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Open letter to the heads of state attending the 70th UN General Assembly, September 2015, New York


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Figure of a woman, pre-dynastic Egypt, 3500–3400 BCE (Brooklyn Museum).

Co-advancement of Agricultural
and Natural Resource Management

within the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 global goals which you have supported the creation of
are an unrivalled span of human aspiration
covering everything from sharing prosperity,
to protecting the planet, to promoting a more peaceful world.

The commitments, resources and accountability
that you have offered in support are tremendous,
and have helped to fill a huge political gap by acting collectively.

Reducing rural poverty, ensuring food and nutrition security,
and improving natural resource systems
are key dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These are also the shared strategic goals of the 15 centres of CGIAR.

Together we stand ready to engage and be accountable for
our contributions to the entire SDG ambition, specifically to:

SDG1: Poverty
SDG2: Food security and nutrition
SDG6: Water
SDG7: Sustainable energy
SDG13: Climate change
SDG15: Land use

The collective of 15 CGIAR centres is more than 40 years old and works
in over 70 developing countries through extensive partnership networks.
Its 12,000 staff focus on delivering actionable knowledge, robust evidence
for policy and investment decisions and capacity development for, inter alia:

Sustainable agriculture practices
Rural livelihood improvements
Improved crop varieties
Biodiversity conservation
Climate change adaptation and mitigation
Sustainable management of landscapes

We have aligned our new strategies with the SDGs
and we offer realistic impacts by 2030 of:

→ 350 million smallholder farmers
with access to improved varieties and management practices
→ 500 million people
at least 50% of them women—
no longer suffering from nutritional deficiencies
→ 100 million people
lifted out—and staying out—of poverty
→ 0.8 gigatonnes
fewer greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture each year
→ 190 million hectares
of degraded lands restored

No other group of organizations combines
advances in agriculture development

and natural resource management better,
or more comprehensively,

than the CGIAR centres.

A key to successfully achieving the SDGs will be sufficient means of implementation.
Here the CGIAR centres are concerned by the fluctuating recognition of
coupled research and development endeavours in priorities and financial commitments.

Accordingly, at the 70th UN General Assembly in New York next week,
we call on world leaders and key development actors to recognize and document
their appreciation for the importance of groups such as the collective of CGIAR centres.

Furthermore, we call on them to incorporate new commitments and continued support
up to and beyond 2030 for advancing our innovative programs
in alignment with, and strongly contributing to, the SDG ambition.

Two main questions for you:
(1) Can we include you
along with other countries and key actors as champions
of the co-advancement of agriculture and natural resource management?

(2) Which agencies in your country
should we more actively engage with in this co-advancement?

Please respond with answers or any further information required,
either directly to any of the signatories of this letter
or centrally to the CGIAR centre representative:
CentreRep@CGIAR.org

If we had all the knowledge, technology and capacity we needed,
then we would not need coupled research and development endeavours.

We remain at your service to help combine the science of discovery
with the science of delivery of positive agriculture
and natural resource management impacts.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Matlon, board chair, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Côte d’Ivoire
Harold Roy-Macauley, director general, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), Côte d’Ivoire

Christian Samper, board chair, Bioversity International (Bioversity), Italy
Ann Tutwiler, director general, Bioversity International (Bioversity), Italy

Geoff Hawtin, board chair, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia
Ruben Echeverria, director general, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Colombia

John Hudson, board chair, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia
Peter Holmgren, director general, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia

John Snape, board chair, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico
Martin Kropff, director general, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico

Rodney Cooke, board chair, International Potato Center (CIP), Peru
Barbara Wells, director general, International Potato Center (CIP), Peru

Camilla Toulmin, board chair, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Lebanon
Mahmoud Solh, director general, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Lebanon

John Lynam, board chair, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Kenya
Tony Simons, director general, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Kenya

Chandra Madramootoo, board chair, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India
David Bergvinson, director general, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India

Kym Anderson, board chair, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA
Shenggen Fan, director general, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA

Lindiwe Sibanda, board chair, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya
Jimmy Smith, director general, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya

Bruce Coulman, board chair, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria
Nteryana Sangina, director general, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria

Emerlinda Roman, board chair, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines
Robert Zeigler, director general, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Don Blackmore, board chair, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka
Jeremy Bird, 
director general, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka

Beth Woods, board chair, World Fish Center (WorldFish), Malaysia
Steve Hall,
 director general, World Fish Center (WorldFish), Malaysia

Editor’s note:
The 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York starts next week
with a Sustainable Development Summit 25–27 Sep 2015;
the annual general debate begins on 28 Sep 2015.

2 thoughts on “Open letter to the heads of state attending the 70th UN General Assembly, September 2015, New York

  1. Great post dear Editor.

    This is a new collective brave call that requires a global collective action.

    I suggest national and regional research systems should follow suite.

  2. Sent to 193 heads of state, 193 United Nations’ permanent representatives, 30 ministers in the main developing countries in which the CGIAR works and 34 ministers of international development in countries in the Organization of Economic Development.

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