From 3 to 7 December 2007 Dr. El-Beltagy was at the CGIAR Annual General Meeting (AGM07) in Bejing, China; from 26 to 28 February 2008 he participated in the CG Change Management Retreat and in the CIAT Meetings in Washington DC, US; from 1 to 5 March he took part in the FAO 29th Regional Meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
In April and May 2008 Dr. El-Beltagy participated in several international meetings: the 3rd board meeting of the Global Crop Diversity Trust in Rome, Italy; the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the meeting of the European Action on Global Life Sciences (EAGLES) and the BioVision Conference in Alexandria, Egypt; the CG Change Management Meeting in Ottawa, Canada; and lastly, on 13 to 14 May, the 14th CGIAR Executive Council in Ottawa, Canada.
Recently, on 3 June 2008, Dr. El-Beltagy attended the Open Science Network Meeting on Partnerships, Innovation and Agriculture jointly organized by INRA and CIRAD in Paris, France.
The Network Meeting discussed a wide range of demands and challenges faced in agriculture. This included ensuring food security, safety, better nutrition, guaranteeing environmental sustainability, combating climate change and dwindling natural resources, while also factoring in ethical and social considerations etc. The meeting had more than 350 participants. The details of the Open Science Network Meeting are available at www.gip-ifrai.fr.
At this meeting, Dr. El-Beltagy presented that the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) is a unique platform for world wide collaborative action for agricultural research and innovation. He highlighted the structure of GFAR, which is based on the subsidiarity principle of the National Agricultural Research Systems and their Regional Forums, and includes other stakeholders to agricultural research for development such as the International Agricultural Research Centers, NGOs, Farmer Organizations, the Private Sector and the Donor community. He also described how GFAR innovatively builds partnerships and contributes to agricultural research and innovation through its Global Partnership Programs, regional and inter-regional networks, advocacy and capacity-building activities through regional forums and facilitates information and knowledge sharing such as through its electronic platform, EGFAR. Dr. El-Beltagy’s presentation at this meeting is available on line on EGFAR.
Dr. Mario Allegri, Chair, FORAGRO also participated in the meeting.
After considering recent reports such as the World Development Report 2008 and the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development which highlight the indisputable and pivotal role of agricultural research and its limitations in increasing food security and facilitating economic growth and a wide variety of presentations, the meeting concluded that a new agenda for agricultural research calls for both fresh and renewed partnerships on an international scale. The challenges before agricultural research have consequences for societies and economies at local, regional and global levels. It is through these international partnerships that research can assume its responsibility in the face of new challenges related to food and agriculture at the World level.
In Dr. El-Beltagy’s opinion, there is an increasing global recognition for building partnerships for agricultural innovation at national, regional and global levels. This is an even more compelling reason for GFAR to play a prominent role in agricultural research and innovation. This issue was discussed with the heads of CIRAD and INRA. The Chair of CIRAD recognizes the important role of GFAR and he stressed his interest in posting an expert within the GFAR Secretariat, in addition to a close coordination and cooperation with GFAR in the future.