Four members of the Prolinnova Oversight Group (POG), each representing his/her regional constituency, took part in the Constituent Assembly of the GFAR (Global Forum on Agricultural Research) held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 24–26 August 2015:
- Sonali Bisht (Asian NGOs and member of the GFAR Steering Committee on behalf of NGOs)
- Esther Penunia (Asian farmer organisations and member of the GFAR Steering Committee on behalf of smallholder farmer organisations)
- Chris Macoloo (African NGOs)
- Ann Waters-Bayer (European NGOs).
The purpose of the CA was to “reshape” the GFAR,primarily to revise the formulations of the GFAR’s vision, mission, purpose and value added and to build up a stronger system of governance by the stakeholders/ partners, including public and private research, farmer organisations (FOs), NGOs, women’s organisations, youth organisations, educational institutions, extension and the private sector.
In 8-minute TED-like talks, Esther made a plea for putting small-scale farmer researcher-innovators at the centre of the “GFAR transformative movement” and for focusing agricultural research and innovations on sustainable agro-ecological approaches. Ann’s short talk was about “resourcing farmer-led research”, based on the experience of Prolinnova with community-managed Local Innovation Support Funds (LISFs).
By the end of the workshop, agreement was reached on reformulation of the GFAR vision and mission as follows:
Vision: The Global Forum makes agri-food research and innovation systems more effective, responsible and equitable, towards achieving sustainable development outcomes.
Mission: Partners in the Global Forum at national, regional and international levels advocate for and catalyse collection actions that strengthen and transform agri-food research and innovation systems.
GFAR “collective actions” will be sets of coherent and coordinated actions initiated by three or more constituencies (national, regional or global), always including farmers/ producers and with a particular focus on women and youth. Partners will agree to commit and generate resources for the collection action, to “brand” their action as “GFAR” and to report on it to the GFAR.
The broad outlines of the future governance structures were agreed on, and the important role of the GFAR was underlined as an institution that facilitates international and multistakeholder dialogue and catalyses collective action in agricultural research and innovation at different levels. The full report and the summary report on the meeting can be found under https://www.gfar.net/documents/report-gfar-constituent-assembly-full-report