Objective

Objective

ERA-ARD II has two strategic objectives: Improving the European contribution to International Agricultural Research (IAR) by promoting joint activities and transnational programs in the field of Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) and Increasing the impact of European contributions in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) and to sustainable growth in the poorest countries in the world.

Achievements of ERA-ARD I include:

  • providing a shared vision and a strategic agenda on ARD in Europe;
  • providing an analysis of collaboration models to the implementation of joint and transnational activities;
  • increasing the involvement of Southern partners through the establishment of a Southern Advisory Group;
  • implementing a transnational call focussing on Bioenergy.

The main areas for improvement were:

  • Enlargement of the consortium by integrating new partner countries (Portugal, Turkey, Finland, etc.);
  • Expanding joint and transnational activities initiated during ERA-ARD I;
  • Realising joint activities in thematic fields: Capacity development, also related to climate change;
  • Involvement of the end users of the European ARD programmes in the design and implementation of joint and transnational activities;
  • Expend the Southern Advisory Group to include stakeholders from all continents.

The impact of this ERA-NET lies in supporting and enhancing the European Research Area for Development. A greater contribution and visibility of Europe towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals through an increase in effectiveness and efficiency of its research for development programs is being established along with the development of a more coherent European ARD and a facilitated access of developing countries to European ARD expertise. The joint call will result in research which will contribute to meeting the EU's commitment towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

 

Consortium

Consortium

The ERA-ARD consortium consists of 17 organisations from 15 different countries.

 

Mapping and scoping activities

Mapping and scoping activities

Building onto the ERA-ARD I project, the ERA-ARD II network has implemented two major mapping and scoping activities:

  1. Strengthened networking and consultation. The ERA-ARD network in itself links funders with a view to greater contribution of the European efforts towards achieving the MDGs. The network has been successful in generating mutual understanding and a focus on priority themes, fed by various consultation processes both in Europe and in Africa. This included developing the ARD-Alliance concept, the aim of which is to build on the diversity and experience within Europe and establish a mechanism for forming regional ARD-Alliances around joint activities and a common understanding of priority thematic areas. Its value is mutually beneficial for the demand and the supply sides: better demand articulation generating more appropriate projects with hopefully more impact. Involvement of representatives from the South has been enhanced by the formation of the Southern and Emerging economies Advisory Group (SEAG), to provide input from partners from Southern and Emerging economies in the decision-making process of the ERA-ARD.
  2. Improved transparency in the European research landscape and practical tools for improving contribution to MDG's. Improving transparency in the diversity of the European offer comes through the ERA-ARD proposal for a European ARD portal - a portal of portals – that aims at the facilitation of access to European ARD information, expertise and collaboration partners as well as the facilitation of interaction and networking (D1.3 Suggestions for concept and development of the European ARD portal - a Portal of Portals). By building on the current ERA-ARD portal, this should be initiated in the near future. In addition, an evaluation mechanism called the "MDG toolbox" has been developed and is able to underpin the assessment of relative value of various MDG aspects and impact in practice.

 

Joint calls

Joint calls

First call 2012

The theme of this call was "Improving rural livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa: Sustainable and climate-smart intensification of agricultural production". The funding partners (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland) committed at total of EUR 1.5 million into funding six proposals, of the twenty two received. Projects were started at the end of 2012 and early 2013.

Projects funded:

  1. CAMES - Impacts of Conservation Agriculture on Macrofauna diversity and related Ecosystem Services for improved farmers' cropping systems and livelihoods in Highlands of Madagascar. Coordinator: IRD (France). Participating countries: France, Madagascar
  2. WASSA - Woody Amendments for Soudano- Sahelian Agriculture. Coordinator: IRD (France). Participating countries: France, The Netherlands, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Niger
  3. SEWS - Sustainable Exploitation of wild silks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Coordinator: University of Ghent (Belgium). Participating countries: Belgium, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Kenya
  4. SSOPI - Providing sustainable field-to-market strategies on production intensification of selected key crops. Coordinator: BOKU (Austria). Participating countries: Austria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Germany
  5. SIFSISDP - Sustainable integrated farming systems for improvement of smallholder dairy production while optimising crop production in milk shed areas of Malawi and Zambia. Coordinator: ART (Switzerland). Participating countries: Switzerland, Belgium, Malawi
  6. CA-SubSurface-IR - A comprehensive Analysis of Subsurface Irrigation in SSA for an Optimisation and Adaption of an Environmental friendly Irrigation Practice. Coordinator: Kassel University (Germany). Participating countries: Germany, Kenya, Algeria

Main Conclusions of the International Conference, held in Brussels, Belgium, 5th June 2013

The following has been prepared by the organisers as a support to participants and others. It provides a brief conclusion for the conference. Conference presentations can be found on the ERA-ARD Website at http://www.era-ard.org/international-conference/.

The conference was conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere and attended by over 100 people including policy makers, donors, programme managers, scientists and other stakeholders. Participants were active both during the sessions and during the breaks and they agreed that time is right for improving linkages between Agricultural Research and Agricultural Research for Development. This will contribute to greater impact on Global Challenges from the side of European Agricultural Research.

There is considerable experience and a multitude of ideas on how the impact of AR and ARD can be strengthened and it is important to build on this, ensuring AR and ARD use a more bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approach.

It is recommended that the way to link AR and ARD successfully can be elaborated through establishing a Joint EIARD – SCAR Strategic Working Group which supports and strengthens collaboration between countries, aiming at improving efficiency and visibility of use of research funds.

Alignment at global, regional and national levels should be improved and supported by consultation with a broad range of stakeholders from Europe and the South, acknowledging that building mutual trust in sustainable partnerships takes time and is part of the development process. Partnerships between Europe and the South will be increasingly balanced and of mutual benefit.

Funding instruments should be flexible and catalyse existing initiatives, rather than generating new initiatives.

Europe should support research collaboration in sustainable intensification of food production, taking into account the whole value chain (such as IntensAfrica).

In other words: We must translate rhetoric into action. The moment is now.