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#GCARD3: Together We Are Shaping the Future

Today, 5th April 2016,  Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) is formally opened at the Birchwood Hotel and O.R. Tambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, South Africa which will be continued for next 3 days.

The global event is hosting by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, in support of Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is expected to be an inclusive, participatory process and will be an opportunity to shape the future of global agricultural research.

History of GCARD

The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) has been created to promote effective, targeted investment and build partnership, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system so as to ensure that today’s agricultural research will meet the needs of the resource-poor end user.

As history, GCARD1 was held in March 2010 (France), resulted in the “GCARD Road Map”, a six-point plan for transforming agricultural research for development (ARD) around the world. In November 2012 (Uruguay) GCARD2 identified pathways to impact ARD, which led to 15 new commitments around partnership, capacity development and foresight. The GCARD3, which theme is “no one left behind: agri-food innovation and research for a sustainable world” kicks off a two-year global consultation process designed to help shape the strategy and future direction of international agriculture research and innovation.

National and Regional Consultations

During the year of 2015/2016, before to GCARD3, there were 20 national consultations meeting were coordinated by CGIAR centers with national partners. In Nepal, it was organized on 11th January, which objective was to share current CGIAR research activities to receive better insights of different research priorities of the stakeholders so as to run smoothly and have better impact on the research activities in Nepal. Similarly, GFAR and regional partners has organized 5 regional consultations meeting around the world.

Why GCARD3?

Sessions at the GCARD3 will reflect upon the outcomes of the national and regional dialogues with a view to bridging the gaps between the generation of new ideas and their impact in development and it will bring together stakeholders to confirm commitments to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and to discuss emerging applications in agri-food research and innovation.

The outcome will be a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve sustainable agricultural development in which “no one is left behind”. The Program is based on five key themes

  1. Scaling up: from research to impact;
  2. Demonstrating results and attracting investment;
  3. Keeping science relevant and future-focused;
  4. Sustaining the business of farming, and
  5. Ensuring better rural futures

Mainstreaming of Youth

GCARD3 is also becoming a major a space for youth, out of 512 GCARD3 participants, 140 are youth (that is more than 25%). There’s youth representation in all core teams (panels, speakers) of virtually every theme and session to discussion on how youth-led initiatives and their supporters can join forces better and work collectively towards youth-in-agriculture empowerment for agricultural development.

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Participants, Social Media Boot Camp (Photo: GCARD3-SMB)

i) Social Media Boot Camp

To support GCARD3, a 3 days long social media boot camp was organized to train a group of 75 social reporters from young social reporters, finalists of the Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP) and staffs from GFAR partner organizations, who have never worked together before so they can report live from the event. This is to ensure that they will be well equipped with the tools and skills to integrate thousands of people who cannot be at the conference into the onsite discussions.

ii) Global Youth Delegates

Among 96 applications, there are 14 young enthusiasts as GCARD3 Youth delegates to be the voice of the youth: to be part of the discussions online and onsite, to solicit their peers to contribute with their own input, and to particularly express those youth specific aspirations, challenges, needs and opportunities they see for the youth to be active agents of change for agricultural developments at all levels.

iii) Finalists of Youth Agri-preneurs Project (YAP)

About 2 months ago, YAP was announced as a pilot project targeting young agricultural entrepreneurs or agri-preneurs by GFAR, CGIAR and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD). Within three weeks, the organizer received 428 YAP proposals from youth around the globe. Through public voting and jury selection, later 6 proposals were announced as the finalists for the YAP. Each finalist will get a US$5,000 seed fund to facilitate the startup of their project, spread over the period of one year, and will be mentored by YPARD.

This blogpost is written by  Dinesh Panday, Communication officer at YPARD Asia and Pacific Coordination Unit.