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Celebrations at Headquarters

Cali, Colombia. 8-9 November 2017

Throughout 2017, we have been celebrating CIAT’s 50th Anniversary and brought together our partners, donors, and people behind CIAT’s achievements, while reflecting on the future of food and agriculture.

Following regional celebrations in Hanoi, Vietnam on 3-4 AprilNairobi, Kenya on 29 May, and Managua, Nicaragua on 28 SeptemberCIAT is pleased to announce the upcoming celebrations at its headquarters in Cali, Colombia on 8-9 November.

8-9 November 2017

CIAT Headquarters

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7:30 – 8:30 Registration
8:30 – 8:50 Master of Ceremonies: María Fernanda Reyes, Governance Officer, CIAT
His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic of Colombia
8:50 – 9:00 Welcome: Geoffrey Hawtin, Chair, CIAT Board of Trustees
9:00 – 9:40
  • Dilian Francisca Toro, Governor, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
  • Jairo Ortega Samboní, Mayor of Palmira, Colombia
  • Juan Lucas Restrepo, Executive Director, Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (CORPOICA)
10:10 – 11:40

Latin America and the Caribbean: a model for agricultural development and sustainable food systems?

Panel discussion
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is poised to be recognized as one of the great food baskets of the world. As one of the most urbanized regions in the world, LAC is already in the future, and it is ahead of the curve in other respects too. Some countries in the region have made huge advances in the way they produce food, are proud and proven early adopters of new agricultural technologies, and have developed groundbreaking policies on issues from ecosystem services to climate-smart agriculture. LAC really can become the precedent for inclusive agricultural development and sustainable food systems that can both inform and inspire the rest of the world.

Moderator: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for
Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) (TBC)


  • Cristián Samper, President and CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Member of the CIAT Board of Trustees
  • Julio Berdegué, Regional Representative for Latin America and the
    Caribbean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Martín Piñeiro, Director, CEO Group S.A., Argentina
11:40-12:10 Celebrating Partnerships
Speaker: Joe Tohme, Director, Agrobiodiversity Research Area, CIAT
12:10-14:00 LUNCH
14:00 – 14:10 Welcome: Juergen Voegele, Senior Director, Agriculture Global Practice,
the World Bank Group, and Chair, CGIAR System Council
14:10 – 16:05

Building a sustainable food Future

Food systems affect and are affected by the social, economic, and environmental contexts in which they operate. Today, they face a massive array of challenges. About 795 million people currently lack enough food to lead healthy and active lives. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.8 billion. To feed everyone, we must ensure access to 60 percent more food in ways that enhance the livelihoods of poor farmers and reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment, and we must do so at a time when land degradation and climate change are disrupting the very ecosystem services that are critical to sustainable agriculture. Here we discuss the critical roles of climate change research, private sector involvement, and food systems to build a sustainable food future.

14:10 – 14:45
Talk 1: The future of climate change research

Moderator: Walter Baethgen, Leader for Latin America and the Caribbean,
International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Earth Institute,
Columbia University


  • Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director, CGIAR
  • Margarita Astralaga, Director, Environment and Climate Change Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Ana María Loboguerrero, Latin America Regional Program Leader,
    CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and
    Food Security (CCAFS)
14:45 – 15:05 COFFEE BREAK
15:05 – 15:35
Talk 2: Aligning public and private interest to scale up and deliver impact

Moderator: Carl Pray, Distinguished Professor in the Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Department, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey


  • Marco Ferroni, Chair, CGIAR System Management Board
  • Phil Pardey, Professor and Director, International Science and Technology Practice and Policy Center, University of Minnesota
  • John Hamer, Vice Chair, CIAT Board of Trustees
15:35 – 16:05
Talk 3: How to achieve sustainable food systems

Moderator: Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University


  • Thomas Reardon, Professor, Michigan State University
  • Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank
  • Mark Lundy, Leader, Sustainable Food Systems, CIAT
16:05-16:25 Closing remarks: Ruben Echeverría, Director General, CIAT
16:30-18:30 OPEN LOUNGE


8:00 – 8:30 Registration
8:30 – 8:40 Master of Ceremonies: Javier Mateo-Vega, Head of Partnerships & Communications, CIAT
Welcome: Bernard Rey, Deputy Head of Unit, Food Security, Rural Development, Nutrition – Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), European Commission
08:40 – 09:20

50 years of CIAT Research for Development

Book presentation and discussion, John Lynam, CIAT Emeritus

09:20 – 10:20

The beginning of social science research at CIAT

Panel discussion
With the following introductory statement – “The mission of CIAT is to accelerate agricultural and economic development and to increase agricultural production and productivity in order to improve the diets and welfare of the people of the world. In addition, CIAT is concerned with increases in buying power of urban residents in the sense that they may be able to purchase more and thus benefit from the increased food supplies.” Later, CIAT’s mission would focus increasingly on raising incomes for smallholder farmers, concentrating on four major crops and, more recently, CIAT has embraced a ‘Sustainable Food Systems’ paradigm. As the CGIAR has evolved into a more development-focused organization, social sciences become even more important than ever. What was the original thinking at the beginning of social science at CIAT, and particularly agricultural economics?

Moderator: John Lynam, CIAT Emeritus


  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, and
    former Head of the Economics Unit, CIAT
  • Alberto Valdés, International Consultant, former CIAT Scientist
  • Grant Scobie, former Director General, CIAT
10:20 – 10:50 COFFEE BREAK
10:50 – 12:20

 What’s next for CIAT research

Moderator: Steven Prager, Senior Scientist, CIAT

10:50 – 11:00

Introduction: Ruben Echeverría, Director General, CIAT

11:00 – 11:40

Talk 1: Does gene editing mean we can cut and paste our way to  sustainable agriculture?

Gene editing is the most exciting area in biology right now. Here we introduce ways it can help us tackle climate change and boost food production.

Speaker: Joe Tohme, Director, Agrobiodiversity Research Area, CIAT


  • Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist, Bureau for Food Security, US Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Anthony Cavalieri, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture Development,
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Eduardo Trigo, Director, CEO Group S.A., and Adviser to the Ministry of Agroindustry, Argentina


Talk 2: Soon we’re all going to be eating data, one byte at a time

Data is the flux capacitor of agricultural research, accelerating us into a future of sustainable, resilient food production, where no-one is left behind.

Speaker: Andy Jarvis, Director, Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area, CIAT


  • Alan Tollervey, Team Leader, Agriculture Research, Research and Evidence Division, UK Department for International Development (DfID) (TBC)
  • Michel Gagnon, Director, Food Security Division, Global Issues and Development Branch, Global Affairs Canada (TBC)
  • Sara Menker, Founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence and Member of the CIAT Board of Trustees

12:20 – 13:30


13:30 – 14:10

What’s next for CIAT research (continued)

Talk 3: Making the business case for land restoration

We know how to successfully restore landscapes but it’s just not happening.
Let’s crack the economics of landscape restoration and make a case.

Speaker: Lou Verchot, Director, Soils and Landscapes for Sustainability
Research Area, CIAT


  • Pedro Sánchez, Research Professor of Tropical Soils, Soil and Water Sciences Department and Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, University of Florida
  • Horst Freiberg, Head of Division for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forests, Biological Diversity and Climate Change, German Federal Ministry for the Environment
  • Charles Rice, Distinguished Professor, Soil Microbiology, Kansas State University, and member of the CIAT Board of Trustees
 14:10 – 16:00

Walk or talk parallel sessions


A guided tour of CIAT’s premises and seven newly designed, interactive stations where visitors can learn more about CIAT’s work.
Coordinator: Stéfanie Neno, Communications Manager, CIAT
• Building a sustainable food future, overview of CIAT’s work
• Genetic gains, breeding achievements
• Genebank, conserving and sharing crop genetic resources
• Soils Laboratory, healthy soils for healthy food
• Phenomics platform, monitoring plants to contribute to eco-efficiency
• High-temperature greenhouses, identifying crops that can cope with
climate change
• Mitigating climate change, grasses that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

14:10 – 16:10

Talks: What’s next for CIAT research (continued)

14:10 – 14:45
Talk 4: Why smallholder farmers will be big players in global markets

Environmentally conscious consumers, often in developed countries, continue to demand sustainably sourced products, such as coffee and chocolate. Smallholders are
major suppliers of these kinds of products.

Dialogue between:

  • Melle Leenstra, Knowledge Policy Coordinator, Food and Nutrition Security Cluster, Inclusive Green Growth Department,
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands
  • Mark Lundy, Leader, Sustainable Food Systems, CIAT
14:45 – 15:20
Talk 5: Investing in “green infrastructure” will bring more than
just environmental returns

We can have the best of both worlds – competitive and sustainable food production, while protecting the environment and the numerous services it provides.

Dialogue between:

  • Daniel van Gilst, Senior Adviser, Section for Environment and Food Security, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
  • Marcela Quintero, Leader, Ecosystem Services, CIAT
15:20 – 16:10
Talk 6: Future Seeds

The Future Seeds initiative seeks to build a state-of-the-art genebank that not onlyensures long-term seed conservation but also encourages their use to enrich dietsand to help climate-proof food supply in the tropics.

Dialogue between:

  • Stefan Schmitz, Division Head, Rural Development and FoodSecurity, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Peter Wenzl, Leader, Genetic Resources, CIAT


Our visions of a sustainable food future

Our work in pictures

CIAT in pictures - the best of

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