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Partnering for global impact: IDRC’s Annual Public Meeting

January 22, 2020

“Partnerships are fundamental to how IDRC works,” IDRC Chairperson Margaret Biggs said at the Centre’s 2019 Annual Public Meeting. “By connecting and collaborating with others, the Centre is able to grow not just a pool of resources, but also expertise and networks that benefit researchers working in developing countries.”

The Annual Public Meeting, held in Ottawa in November, offered highlights from IDRC-supported research in the past year, discussed priorities for the year ahead, and provided citizens the opportunity to ask questions of IDRC’s Board of Governors and senior management.

Biggs spoke about the extent to which partnerships were a central theme of strategic plan consultations held in the regions where IDRC supports research. “This collaborative approach was very much part of the consultations,” she said. “These discussions will help to identify the Centre’s priorities, where the knowledge gaps are, and the partners we could work with.”

Assessing IDRC’s performance against the Strategic Plan 2015–2020

IDRC President Jean Lebel told the audience about the Centre’s performance assessment of its 2015–2020 strategic plan and how it is shaping the development of the new 10-year strategy, to be launched in April 2020.

Lebel highlighted IDRC’s partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on climate change research through the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA). For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report about the impact of global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius. There was little regional research on this issue and CARIAA-supported scientists recognized the gap and collaborated to investigate how warming by 1.5 and 2 degrees would affect specific regions and hot spots. “Their findings showed that, for instance, at least one quarter of the ice on the Himalayan mountains will be lost, affecting 13% of the world’s population,” Lebel said. “More research is needed in that field and it will continue under the new strategic plan. We recently signed a two-year partnership [with DFID] in order to pursue the work on resilience and sustainability.”

Women’s leadership in science for sustainable agriculture in Africa.

Across sub-Saharan Africa, two-thirds of African women are engaged in agriculture and produce 90% of the continent’s food, but only one in four agricultural scientists in Africa is a woman. IDRC’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Kathryn Touré, spoke about the need for women’s leadership in agriculture and the extent to which women are vital players in agriculture across Africa.

“Women carry a disproportionate amount of the labour and production burden in African agriculture, while at the same time facing major barriers to achieving meaningful leadership roles,” she said.  “If women had the same access as men to productive resources, such as fertilizers, machinery, and information, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%,” Touré added.

Canada is a leader in promoting inclusive approaches through the Feminist International Assistance Policy, which recognizes that supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world.

Watch a video of IDRC’s 2019 Annual Public Meeting.

Learn more about IDRC’s results in the Centre’s 2018–2019 Annual Report Partnering for global impact.