This year has been an exciting one for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). IFPRI’s high-quality research on the impact of global drivers of change on food systems and human well-being and other key food and nutrition security-related issues ensured that the Institute’s work was influential in the global, regional, and national arenas in 2009 and 2010.
The critical role that agriculture plays in climate change adaptation and mitigation was brought to the fore by IFPRI’s research work for the Copenhagen Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Research on nutrition and social protection interventions was influential in global policy discussions as well as in national nutrition strategies and safety-net program design. IFPRI’s strong technical support to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) continues to influence the implementation of the CAADP Roundtable processes, signing of country compacts, and development of country investment plans.
In December 2009, IFPRI’s new director general, Shenggen Fan, took over the leadership of the Institute when the previous director general, Joachim von Braun, returned to academia in Germany. The Board’s Search Committee conducted a wide recruitment for his replacement and was delighted to hire Dr. Fan. Dr. Fan had worked for IFPRI for 14 years, most recently as director of the innovative Development Strategy and Governance Division, and his research and managerial contributions to the Institute have been remarkable.
In June 2010, I became chair of IFPRI’s Board of Trustees after the previous Board chair of four years, Ross Garnaut, completed his leadership term. I extend my deepest thanks to Dr. Garnaut for his commitment to IFPRI and his strong guidance, especially during the time of reform in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system. I am delighted to take on the role of Board chair and look forward to working with the Institute’s cadre of dedicated researchers and managers to benefit the world’s poor and hungry. I would also like to welcome Professor Kym Anderson, a global leader in agricultural trade policy issues, to the Board of Trustees.
As part of the CGIAR reform, IFPRI’s Board of Trustees formally agreed to join the CGIAR Consortium in June 2010. By joining the Consortium, IFPRI confirmed that it is committed to implementing the transformations to the system being brought about by the change-management process. We are working with Consortium Board Chair Carlos Pérez del Castillo and newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Le Page to ensure that evidence-based, results-oriented research drives the agenda of the new Consortium.
The Board of Trustees was pleased that IFPRI’s dedicated research staff facilitated in a short timeframe a broad-based consultative process with partners to develop two potential CGIAR research programs: policies, institutions, and markets to strengthen assets and agricultural incomes for the poor and agriculture for improved nutrition and health. IFPRI and its partners await the Consortium’s review of these two innovative proposals.