ICARDA’s North Africa Platform in Rabat, Morocco, recently hosted the CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partner Council (ISPC) – a body dedicated to providing independent advice to CGIAR donors and providing a bridge between funders and the CGIAR.
ICARDA’s North Africa Platform performs research focused on the sustainable intensification and diversification of rain-fed cereal-based production, and the visit provided an opportunity to demonstrate the progress of on-going research and the Center’s decentralization. The visit combined presentations, discussions and field visits.
A presentation by ICARDA’s Director General, Mr. Aly Abousabaa, demonstrated the critical scientific solutions required to strengthen the resilience of dryland production systems and the wellbeing of rural communities; key challenges and opportunities presented by the Center’s decentralization; and ICARDA’s new Research Strategy (2017-2026).
Subsequent ICARDA presentations included cereal-based intensification and diversification activities – delivered by Dr. Michael Baum, Director of ICARDA’s Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management Program, and the Center’s Genebank and genetic resources activities, presented by Dr. Ahmed Amri, Head of the Genetic Resources Section.
There were further presentations and discussions regarding global trends and the main drivers of food production systems; quantitative foresight modeling to inform the CGIAR’s research portfolio; and priorities to strengthen the CGIAR’s comparative advantage. Visits included the Research Platform’s new research facilities and laboratories, and there were further scientific briefings on crop breeding, agronomy, and water research.
Generally, the ISPC expressed positive perceptions of ICARDA’s on-going research activities and decentralization, and noted the Center’s strong collaborative relationships with NARS – which representatives saw as a unique and cost-effective approach to enhancing proximity to partners and clients.