Chair: Julie Howard (USAID)
Facilitator: Nienke Beintema (ASTI/IFPRI)
 
Context – the problems being addressed
 
According to the GCARD Roadmap, the transformation of global systems of AR4D can only be achieved with greatly increased levels of institutional, human and financial resources. In addition, a more systematic, relevant, and reliable process of tracking and monitoring the status of such resources on behalf of all stakeholders is required.
 
The stakeholder workshop organized by GFAR on tracking investments in  AR4D, with support from EIARD and GDPRD (Berlin, January 2012) recognized the range of on-going activities initiated by international financial partners worldwide, and made a series of recommendations that were discussed at the AFSI-MfDR meeting in Washington, DC (February 2012).
 
GFAR stakeholders and investors in agricultural research and programs targeting food security consider that in addition to tracking financial inputs and capacities, it is also extremely important to determine the returns on these investments (i.e., evidence on the value of the investments). However, compiling accurate, up-to-date information on AR4D investments and their impacts is extremely challenging, time consuming and is contingent on available human and financial resources.
 
Each of the existing monitoring systems on AR4D investments provide only part of the overall picture. The Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) collect information on spending and human resources in AR4D in developing countries, but the available information is outdated, irregular, or incomplete for some countries/regions, while information for the private sector is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, an up-to-date database of accessible and usable information on donor funding to AR4D is incomplete because donors are not consistent in the way they report AR4D funding. This has been identified as a major obstacle to aligning and harmonizing donor resources. Finally, monitoring systems on investments in extension and advisory services as well as agricultural higher education are lacking completely.
 
Activities presented and discussed
 
The session comprised various presentations bringing together new evidence on the magnitude of public investment in AR4D, returns to these investments and the importance of advocating for increased levels of investment. 
 
Jonathan Shrier (US Department of State) summarized the   progress made by donors in fulfilling their pledge of US$22 billion in funding for food security at L’Aquila. In May 2012, AFSI donors reported having committed 99% and disbursed 58% of the total pledge. The publication of this information alongside the Camp David Accountability Report in May represented a significant step toward meeting donors’ pledge to improved accountability and transparency. A sub-set of AFSI participants, convened by the USA, is investigating ways to improve the quality of information on AFSI participants’ AR4D investments in particular.
 
Karim Hussein (independent consultant, formerly of OECD) provided an overview of lessons learned by OECD and DAC in tracking donor funding for AR4D. It has been difficult to get a complete picture of ODA for AR4D from the OECD/DAC database because donors have not been consistent in the way they report AR4D funding using OECD/DAC codes. OECD/DAC and AFSI members are currently reflecting on how to better track funding commitments and results from AR4D spending. A standard approach for reporting and coding information from DAC members is needed. This will require agreement on common descriptors and on clear guidelines for what types of investment can be reported under individual CRS codes related to AR4D.
 
Jonathan Wadsworth (CGIAR Fund Council) gave an overview of recent trends and developments related to CGIAR funding. The total budget, US$725 million for 2011, has been growing at a rate of about 7% annually for the past few years. But greater investment in the CGIAR is needed. To achieve the growth in productivity which will be required to meet food security targets by 2025 an annual investment in international AR4D (largely CGIAR) of 1.6 billion is needed by 2025.
 
David Radcliffe (EFARD) presented the results of a study that tracked donor funding to CAADP Pillar IV. Taking into account the limitations of existing donor data, the study found that most donor funding for AR4D in Africa is directed to the CGIAR and regional organizations; national governments received only a small portion of total donor funds. Furthermore, the study found that donor funding portfolios do not reflect national frameworks and priorities, and that capacity building efforts were weak. Redressing the imbalance will require greater focus on establishing country ownership, improving alignment with African needs and priorities, and coordination of investments at global, regional and national levels.
 
Nienke Beintema (IFPRI) presented the new global assessment on public AR4D spending prepared by ASTI. Following a period of declining growth, global public and private spending on AR4D increased by more than 20% from 2000 to 2008. China and India, as well as a number of other larger and more-advanced developing countries, were the main drivers of growth in global public spending. However, spending in many of the poorest countries has either stagnated or declined in recent years. To better track investments, there is need to move from ad hoc data collection to a sustainable monitoring system with regular updates, enhanced ownership and  more focus on measuring the performance and impacts of AR4D.
 
Uma Lele (independent consultant, formerly of the World Bank) presented a recent study on patterns of structural transformation and agricultural productivity growth. The study found that during the process of transformation the differences in labour productivity between the agricultural and non -agricultural sectors narrows considerably.  In contrast, during the early stages of development, there is often a sizable and even widening gap in labour productivities between agriculture and non-agricultural sectors. A turning point is reached when the difference between the share of agriculture in employment and income begins to decline. This type of analysis is important to understand where countries are in their processes of transformation, and what policies and institutions explain the differences in performance, and the lessons and implications.
 
Alvaro Roel (INIA, Uruguay) presented the results of an external evaluation of the economic, social, environmental and institutional impacts of AR4D investments over the past 20 years. The main conclusion was that INIA, because of its legal and technical framework, is an institutional innovation in itself and an example for the region. With a cost-benefit ratio of 20:1 the original investment in the creation of INIA has been positively justified. INIA must, however, work more closely with agencies in other countries to address the urgent issue of joint technology transfer.
 
Eija Pehu (World Bank) stressed the urgency of improving the quality of data (such as through improved reporting to OECD/DAC), but also called for greater focus on measuring impact on the ground. There are many ongoing data collection efforts, but there remain many data gaps and few attempts to harmonize across efforts. One way to do this is to make all data available at the country-level. This could be further discussed by an expert-donor consultation in the near future, which would be charged with developing an action plan to move this issue forward. Further analysis will need to be undertaken to better understand why AR4D has high impact in some countries and not in others. Finally, it is important to generate demand from countries themselves for data collection. A better case will need to be made for how the information generated is useful for policymakers.
 
Nick Austin (ACIAR) also stressed the need to better connect the various initiatives. Furthermore, better measurements on impact (including non-economic) are needed. Finally, countries and donor agencies should invest more in monitoring activities.
 
The general discussion following the panel focused on a few additional key issues such as the small-country problem and the related lack of capacity. Another issue was that many of the poorest small countries in Africa do not have the critical human resource mass. Furthermore, institutional structures are often inefficient. Increased investments AR4D alone are insufficient if these two issues are not addressed.
 
Commitments to collective actions in 2012-2014: national regional or international
 
The focus here is on realistic actions that can be undertaken in the next two years:
 
1)      GCARD and its stakeholders commit to bring together the various streams of people working on these issues to roughly synthesize information about the areas where global public and private research investments are directed, the magnitudes of these investments, and known impacts. This will facilitate improved research resource allocation, including redirection to areas where investment is needed to address emerging problems and needs over the next 50 years:
 
a.      Internationally through the next Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS);
b.      Regionally/at country level through various regional fora.
 
2)      A research agenda needs to be supported to conduct a South-South examination of key triggers for structural transformation (what matters for poverty, environmental sustainability, nutrition impact). This should be done on a case study basis for countries where a more complete package of data is available.