Partner collaboration in Asia: building a new framework

8 April, 2015 by (comments)
CIAT Asia Partners' Forum.

Participants at CIAT Asia Partners’ Forum.

More than 50 regional partners joined CIAT Asia’s team in Hanoi for the Asia Partners’ Forum from April 7-8th. The two-day meeting involved intense discussions around the new five-year strategic framework launched in 2014, to expand the scope and identify new priorities for CIAT’s regional research and development program.

Researchers from Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Indonesia, China and Vietnam joined members of the CIAT Asia team, including CIAT’s Director General Dr. Ruben Echeverría, to discuss the region’s three new thematic areas of research and development and set priorities.

The Forum was opened by Dr. Trinh Khac Quang, current President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science (VAAS), who said that Vietnam commits continued support for CIAT and partners to deliver joint benefits in Asia.

An excellent example of such joint benefit delivery is the International Laboratory for Cassava Molecular Breeding at the Agricultural Genetics Institute (AGI) – where CIAT is based – he said. “This laboratory has been established through the partnership between VAAS-AGI, CIAT and the Government of Japan,” he said.

“We are proud to note that many cassava scientists around the world have come to this laboratory, to use it as a research and learning facility.” He added that the Partners’ Forum is a vital opportunity for partner feedback to ensure CIAT’s regional strategy remains relevant, effective and collaborative.

Dr. Trinh Khac Quang, current President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science (VAAS) opening the Forum.

Dr. Trinh Khac Quang, current President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science (VAAS) opening the Forum.

In Vietnam alone, tangible benefits from collaborative research include cassava crop improvement; enhanced supply and access of quality forages – especially as Vietnam is currently a net importer of animal feed – and support for climate-smart, resilient agriculture through adaptation and mitigation strategies.

CIAT’s Director General Dr. Ruben Echeverría and Director for Asia Dr. Dindo Campilan reiterated the need to address system-level challenges and whole farm systems research in collaboration with local partners.

Three new thematic research areas

The three thematic areas presented during the Forum are 1: Adding value to cassava for diverse markets and uses; 2: Enhancing forage integration and access for smallholder livestock production; 3: Integrated farming systems and resilient agricultural landscapes.

Under its new regional initiative, CIAT seeks to nurture its existing partnerships while exploring opportunities for wider collaboration.  The Partners’ Forum supported this goal by providing a region-wide platform for dialogue and planning with partners, supporters and other stakeholders.

CIAT's team was joined by more than 50 partners from the region.

CIAT’s team was joined by more than 50 partners from the region.

Objectives of the meeting were to share and discuss the regional strategic framework with partners including implementing organizations, funders and stakeholders; to identify and prioritize areas for collaboration with participating institutions and countries, and to recommend immediate actions in 2015 towards implementing the regional collaborative program.

Discussions focused, among other things, on priority areas for research in each thematic area by partner and country. The target outputs, which will be shared in the coming weeks with all participants, and further refined and validated within the CIAT team and among partners.

No one-size-fits-all solutions

Partners discussed CIAT's regional strategy in Asia.

Partners discussed CIAT’s regional strategy in Asia.

Participants included a wide variety of regional partners including donors and development agencies; CIAT staff and representatives of key intermediate research users including policy-making bodies, development organizations and the private-sector.

Wrapping up discussions, CIAT Board of Trustees member Dr. Agnes Rola, said that the current framework discussed over the last two days does not start from scratch but builds upon important research in the region.

“There are no one-size-fits all solutions,” she said, adding that creating synergies and priorities with national centres to ensure adoption of research outputs at local level will remain a key priority for future agenda-setting. She thanked all partners and CIAT team members for their organization and active participation during the Forum discussions.

During the two-day Forum, Dr. Ruben Echeverría and Dr. Dindo Campilan thanked key partners Dr. Le Huy Ham, Director General of the Agricultural Genetics Institute for being an excellent host to CIAT staff, and Dr. Nguyen Van Bo, CIAT Emeritus for valuable support, and took the opportunity to visit key collaborative partners in Vietnam.

CIAT Board of Trustees Member Agnes Rola closing the Forum.

CIAT Board of Trustees Member Agnes Rola closing the Forum.

Partners included the Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Nguyen Quan; the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Dr. Cao Duc Phat; Vice-Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, Dr. Tran Xuan Viet, the Embassy of Colombia and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (KOICA) and CIRAD.

Dr. Ruben Echeverría with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Dr. Cao Duc Phat.

Dr. Ruben Echeverría with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Dr. Cao Duc Phat.

Download Thematic brief Theme 1

Download Thematic brief Theme 2

Download Thematic brief Theme 3

Photos of the Partner’s Forum and bilateral meetings are available here.

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Filed Under: Inside Asia, Inside CIAT