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The Agricultural Research for Development Dimension of the European Research Area

Final Report Summary - ERA-ARD II (The Agricultural Research for Development Dimension of the European Research Area)

Executive Summary:
Since 2005, the ERA-ARD network has aimed to coordinate and optimise funding of Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) by European countries to better support the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), and to maintain and develop European scientific capacities and innovation systems in the field of ARD. ERA-ARD has generated an overview of the EU landscape in ARD, built a network for Southern advice, tested mechanisms for transnational programming and developed mechanisms for articulating ARD demand to improve Europe’s impact for achieving the MDGs.

ERA-ARD strongly recommends improving the transparency in the diversity of the European offer, by constructing a European ARD “portal of portals” that facilitates access to European ARD information, expertise, collaboration and funding as well as interaction and networking . The network has generated mutual understanding and focus on priority themes, fed by various consultation processes both in Europe and in Africa. This included the ARD-Alliance concept, the aim of which is to build on the diversity of competencies, capacities and experiences of European and Southern partners. It seeks forming ARD-Alliances around shared principles, agreed priority thematic areas and joint activities. Representatives from developing and emerging economies, nominated by their respective regional fora under the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), were involved through the Southern and Emerging economies Advisory Group (SEAG). The SEAG provided feedback to the decision-making processes of ERA-ARD, facilitated a demand-oriented approach and can be considered a fundament for more permanent consultation mechanisms for European ARD.

Bringing the envisaged ERA-ARD ambitions into practice has been challenging. At the national level, there is often limited coordination and even communication between the various ministries involved in ARD funding and programming (e.g. agriculture, foreign affairs, science and education). Member States discuss contributions to global research programmes on ARD through the European Initiative on ARD (EIARD), but so far, this group has not yet contributed to a common approach to non-CGIAR programmes that are funded by individual Member States. ERA-ARD has tried and tested various joint efforts towards a harmonised European ARD agenda and coordinated funding. The transnational calls enhanced the understanding of differences and similarities of the various ARD funding mechanisms in Europe, and the identification of complementarities for strengthened collaboration. The ERA-ARD network linked ARD investors with a view to improve the contribution of the European efforts towards achieving the MDGs. ERA-ARD developed a toolbox to evaluate the expected impact of proposals on various MDGs.

The analysis of recent changes in the political landscape of agricultural research, in Europe and globally, showed that ARD and research relevant to European agriculture are converging and that a new architecture for the global agricultural research effort is slowly emerging to contribute to Global Challenges. It is recommended that more bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approaches are used and that, with the support of the European Commission, Member States pursue the complementarity of their investments in ARD. The newly formed Strategic Working Group under the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) and EIARD is expected to consider these ERA-ARD project findings in their approach to better address the global dimensions of agriculture.

Project Context and Objectives:
Project context

The world today faces one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: how to feed 9 billion people in 2050, in the face of climate change, economic and financial crises and the growing competition for the use of natural resources. Most people who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods are rural poor and most of the world’s poor depend on agriculture for their living. Achieving the MDG 1, i.e. halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, requires finding ways to increase the incomes of these people. Exceptional progress in some developing countries is being made, however many countries are falling short of the MDGs.

There is agreement that an integrated response and urgent transition of the world economy towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource efficient path is required and a conceptual shift at all levels to consider agriculture as an important part of the solution: agriculture and food security should be at the heart of sustainable development and poverty eradication efforts, as well as those related to climate-smart growth .

In 2010, the first Global Conference on ARD (GCARD) identified the changes required in research and innovation systems so that resource-poor farmers and consumers can benefit from environmentally sustainable productivity growth and improvement in systems that can increase their food security and incomes to tackle the root causes of poverty, particularly in rural areas . GCARD-2010 participants adopted the “Road Map”, recognizing that all stakeholders must play their own respective roles and commit themselves to action in improving ARD. Agriculture is a major contributor to the goal of eradicating hunger and poverty while ensuring environmental sustainability. The GCARD Roadmap proposes a six-point plan for transforming ARD around the world, requiring actions from all those involved in the generation, access and use of agricultural knowledge:
• The need for collective focus on key priorities that respect geographical variations, as determined and shaped by science and society
• The need for effective partnership between research and those it serves
• Increased investments to meet the huge challenges ahead and ensure they required development returns from ARD
• Greater capacities to generate, share and make use of agricultural knowledge for development change among all actors
• Effective linkages that embed research in the wider development context and actions enabling developmental change
• Better demonstration and awareness of the development impact and returns from agricultural innovation
GCARD is a process and a meeting will be held every 2-3 years, aiming to facilitate a transition in the ARD system globally, through high-level multi-stakeholder discussions. GCARD-2012 set out to move the process forward from WHAT transformation of ARD is required, to HOW to implement the GCARD Roadmap in practice.

A recent OECD study confirmed that agricultural growth (GDP/worker) is an especially potent force for poverty alleviation, much more so than growth in non-agricultural sectors. In their twenty-five study countries, government budgets on agriculture averaged only around 5-6% rather than the 10% advocated by CAADP . Nevertheless, many countries did increase expenditures on agriculture, albeit from relatively low initial levels. A near universal phenomenon of economic development is that when economies grow, incomes earned by those who farm for living rise faster than incomes earned from working in other sectors.

The Future of Food and Farming Foresight stated that the global food system faces formidable challenges today that will increase markedly over the next 40 years. Much can be achieved immediately with current technologies and knowledge, but coping with future challenges will require more radical changes to the food system and investment in research to provide new solutions to novel problems. A major conclusion is the crucial importance of interconnected policy making: policy in sectors outside the food system need to be developed in much closer conjunction with that of food: energy, water, land/sea use, ecosystem services and biodiversity. Five future challenges will need addressing:
• Balancing future demand and supply sustainably
• Addressing the threat of future volatility in the food system
• Ending hunger
• Meeting the challenges of a low emissions world
• Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding the world

The G20, an extension of G8 that gathers the most industrialised countries, accounts for about 80% of the world’s GDP. In 2011 the French presidency of the G20, realising the importance of ARD, organised a meeting on ARD in Montpellier. The Montpellier meeting was to increase cooperation and collaboration of G20 agricultural systems for development, to develop new stakeholder partnerships with mechanisms for exchange of knowledge, to improve capacity building, and to move to a G20 vision for GCARD-2012. The first meeting of G20 Chief Agricultural Scientists took place in Mexico, 2012 and the 2013 edition took place in Russia. The objectives of these meetings were:
• to inform stakeholders of existing global resources, programs and collaborative efforts for agricultural research that can help address food security challenges
• to establish initial global agricultural R&D priorities and goals needed to reach the required productivity increase to meet the projected food demand in 2050, while providing for sustainability of agricultural systems and scarce natural resources
• to identify avenues to align resources and existing initiatives toward these priorities
• to report on investments in agricultural R&D to establish baselines and track progress toward collective commitments and priorities
• to facilitate new partnerships on collaborative research in agriculture, food security and nutrition, including through the development of Global Research Collaboration Platforms (GRCPs)

Europe provides the majority of public donor ARD funding worldwide, through bilateral and multilateral channels. European funding for ARD programmes channelled through institutions such as the CGIAR, FARA , ASARECA , and the various national agricultural systems of developing countries, and some civil society organisations, etc., is estimated at around €350M per year . The European public investment in ARD through funds channelled through European research institutions is estimated at a similar amount. The impact of the latter funding, which includes a vast number of national and bilateral initiatives, has traditionally been less visible and the relation with the CGIAR funding is either absent or unknown. For European countries to reduce this fragmentation, they should aim at improved coordination, increased numbers of transnational partnerships, increased amounts of joint funding and increased numbers of alliances with development partners.

Development outcomes will only be reached if the entire agricultural system is strengthened, but agricultural research is an important entry point to address the challenges of food security and reduction of poverty, particularly in the longer term. Cooperation between funders of research should promote the efficiency and impact of research. In this respect, ERA-ARD has developed as a network community aiming at better cooperation between European and developing countries and has existed since 2005, to improve the impact of agricultural research for the poor. Research and capacity strengthening are being developed within the European Research Area (ERA) which is in turn part of a global network, working in line with the GCARD Roadmap: the key priorities are now being set by the developing countries; there is a focus on (sustainable) partnerships between stakeholders; research programmes are aimed at structural changes; capacity strengthening is included, and research is not an isolated activity, but integrated in the wider change process.


Project objectives

The ERA-ARD consortium partners have confirmed messages expressed at various global conferences such as GCARD-2012; the second conference on Climate Smart Agriculture in Hanoi (2012); the Foresight study on food and farming and the scientific conference on Climate Smart Agriculture in Wageningen (2011); prioritising both the sustainable intensification of production and the resilience of agricultural systems.

ERA-ARD considers integrated approaches important: multidisciplinary or even trans-disciplinary collaboration between different stakeholder groups, public, private and non-governmental, should have greater impact than sector research alone. Similarly, the need to address various levels of scale is acknowledged: individual household, local community, sub-regional and regional levels, integrating effects on resources such as water and biodiversity across all levels.

In line with international recommendations, the consortium strove for two strategic objectives:
• Improving the European contribution to International Agricultural Research (IAR) by promoting joint activities and trans-national programs in the field of ARD
• Increasing the impact of European contributions in achieving the MDGs and to sustainable growth in the poorest countries in the world

The second phase of ERA-ARD had six specific focal areas, organised in work packages, as follows:
1. To deepen the mutual knowledge of national ARD and European Commission programmes and their governance through building on the first phase of ERA-ARD
2. To make European agricultural research and education for development programmes more responsive to the Southern partners needs
3. To expand joint activities in the fields of “Capacity Strengthening”, taking into account the impacts of climate change and their contribution to global food security
4. To strengthen the cooperation with other AR-related coordination mechanisms for promoting European “Joint Programming” in agricultural research
5. To launch, implement, and monitor new transnational calls
6. To communicate and disseminate on the European ARD contribution to MDGs

These were reflected in strategic ERA-ARD project activities, which were implemented with the view that the ERA-ARD network would ultimately evolve into transnational partnerships between European and developing countries.

Project Results:
This ERA-Net project was primarily designed as a coordination and support action, rather than to deliver Science & Technology results/foregrounds. Nonetheless, the transnational projects that had been launched under phase I of ERA-ARD were brought together and as a result a peer-review paper was delivered by the transnational project scientists.

As a result of a transnational project information exchange workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya (November, 2012), a peer-reviewed paper on “Integrating mitigation and adaptation into development: the case of Jatropha curcas in sub-Saharan Africa” was produced by scientists from three tropical biofuel projects under the ERA-ARD-I call. They gathered to synthesize the results of 3 years North–South and South–South collaborative research on the sustainability of Jatropha curcas L. (Jatropha) biofuel systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The central research questions were if, and how Jatropha contributes to increasing livelihood resilience in the South while providing significant greenhouse gas savings. The results of this interdisciplinary effort conducted in rural areas of Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, and Tanzania, have increased knowledge about Jatropha in six key areas: productivity; climate change mitigation; energy security; impacts on food security; economic viability; and resilience of the social-ecological system as a whole. In terms of productivity, average seed yields continue to be low and highly variable in time and space. In terms of climate change mitigation, Jatropha plantations offer limited carbon sequestration opportunities due to low biomass production given pruning requirements and short rotation length. From an energy security perspective, local use is preferable over production for international trade as a fossil fuel substitute. As to impacts on food security, the effect of Jatropha is context specific, but, both in areas with land or labour shortage, situations were observed where Jatropha increased the risk of food insecurity. Model calculations have predicted economic viability of Jatropha systems at oil prices of US$70 per barrel and above, but even with current prices well above this threshold, no viable projects depending solely on Jatropha are known. The paper concludes that Jatropha has potential to contribute to sustainable rural development in Africa, but, at present, it is not sufficiently productive and profitable to play that role.

Similarly, on-going transnational ERA-ARD projects may be expected to contribute S&T results/foreground. These projects will be encouraged to seek mutual opportunities to produce equally interesting and valuable scientific papers. To facilitate interactions between transnational projects, a kick-off workshop for projects under the ERA-ARD-II call was organised by ERA-ARD in early 2013. In addition, plans have been made for a final meeting: the project on Improving Rural Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa (ImRULI-SSA), coordinated by Agroscope Switzerland, will organise a final workshop towards the end of 2015 for all the 6 ERA-ARD projects. This should provide a platform for joint discussion of project results with a diverse group of stakeholders, of impact pathways and about how the research results can be used in policy and practice.

Potential Impact:
Potential impact

Work Package 1 deepened the mutual knowledge of national ARD and European Commission programmes and their governance:

• Mapping of project and funding programmes in Europe and the development of the country profiles led to an agreed format for capturing the ARD landscape in partner countries. Stakeholders and coordination mechanisms are included which improved visibility of the European contribution to ARD.

• The concept for the development of a comprehensive European portal that reflects the principles of the GCARD process has triggered a constructive discussion with European and Southern partners. The concept of the portal comprises an overview of the ARD activities of European countries, brings together competences and expertise related to priority thematic areas and provides practical information for improved collaboration and exchange. It is foreseen that the portal could integrate efforts of parallel ARD initiatives such as the European Forum for ARD (EFARD) and EIARD. Such an integrated European ARD portal will be an excellent repository for the current ERA-ARD project website content.

Work Package 2 focused on strategic activities for joint programming to make European agricultural research and education for development programmes more responsive to the Southern partners needs:

• The analysis of the national coordination mechanisms of European countries facilitated mutual understanding. The analysis became a basis for discussion within countries and will have an impact on the improvement of coordination within and between countries of different programmes and on the monitoring of developments.

• Concepts and instruments were developed in exchange with the main European IAR initiatives, EIARD, EFARD, AgriNatura , SCAR, CAAST-Net , EPSO and PAEPARD . ERA-ARD developed the ARD-Alliance concept, a process management instrument that allows policy makers, investors, researchers, and stakeholders to form and maintain regional ARD-alliances, with the objective to pool expertise and resources more effectively. The Alliance concept and the terms of references for the SEAG are unique instruments at programme level for translating the political ambitions of the GCARD Roadmap into action. The assimilation of these mechanisms by the main ARD actors in Europe fosters sustainability and enhances coordination at European level. Consultations improved the articulation of demand as well as shared ownership and mutual trust.

• A tool-box for assessing impact towards the MDGs was elaborated on the basis of a comprehensive review and analysis of impact studies at global level. It was tested for assessing the contribution of the ERA-ARD call for transnational research projects. It has a potentially important impact on the development of programmes, the formulation of calls and their evaluation.

Work Package 3 identified issues and bottlenecks in setting up joint research to maximize impact on capacity development, in particular in relation to climate change and their contribution to global food security:

• The collection of ARD capacity building needs in the South at both scientific / technical and research management levels, and its comparison to the European offer, allowed for exchanging views with external partners and within the ERA-ARD consortium. Establishing the main trends allowed for the production of overview documents, including a Briefing Paper , which provide recommendations and best practices to policy makers, programme owners and other stakeholders involved in ARD.

• Analysing capacity building aspects of the ERA-ARD selected transnational projects showed that future joint calls could have a greater impact on capacity development, provided that more detailed guidelines are included concerning capacity building and that, in the evaluation of proposals, greater importance is given to criteria that are relevant to capacity building.

Work Package 4 strengthened the cooperation with other agricultural research related coordination mechanisms:

• To promote co-ownership of joint activities, the following steps were developed:
1. Different stakeholders (i.e. Alliance members) jointly identify the thematic area and rank the priority of sub-themes through a formal convocation of a regional ARD-Alliance meeting. Such meetings pave the way for development of an operational strategy and a framework for joint ARD activities;
2. Alliance members negotiate complementary investments into research, based on needs assessments and mapping of on-going programmes and existing thematic networks;
3. Alliance members ensure support through integration of:
a. Programmes that fund complementary research and capacity development activities within the thematic area;
b. Programmes that support accompanying measures to add value to on-going projects that join the Alliance.
4. Alliance members invest in sustainability of the ARD-Alliance.
The Alliance concept supports continued dialogue among all stakeholders - scientists, extension and development specialists, farmers and civil society, to obtain better results and increased impact on rural livelihoods. Going forward, the German Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection intends to create synergies with the ARD-Alliance concept when organizing planning workshops for improved programming of investments into ARD within the framework of its respective programme. In general, these workshops could be organized with the participation from other European countries, this could be a step towards institutionalisation of the Alliance approach.

• For all joint events, sustainability was named as a key factor to ensure that agricultural research has the desired impact on the development objectives of a country. An example is the long-term goal for Sub Saharan African agriculture to develop subsistence farming systems towards agri-businesses. Taking into account the need for change from a narrow technology-oriented approach into a holistic one that also considers ecological and socio-economic aspects, more impact can be expected.

Work Package 5 delivered new transnational calls:

• Two transnational calls have been managed through ERA-ARD. While the research under the second call is on-going, some conclusions regarding the outcomes and potential impact of the first call can be made.
1. The incentive of the call favoured the establishment of new research partnerships, bringing several European and Southern partners together, and thus promoting cross fertilisation and mutual capacity strengthening.
2. Based on the call topics and procedures, innovative interdisciplinary research was induced, which in turn called for integrated approaches in natural sciences and socio-economics.
3. Joint efforts to prepare research results for socialisation have led to policy messages which supply key information on the opportunities and pitfalls of Jatropha plant to policy makers and to investors in biofuel production. A joint workshop in Nairobi, organised jointly by three ERA-ARD-financed research consortia working on biofuel, have contributed to the consolidation of the policy messages and the dissemination of the generated knowledge.

• The experience of the joint calls has generated valuable lessons learnt for consortium partners, notably regarding the identification process of research topics, funding models and the selection stages. The main bottleneck of the call process was the difficulty in the pooling of resources from heterogeneous European institutions bound by their respective national systems. The available funding for the transnational call remained below expectations. This in itself has encouraged the debate on new ways of contributing to already existing international research initiatives in developing countries. As reported in the Briefing Paper , the virtual common pot model has, in the context of ERA-ARD, shortcomings that affected selection of proposals and utilization of funds. It was agreed that, in case of future transnational ARD calls, the real common pot model should be considered as an alternative. In addition, to keep transaction costs at an acceptable level, future transnational ARD calls should only be considered if substantially more funds can be mobilized, i.e. €5m or more. In case smaller amounts of funding are mobilized for transnational ARD activities, it might be considered to invest this in the establishment and management of research networks that add value to already funded projects or use it for catalytic projects as seed funding to initiate larger programmes. The management of the call process has been successful and could be replicated in future joint calls.

Work Package 6 contributed to communicating and disseminating on the European ARD contribution to MDGs:

• The potential impact of linking AR and ARD, as suggested by participants of the final conference, can be significant. By complementing programmes on, for example, climate change and food security, the European Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (JPI-FACCE) now seeks synergy with the international CCAFS programme on similar topics. This will enhance the impact of the research in at least two ways: (1) by pooling research funds, thus making a more efficient use of public budgets, and (2) by exchanging views of different research groups, hence aiming at scientific progress.

• Next steps should be found in combining complementary strengths of various partners in Europe, either in terms of expertise or geographic focus. This will make the European impact stronger, and is a step forward in reducing fragmentation of the European international research landscape. The wider socio-economic impact of this strengthened scientific community should enhance Europe's attractiveness for students, researchers and the use of research as a catalyst for economic development in developing countries as well as in Europe.

• The ERA-ARD Briefing Papers contain lessons learnt on joint approaches and methodologies. These do's and don’ts are practical for new Alliances and will avoid duplication of efforts. These Briefing Papers are open access and are expected to be used widely. Consortium partners are active in many networks and personal connections will guarantee dissemination of the legacy of ERA-ARD.


Main dissemination activities and exploitation of results

1. Deepening the mutual knowledge of national ARD and European Commission programmes and their governance through building on ERA-ARD-I

Questionnaires to map national ARD landscapes were sent out to ERA-ARD-II consortium partners. In order to assure coherence with other relevant European initiatives the mapping exercise was conducted in collaboration with European Initiative for ARD (EIARD). Summaries of the results (D1.1) are available on the ERA-ARD website: http://www.era-ard.org/country-profiles/.

The ERA-ARD website (www.era-ard.org) was re-developed to allow for updating of content by different consortium partners (D1.2). It was kept up-to-date with project progress, news and events as well as project outputs such as Briefing Papers and all documentation related to ERA-ARD transnational projects, project workshops and the final international conference. The website also catered for internal communication within the consortium, through a password-protected intranet area, which contains project documentation, deliverables, consortium partner contact details, etc. It is envisaged that the proposed integrated European portal will incorporate the most valuable content of the ERA-ARD website.

It has always been a challenge to provide an overview of the diversity in the European offer and to guide partners towards collaboration in ARD. Facing this challenge, a proposal for a European ARD portal was produced (D1.3) as well as a Briefing Paper . The proposal includes suggestions for the facilitation of access to European ARD information, expertise and collaboration partners as well as interaction and networking. These suggestions were formulated on the basis of an in-depth analysis of the needs for information and knowledge management solutions in ARD, the evaluation of the existing offer of ARD portals and consultations with Southern partners. It is proposed that this Portal of Portals will systematically build on the achievements of its partners in Europe and promote their activities.

2. Making European agricultural research and education for development programmes more responsive to the Southern partners needs

During the delivery of the action plan for Southern consultation (D2.1) the ARD Alliance concept was developed – see Briefing Paper : The Alliance concept requires enhancing the capacities of all actors of the national and international Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) – not only the universities and research institutes and their staff – to play their part in the innovation process. They need new skills in order to “level the playing field” and to jointly plan and manage multi-actor innovation processes. Each of these actors also needs to develop the capacity to organize and effectively represent their own constituency. The expectation is that the approach will support a continued dialogue among scientists, extension specialists, stakeholders and users, to generate impact on the ground.

The regional workshops that ERA-ARD organised (see Work Package 4) were analysed (D2.2). Resulting recommendations may be used for new joint research and capacity strengthening projects as well as accompanying measures for on-going projects. It became clear that co-construction, co-funding and co-ownership for effective long-term partnerships are key factors to success. However, developing these partnerships takes time. In addition, capacity strengthening is an essential component of most activities. Increasing complementarity and research collaboration between projects with mutual interests, such as PAEPARD and ERAfrica , is both desirable and beneficial. There are some initiatives which are being developed e.g. IntensAfrica , but these need to increase in number and they must improve their learning from each other. The representatives from the ARD fora under GFAR can play a key advocacy role in international initiatives such as GCARD and others to promote sustainable partnerships between Europe and other continents.

Templates to report on national coordination of ARD (D2.3) were circulated to all project partners during the second reporting period. It was found that most of the ERA-ARD countries do not have a coordination system or platform for ARD. In addition, there is no organized consultation with Southern partners. It was concluded that most of the ARD funding is at present provided via national research institutes, independent from CGIAR funding. Although ERA-ARD contributions to the MDGs appeared improved at the policy level, they were still weak at the programme level. Considering this, the principles, concepts, and methodologies were defined to ensure a better contribution of European funded ARD to the MDGs. From this analysis, the idea of a tool box emerged for use ex ante as a checklist for programming and ex post for evaluation. In consultation with SEAG, a spider-web was developed including potential impact on MDGs 1 and 7 and the GFAR Strategic goals. This became the so-called MDG tool-box, see Briefing Paper .

Coordination of support for global food security within Europe will continue to be limited, unless member states confirm the urgency of making progress by intensified cooperation. ERA-ARD considered how attempts to improve coordination could become more successful, bringing the envisaged ambitions to practice. Related strategic ERA-ARD discussions and participation in and networking with other ARD relevant platforms (D2.4 and D2.5) contributed to several strategic working papers (D2.6 and D2.7) Briefing Paper and recommended Terms of References for a Joint EIARD SCAR Strategic Working Group (D2.8).

For the monitoring and evaluation of actions to improve joint programming, to generate a shared vision and agree on its implementation, a theory of change diagram was drafted (D2.9) and Briefing Paper produced . A diagram enables easier perception and understanding of both objectives and assumptions that support the theory. Because monitoring provides a transparent and credible frame for assessing the rate of progress, it encourages drawing lessons to promote further improvement or to re-shape and fine-tune planned activities. Based on this theory of change, an assessment was made of WP2 outputs, outcomes and impact (D2.10). Overall the project has contributed to make European joint programming on ARD more demand-based and strategically oriented towards MDGs. It promoted some changes in concepts, approaches and visions for ARD at the European level, produced new tools, and experimented innovative approaches. The long-term effects of this work will be visible only during the years to come.

3. Expanding joint activities in the fields of “Capacity Strengthening”, taking into account the impacts of climate change and their contribution to global food security

A stakeholder consultation was made in order to catalogue Southern demand on capacity strengthening for ARD. This work has been conducted in three regions: Africa, Latin America and Caucasus. It was conducted through round tables in Africa guided by a questionnaire and through sending the questionnaire to stakeholders in the two other regions. Around 500 individuals contributed to this process. The collected information was divided between scientific and technical aspects versus research management aspects in order to compare these needs to the corresponding European offer of ARD capacity development. This was discussed during a workshop in Marseille involving ERA-ARD partners as well as external institutions. As a result, D3.1 and D3.3 address how the European capacity development offer in ARD is responding to Southern demands for scientific and technical aspects and for research management respectively. The Briefing Paper “ARD Capacity development: matching demand with offer” was prepared for wide dissemination of this process and findings .

Following above, the six approved ERA-ARD transnational project proposals were analysed in terms of capacity development trends, relating it to the conclusions and recommendations of D3.1 and D3.3. The basis was laid for further elaboration of criteria on capacity development in future transnational calls. D3.2 and D3.4 are therefore about the progress in ARD capacity development through ERA-ARD on agricultural research and research management respectively.

D3.5 documents the monitoring procedures, evaluation and learning frameworks of capacity strengthening activities in ARD towards sustainability of the coordination mechanism. To evaluate an intervention aimed at capacity development in ARD is a challenging issue, heavily dependent on the interest, buy-in and commitment of senior management (research centres, organisations, associations, education institutions) and whose utility is subject to many factors. Donors and funders must be aware that this kind of evaluation differs from classical result-based management approaches focusing on short-term results. Capacity enhancement is not an activity or a linear process. Changes always occur, but it is difficult to attribute them directly to the intervention.

Institutions involved with ARD and supporting capacity development should, therefore, concentrate on the improved capacity of the target segment of the National Agricultural Research Stations (NARS), assessing their ability to perform projects (research, innovation, extension, adoption) and the impact on the beneficiaries; the end-users of the research and innovation efforts, keeping in mind that improved capacity should produce wider results by impacting on other agricultural projects, on future research/innovation activities, on well-being of individuals and of civil society. Further theoretical studies, practical experimentation and analysis are deemed necessary to enrich the debate, in terms of its academic dimension, thus enabling collective learning. There is still need of new inputs to improve the overall quality, consistency and scope of evaluation targeting capacity development in agricultural research, from its design to implementation.


4. Strengthening the cooperation with other AR-related coordination mechanisms for promoting a European “Joint Programming” in agricultural research

The recent developments in ARD mark a paradigm shift from the concept of technology generation and transfer to an innovation systems approach. The new paradigm positions ARD in the agricultural and rural innovation system and acknowledges the role of the community of practice as central and as an active partner in the process of knowledge generation, application and exchange (D4.1).

To ensure that the ultimate beneficiaries are smallholder farmers, whilst the direct beneficiaries are the NARS, the ARD-Alliance approach linked with Southern stakeholders. An Alliance meeting was first piloted in East Africa (Uganda), in collaboration with FARA and ASARECA (October 11-13, 2011), which invited different stakeholders to discuss two major issues: i) Capacity development and training programmes for improved alignment of research; and ii) Sustainable agricultural intensification through increased productivity of major food crops.

In May 2012, a sub-regional workshop was held in Turkey for the Central Asia and Caucasus region Association of Agricultural Institutions (CACAARI), organised by the FAO-Turkey Partnership Project “Assessing and Strengthening of Agricultural Innovation Systems in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan”. In a special session, the ERA-ARD II project was introduced to CACAARI experts (Central Asia and Caucasus region Association of Agricultural Institutions), who were then invited to share information about their respective national ARD systems and priority topics in the region. The interest expressed by CACAARI in future collaboration with the ARD-Alliance network was consolidated by the CACAARI membership of the SEAG.

Another Alliance workshop was organized with FARA and CORAF in March 2013 in West Africa (Burkina Faso), under the topic of sustainable water management for agricultural production. Beyond the technical focus, discussions concentrated on ways to maintain the Alliance concept beyond the life-time of the ERA-ARD project. The most important results have been presented in a Briefing Paper , which is also posted on the ERA-ARD homepage, while the different presentations are available on the ERails system provided by FARA .

Each of the workshops attracted over 50 participants of mixed backgrounds (research, education, development, civil society and farming communities), of which about 2/3 came from the sub-region.


5. Launching, implementing, and monitoring new transnational calls

ERA-ARD (phase I and II) coordinated funding of two transnational research calls and provided a Call Secretariat. In phase I a call was launched on “Bioenergy – Risks and opportunities for the rural poor in developing countries” and phase II a transnational call was launched on “Improved livelihoods of smallholders and rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) through sustainable and climate-smart intensification of agricultural systems”.

The topics of the calls responded to actual policy needs, the interests articulated by Southern stakeholders, and to the needs of donors providing funding for the calls (D5.1). To fund transnational projects within ERA-ARD, national grant funding was made available through national funding organisations providing national contributions (usually referred to as a virtual common pot, D5.2) in line with national funding regulations. For the first ERA-ARD call, 11 funders pledged €2.4 m and for the second call, 6 funders pledged €1.5m.

For both calls, a Transnational Call Steering Committee (TCSC) was established, which became the principal decision-making body of the call process. The Call Secretariat assisted and supported the TCSC and national funding organisations. A 3-step evaluation procedure was adopted in both calls, entailing a Formality Check, a National Eligibility Check and a Scientific Peer-Review. The call procedures established were in general very satisfactory, and the second call could, to a great extent, benefit from the documents and procedures used in first call (D5.3).

To disseminate and exploit results of the collective work done, ERA-ARD transnational call process experiences, lessons learnt and recommendations were included in Briefing Paper . Phase I project reports were uploaded onto the ERA-ARD website and an ERA-ARD website news item was devoted to a peer-reviewed paper (D5.4).

Finally, following an evaluation workshop with phase I project consortia on Jatropha (which was the subject of several phase I transnational research projects), six policy papers were produced under the heading “Bioenergy in Africa: The Jatropha plant's risk and potential”.

6. Communicating and disseminating on the European ARD contribution to MDGs

A Communication Strategy for ERA-ARD-II was developed (D6.4). The objective was to widely circulate all information and knowledge generated by the ERA-ARD project (reports, proceedings of workshops, methodologies, etc) to all actors with a vested interest in ARD (D6.5).

Towards the end of the ERA-ARD-II project, a one-day international conference “European Agricultural Research towards greater impact on Global Challenges” was co-organised with EIARD and SCAR. All presentations and summary of discussions as well as conclusions are disseminated through the ERA-ARD website http://www.era-ard.org/international-conference/.

Going forward, the conference recommended to collectively focus on:


a. Shared vision:
o Linking AR and ARD. This will be taken up by a Joint Strategic Working Group under EIARD and SCAR
o Improved coordination between countries, which should lead to more synergy and a more efficient use of research funds
o Greater impact of European research on solving global issues

b. Better cooperation:
o National, regional and global multi-stakeholder partnerships should be built acknowledging that this takes time and effort, and should involve end users and SME’s as well.
o Improved alignment is required, building on existing strategies, global (GCARD) as well as regional (CAADP)
o Southern consultation needs to be increased and advice listened to

c. Improving efficiencies:
o Funding instruments should be flexible and catalyse existing initiatives, rather than generating new initiatives (programmes or partnerships)
o Europe should support intensification of research collaboration in sustainable intensification of food production (such as IntensAfrica)
o Lessons learned from ERA-ARD should be used



List of Websites:
The public project website www.era-ard.org was re-developed in conjunction with the WP1 task 1.2 during the first three months of the project, and launched as an open-access website in January 2011. The website is populated with project – relevant information, but also has sections on “news” and “events” where ARD relevant news, reports, policy briefs, meetings are disseminated by the coordination team on behalf of all project partners.

Screenshot of ERA-ARD homepage:



• Project logo:



The ERA-ARD Management Team (MT) was composed of Work Package leaders, as follows:

1. Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE) Germany: Marc Bernhard (marc.bernard@ble.de)
2. Centre de Cooperation International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD) France: Sylvie Lewicki-Dhainaut (sylvie.lewicki_dhainaut@cirad.fr)
3. Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) France: Francois Trémège (francois.tremege@ird.fr)
4. Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft (BMLFUW) Austria: Elfriede Fuhrmann (Elfriede.Fuhrmann@lebensministerium.at)
5. Departement fuer auswaertige Angelegenheiten (DEZA) Switzerland: Pierre-André Cordey (pierre-andre.cordey@deza.admin.ch)
6. Ministerie van Economische Zaken (EZ) Netherlands: Patricia Wagenmakers (p.s.wagenmakers@minez.nl)

The ERA-ARD Steering Committee (SC) was composed of one representative of each consortium member, as follows:

1. Ministerie van Economische Zaken (EZ) Netherlands: Annette Wijering (j.g.m.wijering@minez.nl)
2. Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft (BMLFUW) Austria: Mrs. Hedwig Wögerbauer (hedwig.woegerbauer@lebensministerium.at)
3. Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE) Germany: Joachim Hornung (Joachim.Hornung@bmelv.bund.de)
4. Centre de Cooperation International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD) France: Pierre Fabre (pierre.fabre@cirad.fr)
5. Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD) France: Jean-Marc Leblanc (jean-marc.leblanc@ird.fr)
6. Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y technologia Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA) Spain: Anabel de la Peña (anaisabel.delapena@inia.es)
7. Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MFAL/GDAR) Turkey: A. Ahmet Yucer (ayucer@tagem.gov.tr)
8. Turkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Arastirma Kuruma (TUBITAK) Turkey: (era_ard2@tubitak.gov.tr)
9. Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biologicos (INRB) Portugal: Benvindo Macas (benvindo.macas@inrb.pt)
10. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MMM) Finland: Marjukka Mähönen (Marjukka.Mahonen@mmm.fi)
11. Lietuvos Respublikos Zemes Ukio Ministerija (ZUM) Lithuania: Remigius Bagdonas (RemigijusB@zum.lt)
12. Federale overheidsdienst Buitenlandse Zaken, Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (DGD) Belgium: Frank De Wispelaere (Frank.Dewispelaere@diplobel.fed.be)
13. Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare (IAO) Italy: Giovanni Totino (totino@iao.florence.it)
14. Videkfejlesztesi Miniszterium (MRD) Hungary: agrargazdasagiszat@fvm.gov.hu
15. Departement fuer auswaertige Angelegenheiten (DEZA) Switzerland: Pierre-André Cordey (pierre-andre.cordey@deza.admin.ch)
16. Department for International Development (DFID) United Kingdom: Mirzet Sabirovic (M-Sabirovic@dfid.gov.uk)
17. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA-DTAS) Denmark: Hanne Carus (hancar@um.dk)


The Southern and Emerging economies Advisory Committee (SEAG) was composed of representatives of regional fora under GFAR, as follows:

1. A. Srinivasacharyulu (attaluri@apaari.org)
2. Alisher Tashmatov (a.tashmatov@cgiar.org)
3. Bhag Mal (b.mal@apaari.org)
4. Jamil Macedo (jamil.macedo@procitropicos.org.br)
5. Jonas Mugabe (jmugabe@fara-africa.org)
6. M. Ajlouni (m.ajlouni@aarinena.org)
7. Mahfouz Abu-Zanat (mahfouz@ju.edu.jo))
8. Mario Allegri (mario.allegri@gmail.com)
9. R.S. Paroda (raj.paroda@apaari.org)