A major step in the fight against hunger as CGIAR Consortium attains International Organization Status

PARIS, FRANCE (2 March 2012) – The CGIAR Consortium, representing the world’s largest global agriculture research partnership aimed at reducing rural poverty and hunger was officially granted International Organization status today.

The Agreement conferring the status was signed today by Ms. Anne Dorte Riggelsen, Ambassador of Denmark to France on behalf of her government. France and Hungary had already signed the agreement in September 2011. Today’s signature ratifies the agreement.

“Achieving International Organization status and recognition is a major step towards enabling the reformed CGIAR to deliver research resulting in real impact; improved food security, health and nutrition alongside sustainable management of natural resources,” said Mr. Carlos Perez del Castillo, CGIAR Consortium Board Chair, who was present at the event. “This status will allow the consortium to operate as an independent organization, speak with one voice at an international level, establish better partnerships and raise awareness of its work at a time when agricultural research is key to the survival of a billion people,” he added.

Over the past four decades, CGIAR has proven that investing in agricultural research has a cost-effective impact on the fight against hunger and malnutrition. In the late eighties, CGIAR’s research on how to biologically control the cassava mealy bug, a pest which was destroying harvests in sub-Saharan Africa, saved at least 20 million lives for a total cost of only US$20 million. In other words, for every dollar invested, a life was saved. Since 2010, the CGIAR has been undergoing a major reform to ensure that their research delivers clear impacts like this. With the Consortium becoming an International Organization from today, this not only endorses the strategic reform, but by facilitating fundraising and co-ordination it will catalyze the impact-oriented research essential to the lives of millions of smallholder farmers.

“I am grateful for the support shown by the signatories to the Agreement for making this possible,” said Mr. Pérez del Castillo. Denmark has been working in partnership with CGIAR for 40 years and has donated more than US$204 million in essential contributions to the organization. This relationship was further strengthened in 2009 when Denmark began hosting in Copenhagen, the country’s capital, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), a 10-year program that offers developing country farmers new options for adapting to and mitigating emerging impacts of climate change.