By Caity Peterson
You can run into all kinds of people at major global agricultural conferences – Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), for example.
Spying Dr. Campbell alone, exposed like a gazelle in the vast corridors of the Conrad Hotel – the venue for the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) – with nothing but a cup of coffee to defend himself, an auxiliary unit of the GCARD2 social reporting team seized the opportunity to corner him for a lightning interview.
Surprised, but unhurt, Dr. Campbell graciously delineated what he thinks will be some of the most important results coming out of the GCARD2 conference.
“I hope that the conference allows us to identify the key players we need to interact with in terms of foresight. Finding partners for our scenarios development work in East Africa is an example of such an outcome. This kind of forum is great for showcasing that kind of work, and then from the audience finding people who are really interested in it.”
Much of the work at these conferences is generally done in the corridors, he added. Suddenly, the social reporting unit felt a bit guilty for distracting Dr. Campbell from his coffee.
“At this type of event you meet people that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet, and they can give you really interesting insights into the kinds of things that are needed. And there are a lot of users here, as opposed to researchers, and therefore you start thinking about the kinds of products that we need to deliver as scientists. We essentially want to make our research demand-driven.”
As far as whether climate change issues would get the attention they deserved in the course of GCARD2, Bruce Campbell had no doubts:
I don’t have any worry that climate change is not going to be coming out at the other end of this conference. We are implicated in several important sessions and side events, and we are well integrated in two of the main themes – Foresight and Partnerships. Those are crucial areas. People will be talking about climate change, and they are not going to forget its importance in any kind of road map that the conference generates.
It’s a pity we couldn’t say the same for presidential debates. Nevertheless, and thanks to Dr. Campbell’s words, the conference can go on with the assurance that our presence here is justified, that work will be accomplished – be it in the corridors or otherwise – and that GCARD2 will continue to be a fruitful forum for sharing and developing partners in the wild world of agricultural research for development.
To keep up with happenings at GCARD2, visit the GCARD2 social media platform
Caity Peterson is a visiting researcher based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, working on CCAFS Theme 1: Adaptation to Progressive Climate Change. To get more updates, follow us on Facebook, and Twitter @Cgiarclimate.