The long awaited World Bank-facilitated Write shop for the founding partners of the Science for Agriculture Consortium is now underway at the World Bank Group Main Complex in Washington DC.The Science for Agriculture Consortium (S4AC) is a recently established coordinating platform for collective actions by supra-national agriculture research and development organizations in Africa to advance the implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A).
In April 2016 at the 3rd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) in Johannesburg, the S4AC was unveiled to agricultural research and development stakeholders.
The Consortium’s founding partners are the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research for Development (CORAF/WECARD) and North African Sub-regional Organization (NASRO)—institutions previously responsible for advancing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agenda on research and extension (Pillar IV).
The Consortium arrangement enables these organizations to harness synergies among themselves; to capture economies of scale; and to strengthen the coherence of supra-national interventions regarding implementation of the S3A.
The founding partners of this Consortium embraced this mechanism as means to increasing their individual and collective efficiency and effectiveness by mandating FARA to coordinate the Consortium’s activities, in effect to serve as the Consortium’s secretariat. They also endorsed a position paper that laid out the Consortium’s principles.
Major Principles the Consortium follow are:
(i) subsidiarity wherein the partners recognize that implementation of the S3A will primarily take place at country level and their roles are distinct but complementary;
(ii) ensuring clarity of mandates, roles and responsibilities;
(iii) joint planning, implementation and reporting;
(iv) sharing of good practices as well as the unsuccessful ones;
(v) African/local ownership that is inclusive and accountable; and (vi) focusing on high priority interventions.
They have joined forces in resource mobilization (for example, in formulating the Capacity Development and Technology Outreach (CTDO) component of the Technologies for African Agricultural transformation (TAAT) programme and the emerging African Agricultural Research Programme (AARP).
The goal of the write Shop which will come to a close on the 30th September, 2016 is the elaboration of the operationalization modalities of the Consortium as well as the development of Concept Note to articulate the collective actions based on the implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in African countries.