RTB Director Graham Thiele’s blog on his participation at the GCARD2 Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay

(5 November 2012) The CGIAR research program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas is all about working with partners: that’s what I explained during my presentation at the GCARD2 conference that closed its doors last Thursday. GCARD2 was a great chance to hear from a huge number of our stakeholders including regional partners, NARIs, other CG centers, NGOs and donors. I felt a very positive atmosphere about the CG reform and of coming together with partners. One notable change was of how often participants raised questions about   gender research and equity. You can check out the presentations and other resources at: http://www.egfar.org/

Global foresight and its relevance for climate change was a hot topic. But we probably need to look more widely, considering changes in consumer behavior, for example. Frank Rijsberman (CEO of CGIAR Consortium) gave a presentation in the foresight session about the SRF Action Plan. It was gratifying to hear Frank mentioning the RTB as one of the CRPs leading the way on priority setting.

I took part in the breakout session on innovations for better livelihoods (3.1).  The session was ably chaired by Rodney Cooke who is very influential in CG community. I found out from Wale Adekunle that multi-stakeholder innovation platforms are being mainstreamed in Africa. I presented ideas for linking RTB with regional innovation platforms such as Red Latin Papa, CIALCA and Papa Andina. And gave a quick overview of initial results with ILAC – thanks Javier, Cristina and Sophie – for mapping of RTB actor networks, a great tool to understand nodes of research and identify gaps and areas for action.

What came out of it? The evidence of limited engagement of downstream research-for-development partners, a topic I want to move to the front burner. See http://www.egfar.org/content/p31-working-interregional-innovation-platforms-crp-roots-tubers-and-bananas.

Indeed in the plenary for GCARD with 500 people present, Rodney Cooke summing up on innovation for livelihoods referred to us as the “justly famous RTB program”.

Graham Thiele
RTB Program Director