In 2014 Bioversity International celebrated 40 years of research as the world agricultural and tree biodiversity research-for-development centre. The rise of nutrition, climate change adaptation, resilience and sustainability on the global agenda, as demonstrated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, makes our research more relevant than ever.
The UN designated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming – a theme that closely reflects Bioversity International’s mission to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. Getting this knowledge into the hands of those people who need it most is at the heart of our work, whether it is to help farmers know what to plant in a changing environment, or to help inform policy decisions at the national or international level.
As a member of the CGIAR Consortium, we are part of a global research partnership that spurs innovation in agricultural development. In line with the reforms underway in the Consortium, we have reviewed our strategy to increase our impact on important policy processes and programs. We are integrating our research portfolio into three major initiatives, which will contribute to the achievement of our strategic objectives focusing on consuming, producing, planting and safeguarding agricultural and tree biodiversity.
These objectives are beyond what Bioversity International can achieve alone. In 2014, we successfully enriched our research partnerships, including the signing of a 5-year agreement with Brazil’s leading agricultural research organization - Embrapa - to boost sustainable food systems.
In addition to traditional OECD funding partners, we are grateful for the ongoing support from countries like India, Peru, Philippines, South Africa and Uganda, whose financial support strongly signals the relevance of our research to their domestic interests. In 2014, we also welcomed a significant new partnership with the Margaret A Cargill Foundation whose belief in our mission has manifested through generous financial support for institutionalization of our new strategy.
The Italian Cooperation's partnership with Bioversity International and commitment to stable core funding will underpin our research in the long-term to help ensure global food and nutrition security around the world. Our partnership with Italian Cooperation goes beyond research, however. We have worked together on the organization of events in Milan Expo 2015, the first universal exhibition entirely on food and nutrition, to raise policymakers’ and public awareness on why using and safeguarding agricultural biodiversity matters and the role that the private sector and other scientific institutions can play in this.
Governed by an international Board of Trustees, we welcomed our newest Board member, Brent Swallow, Professor of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, Canada, and take this opportunity to thank all our Board Members for their continued commitment. We are grateful for the continuous collaboration with our partners and the hard work of our scientists and support staff.
This report highlights some of our 2014 achievements carried out in collaboration with our partners. We hope it provides some insight into the innovative ways in which, through our research, agricultural and tree biodiversity can nourish people and sustain the planet.