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Bioversity International and CIAT to establish an Alliance

Communiqué n.2 - Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) intend to establish an Alliance to build sustainable, resilient food systems and landscapes.


The leadership of Bioversity International and CIAT are pleased to confirm their commitment to establishing an Alliance. This Alliance will develop and deploy evidence-based solutions to safeguard agricultural biodiversity, produce food in the face of climate change, reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture, and ensure a vibrant agricultural sector that drives prosperity, economic development, and improved human health and nutrition.

Bioversity International and CIAT have collectively amassed almost a century of research-for-development experience to address the most pressing global challenges in the food and agricultural sector and its links to the environment, poverty reduction, health, and the economy. Decades of fruitful collaboration, and the need for solutions at a scale and within a timeframe that is commensurate with these challenges, has inspired both centers to join forces.

Actions to date

In February 2018, the two centers established a Joint Working Group, co-chaired by their leadership. The Joint Working Group has prioritized collaboration across the centers’ scientific and country programs. Mutual strengths and synergies in agricultural genetic resources, climate change mitigation and adaption, natural resource management, land and soil restoration, and nutrition and health, among others, pose excellent opportunities for broader and deeper collaboration, integration, and scaling of impacts.

Consultations with host countries, namely Italy and Colombia; the leadership of CGIAR, of which both centers are members; and staff are ongoing. These will be extended to funders and partners in coming weeks. Reactions to the proposed Alliance have, thus far, been generally positive, and called timely, necessary, and exemplary.

Next steps

The scientific leadership of both centers will meet in September 2018 to continue to build a unified research-for-development strategy. To facilitate this scientific collaboration and scaling out of innovations, a gradual stepwise integration of governance, management, research teams and support services will ensue over the coming months. Since this will be a complex endeavor, both centers will retain an external advisor to ensure success.

In 2019, the terms of the Directors General of Bioversity International and CIATwill conclude. Bioversity Internationalwill initiate the search for a Director General in June 2018. Representatives from both Boards of Trustees have agreed to carry out a joint selection process. Once the Alliance between Bioversity International and CIAT is finalized, this person will also take on the role of chief executive of the Alliance.

The Boards of Trustees of Bioversity International and CIAT will hold a joint meeting in November 2018. They will assess progress and chart the next steps toward establishing the Alliance.

For further information, please contact Ann Tutwiler (Bioversity International) or Ruben Echeverría (CIAT).


Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Chair, Bioversity International Board of Trustees

Geoffrey Hawtin, Chair, CIAT Board of Trustees


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