GFAR makes agri-food research and innovation systems more effective, responsive and equitable, towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals


Partners in GFAR, at national, regional and international levels, advocate for, and catalyse Collective Actions that strengthen and transform agri-food research and innovation systems

What is GFAR?

  • A collective movement shaping a new future for agriculture and food
  • A catalyst of networked actions in agri-food research and innovation 
  • 600+ partners working together across 13 sectors

Inclusive Innovation CycleHow does GFAR work?

  • GFAR brings together partners from all sectors to tackle development challenges at all levels
  • GFAR puts smallholder farmers at the centre of agricultural innovation, shaping and delivering the opportunities and futures they desire
  • The Partners in GFAR bring their own commitments and resources, joining together in exciting Collective Actions that create change and impact on the ground
  • Each Collective Action is an innovation cycle that encourages a feedback loop of learning

What are Collective Actions?

A GFAR Collective Action is a multi-stakeholder programme of work at local, national, regional or international level, initiated by three or more partners and prioritized by GFAR Partners, always including producers and with a particular focus on women and youth.

Work formulated through consultative processes of GFAR is delivered by our constituent partners. Partners agree to commit and generate resources together, to catalyze actions or advocacy towards shared, demand-driven development aims.These actions are fostered and supported through the GFAR Secretariat.

Constituencies ›

The DeSiRA Initiative (2018-2020)

The "Development of Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture" (DeSIRA) initiative was launched in 2018. The objective of DeSIRA is to contribute to climate-relevant, productive and sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low and middle-income countries. DeSIRA aims to put more science into development considering that the solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are context specific.

Innovation is a complex process including technical, organizational and institutional dimensions and mobilizing a wide range of actors (farmers, farmers’ organizations, NGOs, advisory services, private firms, etc.). As such, public policies need to rely on a multi-stakeholder approach to produce new knowledge making use of scientific knowledge and local knowledge, mobilizing resources, and synergizing competencies. But to achieve this, there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity of researchers and research organizations to design, monitor and assess research and innovation processes to achieve impacts and address multiple global challenges. To this end, DeSIRA funding is intended to support research and innovation projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and strengthen research capacities and governance involving key actors at national, regional, continental and global levels.

The European Commission allocates DeSIRA funding in the form of grants, representing around €300 million in total, to multiple organizations across diverse sectors, including to the GFAR Secretariat, as convener and facilitator of the Global Forum's extensive network of multistakeholder partners. To learn more about DeSIRA support to the Global Forum, read the full brief HERE

The GCARD Road Map and the G20

The GCARD Road Map describes the broad changes needed in agri-food research and innovation systems as articulated by the sector. GFAR's Collective Actions and their outcomes are publicly recognized as contributing to the objectives of GFAR and the GCARD Road Map. Progress is reported and shared with other partners. 

Point 14 of the 2011 G20 Agriculture Ministers statement resoundingly endorses the Road Map and commits the G20 to support GFAR and other AR4D actors:

"We agree to strengthen agricultural research and innovation and support results-based agricultural research for development through our national agricultural research systems, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). We welcome the “Montpellier road-map” coming from the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development of 2010 (GCARD). We also insist on the need to enhance the transfer of the research results and technologies to farmers and to ensure that research activities respond to their needs and concerns and involve farmers in that process. We will promote technology transfers, knowledge sharing and capacity building through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. We will foster innovation in plant breeding, including by strengthening internationally agreed legal mechanisms for plant varieties."

The importance of GFAR’s role was also directly emphasized in the 2009 (L’Aquila) G8 Joint Statement on Global Food Security:

“8. Strengthening global and local governance for food security is key to defeating hunger and malnutrition, as well as to promote rural development… we support the fundamental reform processes underway in the FAO, the Committee on World Food Security, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the global agricultural research system through the Global Forum on Agricultural Research.”

GFAR Secretariat

The Global Forum's Secretariat provides support to the Partners’ Assembly, the Steering Committee and to the Partners in GFAR, catalysing their collective actions as they work together to transform agricultural research and innovation for greater impact in sustainable development. Located in the FAO Headquarters in Rome, the Secretariat is a tightly-focused team, comprising the GFAR Executive Secretary, senior officers/advisers responsible for specific areas of operation and administrative and technical staff. 

The Secretariat supports the development of a strategic agenda for agri-food research and innovation, encouraging dialogue among all relevant stakeholders on topics of common interest. It stimulates the development of action networks and partnerships among stakeholders and supports the strengthening of institutions and organizations to better link research to development. The Secretariat helps convene the different types of meetings held by GFAR, including GCARD. The Secretariat also helps to formulate the Medium Term Plan and supports its implementation through its annual Program of Work.


History of GFAR

GFAR was jointly established by FAO, IFAD, The World Bank and CGIAR and is the only multi-stakeholder global forum in which public, private and civil actors, across all aspects of the generation, access, transformation and use of agri-food knowledge, come together through their own representative mechanisms, to collectively shape the future of agriculture and realize desired SDG impacts.

In December 1994, an International Consultation entitled "Towards a NARS Vision of International Agricultural Research" was convened by IFAD in Rome, within the framework of the process of renewal of the CGIAR System. Some 80 National Agricultural Research System (NARS) leaders came together and produced a Declaration with concrete actions to strengthen NARS-CGIAR partnership. The Lucerne Ministerial-Level Meeting, which followed in February 1995, urged the CGIAR “to accelerate the process of systematizing participation by NARS of developing countries in setting and implementing the Consultative Group’s agenda".

A follow-up meeting to “develop an action plan to strengthen NARS-CGIAR partnership” was held on May 21, 1995 in Nairobi to discuss ideas for the formulation of an Outline Action Plan (OAP) adopted at the October 1995 CGIAR International Centers' Week. The Plan called for establishing or convening regional fora of NARS leaders. These meetings ensured that the broader NARS community had an opportunity to discuss issues of importance for developing stronger NARS-CGIAR partnerships. The outcome of these meetings led to the rejuvenation of regional organizations of NARS (AARINENA and APAARI) and the establishment of new regional fora (FARA to cover Africa, and FORAGRO).

Several preparatory meetings at IFAD HQ in Rome between May- September 1996 enabled selected NARS leaders from four (4) regions to share ideas on strengthening the CGIAR’s partnership with NARS, building on the outcome of the NARS-led consultative process since the Rome NARS Consultation (1994) and on the outputs of the regional fora meetings held between December 1995 and October 1996. A common understanding was reached on an agenda for a Global NARS meeting to be held during the CGIAR ICW96. At the end of this meeting the Global Forum on Agricultural Research was born – with the full engagement of NARS leaders from Africa, West Asia and North Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.

A Memorandum of Understanding between IFAD and FAO established the GFAR Secretariat formally in 2003. GFAR Secretariat has since been hosted at FAO Headquarters. 

The GFAR Constituency

GFAR is a unique global platform for agricultural research and innovation. We represent organisations working across the world in scientific research, education, rural extension and advisory services; business and enterprise; international development agencies; and farmers’ and civil society organisations.

We bring to our task diverse capabilities, capacities, and perspectives, but with one goal in mind: agricultural research and innovation that changes lives for the better.

We focus on critical issues such as food security, nutrition, climate change, women and youth in agriculture and agri-biodiversity. We develop our programmes through consultation, co-ordinating them through the GCARD Road Map. Programmes are fostered and supported through the GFAR Secretariat, but they are delivered by our constituent organizations, working together.