On August 24, participants from around the world converged on Addis Ababa to discuss the proposed CGIAR ‘Livestock-Fish’ research Mega Program. Participants attending came from 4 CGIAR Centers – CIAT, ICARDA, ILRI, and WorldFish; others came from Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia. They represent governments, national research organizations, regional and sub-regional bodies (FARA, IBAR, ASARECA, CORAF), NGOs, the private sector, as well as international organizations (FAO, World Bank).
They came to Addis Ababa to share thinking on the Mega Program, test emerging conclusions,align the ideas of the various stakeholders, understand better how to make the partnerships work, and generally collectively refine thinking on how best to take the proposal forward.
Update on the CGIAR Change Process
The first day kicked off with a presentation on the CGIAR change process by Steve Hall, Director General of the WorldFish Center. In his view, the emerging role for the future CGIAR is to help make development happen and learning how to do development better, with partners
Introducing the Livestock-Fish Mega Program
After the general introduction to the CGIAR change process, ILRI’s Tom Randolph introduced the proposed Mega Program in more detail.
The proposed Mega Program has three main components:
- A ‘value chain development component’ (the front end);
- A ‘technology generation component’ (the back end);
- A cross-cutting component on ‘targeting and M&E’, with activities on prioritization, impact assessment and learning, horizon scanning, improved mapping of systems, and gender analysis.
He introduced the notion of value chains that underpin much of the work of the Mega Program. This is the so-called ‘front end’ where the Mega Program partners engage in specific value chain development interventions, comprising assessment, implementation, and policy analysis phases.
The so-called ‘back end’ – the engine behind the Mega Program – will focus on technological development on high-priority cross cutting issues: feeds, breeds, and health – where the Mega Program expects to make biggest gains in productivity.
He concluded by elaborating on the niche to be played by the Mega Program. According to Randolph: “we want to play a catalyst role that brings together research and development actors through effective partnerships.” In this Mega Program, the CGIAR will become a knowledge partner for development organizations; and it will take on brokering roles that help bring development needs to our research colleagues.”
His presentation generated a wide-ranging discussion on the proposal in general as well as many specific elements. Participants also identified a substantial list of strengths and weaknesses of the proposal. Many of these were taken up in subsequent sessions discussing strategies on value chain development and scaling out in the proposal.