A Regional Capacity-Strengthening Initiative: Towards New Strategic Partnerships in Latin America and the CaribbeanMar 14th, 2010 | By Simone Staiger | Category: Platforms
Download a flyer presenting this initiative
In international agricultural research, learning, capacity-strengthening, and exchange of knowledge are fundamental for the delivery of international public goods. They also form a sine qua non condition for research and development (R&D) organizations oriented towards results. Furthermore, in prioritizing agricultural R&D in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), capacity-strengthening is mentioned as highly relevant for achieving greater impact (IAASDT 2008; GCARD 2010).
The region has several organizations with a long history in implementing capacity-strengthening programs. However, the programs exercise little coordination among themselves and lack human and financial resources to respond to the high demand.
To resume an ambitious capacity-strengthening agenda, CIAT has been working on a regional capacity-strengthening initiative for LAC. Its strategy is based on the strengths of regional partners, a broad analysis of capacity-strengthening needs and interests in the region, and a coordinated strategic planning of activities in the area. This initiative has strong synergy with CIAT’s strategy of opening up to regional partners, as well as with the regional biotechnology platform and the Agronatura Scientific Park. The initiative’s objectives are to:
- Respond to demands through alliances that strengthen our strategic partners;
- More effectively coordinate and promote initiatives related to capacity-strengthening in the region through thematic approaches or platforms; and
- Mobilize resources for partners and thus increase their capacity-strengthening activities.
CIAT is investing resources in the coordination of activities that will facilitate the creation of this initiative and will promote several activities to initiate the platform’s design and creation, including the:
- Initiation of dialogs with partners to determine their interest in participating;
- Analysis and mapping of demand, supply, and gaps in key themes;
- Carrying out of events and workshops with partners to socialize the initiative and identify thematic opportunities; and
- Design of integrated proposals to mobilize resources.
Achievements so far
Through surveys and dialogs with regional actors and CIAT scientists and in coordination with CIAT’s Management Team, several initial thematic opportunities were identified.
As a result of these coordination efforts, a clear and comprehensive offer is expected for each priority issue (Figure 1). With partners who have the capacity to lead, each activity will be defined according to the partners’ experiences, existence of training materials, methodologies, and availability of human resources. Likewise, activities and target groups that remain to be designed and developed will be identified, as will be those who are able to lead this development. In relation to the available contents and target groups, the partner organizations of the initiative will develop an offer of capacity-strengthening and will jointly generate proposals to obtain funds for missing elements.
Seed systems: The production of good quality seed, with prices affordable by small farmers and produced at opportune times and places, is the best way of putting new varieties, developed by plant breeders, into farmers’ hands. A survey of regional actors and discussions with CIAT scientists identified this theme as complementing other recent projects and partnership agreements with CIAT.
Potential regional partners for a working group have been identified. In a first workshop in 2011 the design and implementation of the platform have been defined as well as an initial list of relevant actors who cover the fundamental aspects of the regional seed systems.
Intellectual property and open access: Recently, the evolution of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the proliferation of public-private partnerships demand a closer look at the management of intellectual property in agricultural research and development in LAC. To create a platform for the exchange and strengthening of capacities, a core group was constituted, including the University of Costa Rica, CATIE (Costa Rica), CIMMYT (Mexico), CENIRED (Colombia), IICA, INIA–Chile, and PIPRA and PIIPA (two international organizations specialized in the theme). With the partners, an international workshop was just organized at CIAT to exchange case studies. All information related to this workshop is available here (in spanish).