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Joining forces with donor partners

November 3, 2010

IDRC believes that donor partnerships are crucial to advancing our mandate, and in March 2010 the Board of Governors reaffirmed this by approving our first five-year Donor Partnership Framework.

These partnerships foster collaboration among research funders and promote greater sharing of knowledge. Equally important, they increase the resources available to research for development.

Since 1970, IDRC has entered into agreements with more than 140 like-minded research funders. Our long experience has led to larger and more innovative partnerships. Today, partnership agreements over $1 million account for almost 80% of all active co-funding agreements. In 2009–2010, more than 16% of IDRC’s programming was funded through partnerships with government agencies, bilateral and multilateral organizations, philanthropic foundations, and private organizations.

In 2009–2010, the largest agreement, worth $50 million, was from our main Canadian partner, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), for the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF). Other new partnership agreements included: 

  • Capacity Building for HIV/AIDS Prevention Trial — $10 million (CIDA)
  • KariaNet II — $1.6 million (International Fund for Agricultural Development)
  • Ecohealth Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Initiative — $1.5 million (Australian Agency for International Development)

Exploring new partnerships

During the next five years, we will nurture existing relationships but also explore new partnerships — with emerging donors, for instance. We will engage more fully with key international organizations and networks.

 We will also continue to strengthen the ability of our grantees to form partnerships and to mobilize the resources they need. As well, we will continue to document and share our learning in the field of partnering for development.


Helping Africa adapt to climate change

Kenya’s central highlands have seen a seven-fold increase in cases of malaria in the past decade. Researchers at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute blame climate change. A study, funded by the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program, also concludes that human activity is responsible for rising temperatures. Just two degrees — from 17oC to 19oC — are all the malaria parasite needs to mature, putting 4 million people at risk on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

This research is one of more than 50 projects supported by the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program. Launched in 2006, the program is a joint effort of IDRC and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Its goal: improve the capacity of African people and organizations to adapt to climate change in ways that benefit the most vulnerable. It also seeks to strengthen adaptation policies and plans.

DFID is IDRC’s largest non-Canadian co-funder. Over the past five years, DFID pledged $48 million to the climate change program and an additional $16.6 million for five other agreements.


Canadian collaboration to ensure food security

Many developing countries cannot produce or import enough food to feed their people, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As a result, more than one billion people around the world are malnourished. The World Bank estimates that global food production must double by 2030 to meet growing demand.

With that grim fact in mind, on October 16, 2009, the Honourable Beverley Oda, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, announced the creation of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. This $62 million joint initiative between IDRC ($12 million) and the Canadian International Development Agency ($50 million) will bring together the best minds from Canada and developing countries to find lasting, research based means of ensuring food security.

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund will contribute to meeting that goal by investing in applied research and harnessing Canadian expertise and knowledge. It is designed to benefit the most vulnerable, particularly women small farmers, and to fund organizations and institutions that can increase food production in a sustainable way.

IDRC launched the first two calls in February 2010, and three research partnerships have already been selected for funding.​