There have been mergers and name changes, budget crunches and strategic re-thinks for the individual centers. And, from 1971 when it was founded, lots of structuring and restructuring – with the obligatory accompanying re-branding – for the club to which they all belong. I remember when it used to be referred to as the CGIAR, and even Future Harvest. If calling it the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research seems like something we did a lifetime ago, like using those rotary dial phones, it’s because it was.
But the mission of CGIAR has stayed pretty much the same throughout these changes, even as its name became an acronym, and the definite article was dropped. That mission is simply put: it is nourishing the world, sustainably. A recent editorial in the journal Nature Plants described the work of the centers rather well:
“They were created around the post-war hope that international cooperation could prevent war and decrease the historical tendency of mankind to destroy itself by every means possible. Multinational, but based in the countries where their work is needed most, and close to the centre of origin of the crops and the wild relatives. At the vanguard of international scientific research, but able to understand the needs of local small farmers. Financed by rich countries to help mostly poor farmers and make them self-sufficient. With the education of international students, researchers and technicians as a priority, to spread the knowledge in a virtuous cycle.” Read more