Marie Ange Ngo Bieng, a forest ecologist with CIRAD, speaking at the Global Landscapes Forum, Bonn, 2019 © Pilar Valbuena/GLF

Science diplomacy support

CIRAD is a major science diplomacy player. We help boost global expertise in the living world and agriculture, contribute to French bilateral scientific cooperation and global development policy, and welcome overseas students. We work towards the sustainable development goals, alongside the countries that benefit from French public development aid.

The complex challenges facing today's world require a coordinated, integrated response on the part of science, on a global level. France plays a strategic role in international efforts, via science diplomacy. CIRAD – a public research organization under the dual authority of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs – contributes to science diplomacy by practising targeted research aimed at inventing resilient farming systems for a sustainable, inclusive world.

Boosting global scientific expertise

While remaining rooted in the field and in concrete, contextualized issues, CIRAD makes use of its many and varied scientific partnerships to build comparative approaches, produce generic knowledge, and contribute to innovations that will serve to achieve the sustainable development goals, particularly for the world's poorest people. Its work supplements the available knowledge of six priority research topics:

  • Biodiversity
  • One Health
  • Climate change
  • Agroecological transitions
  • Food systems
  • Territories

CIRAD also places its expertise at the disposal of the French authorities involved in international talks, via multilateral organizations (G7, Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - COP, FAO symposium, etc.).

Some of our researchers are members of global bodies at the science-policy interface, such as the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). Others are seconded to global organizations. For instance, we have a scientific advisor with the French permanent representation to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome (FAO, WFP, IFAD).

Contributing to French and European policy

French international development policy fits into the framework determined by the international community, particularly the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development. It  also tallies with The new European consensus on development, adopted in 2017.

Within France, CIRAD works closely with the Agence française de développement (AFD). Under a multi-year framework agreement, AFD funds a number of our R&D projects, funding 53 of them to the tune of € 20.6 million in 2020. Our efforts are focused on the 19 countries identified as a priority for French public aid, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Our strategic priorities are also aligned with those set by the French State.

To contribute actively to the objectives of the Sahel Alliance founded by France and Germany in 2017, CIRAD and the national agricultural research centres in the Sahel countries signed the Ouagadougou Declaration in 2018.

CIRAD also supports European Union international development policymaking, notably Euro-African dialogue. It is involved in EU initiatives and instruments, such as the H2020 and Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DesiRA) programmes.

Training students and junior researchers from tropical and Mediterranean countries

Partnerships, as CIRAD sees them, must pave the way for societies, and particularly those that are most fragile, to generate the knowledge they need to build a sustainable future. CIRAD therefore helps to train students and junior researchers and build innovation capacity in the countries with which it works.

This takes two main forms:

  • Hosting more than 200 PhD students from countries in the global South a year in our research teams and projects
  • Designing and leading some twenty Masters courses with partner universities in the global South, plus innovative teaching products (MOOCs, e-learning courses, etc.)