countries for the CGIAR for the next phase of the CRPs,” he said.
“We need to raise awareness about this, especially because there are ten CGIAR centers operating in Vietnam.” Addressing agricultural issues in each agro-ecological region of Vietnam is an important approach, he said.
Better coordination between CGIAR centers, and improved cooperation between CGIAR centers and researchers in Vietnam, is vital to achieve greater impact going forward, he said.
Dr. Leo Sebastian, CCAFS Regional Program Leader for Southeast Asia, outlined objectives for the meeting, noting that national partner feedback at this stage of the CGIAR’s development is key to address both CGIAR objectives and national priorities.
Dr. Dindo Campilan, CIAT Regional Director for Asia, further noted: “Vietnam is one of six focus countries for the CGIAR, so today is key to discuss future collaboration,” he said.
“Vietnam has different agro-ecological characteristics, with needs, opportunities and research gaps which vary from the Mekong River to the northwest region.”
“Today we will dive into the details of the ecoregions and discuss what Vietnam needs – specifically which Centers will have strategic interventions for the different regions.
“Key outputs included identifying goals and opportunities for site integration, and recommending mechanisms for coordination in Vietnam.
“To address key outputs we also seek feedback from our national partners, we need to address questions such as the relevance and usefulness of the CGIAR goals, and gaps and priorities to address,” he said.
Site Integration: Background and expectations
The Consortium of CGIAR centres is proposing a second phase of CRPs to effectively contribute to its global strategy.
A key dimension in the second phase portfolio is increased integration across the CRPs and a strengthened ability to work with a wide range of regional partners and stakeholders in achieving development goals.
To realize this, a focus on improved coordination and collaboration, particularly through a process termed ‘site integration’, starting in a select set of Geographies, will be carried out.
Site integration plans are necessary to ensure CGIAR Centers work together in a way that is informed by – and aligned to – priorities and processes, in particular geographies.
From 20 countries, six were identified as site integration countries based on a criteria that includes significant presence in the country; impact potential and government and donor interest, as well as strategically important for CGIAR research.
The six site integration countries are: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Tanzania and Vietnam.