Balinese peasant woman working in a rice field © CIRAD, A. Rival

Our remit and strategy

CIRAD's remit, history and values are vital assets for tackling some of the major global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. As agriculture is central to the necessary transitions, it is crucial that we make it resilient to global change and multiply its positive impacts on society and the planet.

The challenges facing humankind are increasing. If we are not to destroy the world in which we live, we must revolutionize how we produce and consume, and our relationship with the living world. With a global population set to reach almost ten billion 2050 and to push up demand for agricultural goods, we must focus our efforts and investments on sustainable management of ecosystems. Agriculture, humankind's most common activity, plays a huge role worldwide. It occupies 40% of the world's land mass and provides almost 40% of adults with jobs and livelihoods. In addition to producing food, it plays many essential roles: rural development and jobs; ecosystem management and health; climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation; energy production, and so on.

Our remit: to invent resilient farming systems for a sustainable, inclusive world

CIRAD has big ambitions when it comes to addressing the above issues: to contribute to a more sustainable world and to the sustainable development goals by means of agricultural and food systems that provide people with healthy food, pay producers a decent wage and are resilient to global change, including climate change, while preserving biodiversity and natural resources.
We have opted for a multi-faceted strategy to achieve this.

Science is central to our operations

CIRAD conducts useful, targeted research to ensure change and impact on every scale of sustainable development, from smallholders to public policy. The fact that the vulnerabilities of societies and ecosystems are interlinked means that it is necessary to broaden perceptions of agriculture and to explore its interactions with other sectors (food, health, environment, energy). It is by pooling a wide range of disciplines – from the life sciences to the social and political sciences – that CIRAD can analyse biological, technical, social and institutional systems. That multidisciplinarity also allows our researchers to develop technical, environmental and societal solutions, support innovation, build capacity, assist public decision making and aid science diplomacy.
CIRAD has chosen to focus its research on six main fields:

  • Biodiversity – biodiversity as a lever of development and resilience
  • One Health – an integrated animal, plant and ecosystem health approach, in connection with public health
  • Agroecological transitions – developing agroecological transition engineering
  • Food systems – supporting the transition to more sustainable, inclusive food systems
  • Climate change – helping all farming systems in the global South adapt to climate change
  • Territories – territory-based approaches to leverage sustainable, inclusive development.

We also act as a scientific and technical authority on most tropical agricultural value chains.

Lastly, CIRAD aims to support agricultural and rural development in the French overseas territories and to develop scientific cooperation within the corresponding regions (the Indian Ocean and Caribbean).

 

Partnerships with other countries and with the French overseas regions: both a means and an end

CIRAD is convinced that long-term research partnerships are in themselves a step towards development, and they underpin all of its operations. This approach is bolstered by CIRAD's long experience of such partnerships, some of which date back more than 50 years, and its capacity to assign researchers to the organizations with which it works. Moreover, we are in a position to federate a range of partners around strategic topics, and host many partners within our teams and structures.

While the Europe-Africa-Mediterranean axis remains our priority, CIRAD is also working to consolidate its research collaborations in Southeast Asia, Latin and Central America, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

A focus on basic and further training

Countries cannot develop without building their capacity to generate knowledge. Our training policy thus involves hosting and supervising students and junior researchers, in partnership with the higher education sector in France and overseas, particularly via I-Site MUSE (University of Montpellier) and Agreenium. The emphasis is placed on further training, with the support of training services in the countries with which we work.

Innovation and impact, drivers for sustainable development
We work to convert the scientific and technical knowledge generated with our partners into solutions. Those solutions are one of the main drivers of innovation systems. Once adopted by local players, they serve to build sustainable development.

CIRAD is also working to make its research more socially useful and to promote an impact culture within its collective structures. (=> lien vers rubrique impact) Since stakeholder capacity is central and public policy is vitally important to development processes, CIRAD is working to consolidate its analysis, advocacy and intervention capacity, at both the science-society and the science-policy interfaces. (lien vers rubrique « appui aux politiques publiques »)

Innovation and impact, drivers for sustainable development

We work to convert the scientific and technical knowledge generated with our partners into solutions. Those solutions are one of the main drivers of innovation systems. Once adopted by local stakeholders, they serve to build sustainable development.

CIRAD is also working to make its research more socially useful and to promote an impact culture within its collective structures. Since stakeholder capacity is central and public policy is vitally important to development processes, CIRAD is working to consolidate its analysis, advocacy and intervention capacity, at both the science-society and the science-policy interfaces.