GFAR Governance and Management

GFAR plays a critical role in transforming agri-food research and innovation systems. To effectively fulfil its role as a catalyst for change GFAR needs strong and robust governance and management. At the GFAR Constituent Assembly in August 2015 (see below), a new governance structure was agreed that includes a GFAR Partner Assembly and a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee.

New GFAR Steering Committee

In 2016, the governance and leadership of GFAR was strengthened through the addition of new voices to the GFAR Steering Committee — the body made up of representatives elected from each of GFAR’s constituencies. Through an open and inclusive process, the Partners in GFAR were thus given the opportunity to be heard more directly, in GFAR governance itself. In December 2016, nine local representative seats were each voted on and determined by their own constituencies. This process ensured that they are truly credible in representing the interests of the communities they serve, and are able to reflect a grassroots viewpoint, informed by local perspectives. 

The new GFAR Steering Committee met for the first time in Rome, 8-9 February 2017. With 34 members, the Steering Committee now features:

The Partners that make up the Steering Committee are not there just to represent themselves. They have committed to advocate for the concerns of their constituencies and actively engage with and mobilize them. They are directly accountable to other GFAR Partners in their sectors for catalyzing key Collective Actions to be taken forward with Partners in other sectors.

The Chair of the GFAR Steering Committee is Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe from South Africa. She is joined as Vice-Chair by Mr. Raffaele Maria Maiorano from Italy. 

Find out who’s representing you in the new GFAR Steering Committee here!

The Steering Committee met again in June 2017 in a combined Strategic Workshop and Steering Committee Meeting, working together to design the future of GFAR. The representatives of that meeting is available at this link

An extract from the GFAR Charter that sets out the background, composition and responsibilities of the Steering Committee is available by clicking here.

Partners' Assembly

The GFAR Partners' Assembly will be held every three years as part of the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD). The Partners' Assembly is composed of global partners, regional fora partners and partners nominated by regional constituencies. All partners are accountable to their constituencies.

Constituencies of partners coming from the regional and global organizations identify themselves as partners in GFAR by expressing formally their alignment with the Global Forum's Mission and Vision.

The roles of the Partners' Assembly are to contribute to strategy development in agri-food research and innovation; to reflect diverse stakeholder perspectives; to relate to other sector fora and institutions; to track developments; to provide oversight of GFAR's strategic framework, plan of action, role and direction; and to bring collective advocacy and common commitment for GFAR actions.

The first Partners' Assembly met at GCARD3 in April 2016. Read the Report of Proceedings here

GFAR Secretariat

The GFAR Secretariat provides support to the Partner Assembly, the Steering Committee and to all stakeholders as they work together to undertake collective actions through the GFAR programs. Located within the FAO Headquarters in Rome, it is a small, tightly-focussed team comprising the Executive Secretary, assisted by senior officers, administrative staff and volunteers.

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.


Reform and Renewal of GFAR

Since GFAR was founded, the global and regional organizations engaging as GFAR stakeholders have always sought to be accountable to the needs of resource-poor consumers and farmers whose voices are less often heard. Still, there remained an obstacle to connecting the interests of science with those of society, to make sure actions were grounded in actual development realities. The challenge was how to put all stakeholders on an equal footing and have equal voice—from small farmer to agribusiness, researcher to politician, youth to seasoned expert.

Building on a governance review starting in 2012, we have recognized that GFAR itself needs to change, to build, strengthen and enrich its partnership base and operations to create a forum that is truly owned by all and able to foster change across all sectors.

GFAR Constituent Assembly 2015

The first step in these changes was the GFAR Constituent Assembly held 24-26 August 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Constituent Assembly reshaped the collective actions, mechanisms and governance of GFAR.

The Constituent Assembly – a truly landmark event – brought together over 100 representative stakeholders from all sectors and all regions to explore and discover the strategic role and direction, mechanisms, and future governance and resources, required of GFAR.

The Assembly redefined the role and purpose of GFAR through strong  agreement on a new Vision and Mission. A formal basis was agreed for the definition and basis of GFAR Collective Actions, a key operational mechanism for GFAR. The Composition of the Global Forum was made open to stakeholders from national, regional and global organizations by expressing formally their alignment with GFAR’s Mission and Vision.

A new Governance structure was agreed that includes:

  • A GFAR Partner Assembly, meeting every three years as part of the GCARD Global Event.
  • A multi-stakeholder Steering Committee meeting every year between meetings of the Partner Assembly. The Steering Committee will organize itself as a body and through standing committees.