New Initiative Portfolio, New Opportunities for Engagement

An introduction to CGIAR’s Initiative Portfolio and its alignment with the NL-CGIAR Strategic Partnership.


The Netherlands has recently renewed the Strategic Partnership with CGIAR through the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding. In this Strategic Partnership particular focus will be attributed to domains where CGIAR and Dutch partners have complimentary expertise and to promoting research impact through interdisciplinary research approaches, co-creation and downstream applied research partnerships. The renewal of the MoU as part of the Strategic Partnership was a timely and desired step by both parties to also ensure the Strategic Partnership aligns with CGIAR’s brand-new Portfolio of Initiatives. With this Initiative Portfolio, CGIAR aims to support its mission: to deliver science and innovation that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. These developments are consistent with CGIAR’s new 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy. Through this Strategy, CGIAR establishes a solid and pertinent science agenda for today’s dynamic world. The Initiative Portfolio builds on CGIAR’s fifty-year track record and outlines the future focus of a unified and more impactful CGIAR.

In this Insight Item we go into more detail about how to best engage with and learn about the entire Portfolio of Initiatives. As well specific Dutch supported Initiatives are highlighted with particular opportunities for strengthening collaboration.

Exploring the CGIAR Initiatives

Exploring the CGIAR Initiatives

You can delve into the 32 various Initiatives through the CGIAR Initiative Explorer. You can use this tool to find Initiatives that are connected to specific Impact Areas, Regions and Countries, Sustainable Development Goals, and particular keywords of interest.

The Initiatives in the Portfolio are grouped within three Action Areas (Systems Transformation, Resilient Agrifood Systems and Genetic Innovation) and aim to create impact in 5 key Impact Areas:

Opportunities for collaboration

Partnerships are high on the agenda of CGIAR as they are currently working on strengthening their collaboration and engagement both within CGIAR and with external partners. CGIAR recognises that the current challenges also require a new paradigm for partnerships with a broader range of research and scaling partners. CGIAR envisions partnerships as critical to succeed in its mission in three main areas: in-country peer relationships for national and international innovation, the private sector, and multilateral agencies and platforms. As a knowledge partner to the Netherlands, CGIAR works with all of these other partners in order to achieve impact on the ground. CGIAR views the Strategic Partnership with the Netherlands as a partnership that cuts across all three categories.

In addition to the core funding that The Netherlands provides to CGIAR and its Portfolio of Initiatives, they also provide additional core support to several Initiatives as a means to boost CGIAR Initiatives that are new and in particular aligned with the policies of the Dutch Government. These additional Initiatives also provide opportunities for collaborative advantage through partnerships between the Netherlands and CGIAR.

The new Initiatives receiving additional core support are:

Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH)

The Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH) Initiative is developed in close collaboration with the World Vegetable Center. It aims to use an end-to-end approach to increase fruit and vegetable intake, improve diet quality, nutrition and health while also improving livelihoods, empowering women and youth and mitigating negative environmental impacts.

The Netherlands has a long track-record working on fruits and vegetables for food and nutrition security. It also has been a strong supporter for integrating this theme in CGIAR’s Portfolio as well as broader in the global food and nutrition security field. The FRESH Initiative thus highly aligns with current expertise and experience in the Netherlands and could provide fruitful opportunities for collaboration.

FRESH was launched during a global online launch event in May, 2022. The recording of the event is available through this link. Also a new Blog is available: ‘Improving fruit and vegetable consumption will require a holistic approach’.

Seed Equal

The Seed Equal Initiative aims to support the delivery of seed of improved climate-resilient, market-preferred and nutritious varieties of priority crops, embodying a high rate of genetic gain to farmers, ensuring equitable access for women and other disadvantaged groups.

The Netherlands has a lot of expertise in seed sector development and public-private partnerships initiatives related to the theme. With seed sector development on the agenda in CGIAR in particular through this Initiative it will provide ample opportunities to seek partnerships and strengthen the Initiative..

The Initiative was officially launched in June, 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Want to reach out?
You can contact Ian Barker (lead) and Shoba Venkatanagappa (co-lead)

Securing the Food Systems of Asian Mega-Deltas for Climate and Livelihood Resilience (AMD)

The Securing the Food Systems of Asian Mega-Deltas for Climate and Livelihood Resilience Initiative is also one of the new Regional Integrated Initiatives. This Initiative aims to create resilient, inclusive and productive deltas - which maintain socio-ecological integrity, adapt to climatic and other stressors, and support human prosperity and wellbeing - by removing systemic barriers to the scaling of transformative technologies and practices at community, national and regional levels.

The Netherlands has been active in the Asian Mega-Deltas region as a bilateral player. This provides strong opportunities to share expertise through collaboration. Already several Dutch partners have participated in the design of the Initiative.

The Initiative was launched during a conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in June, 2022.

Want to reach out?
You can contact Bjoern Ole Sander (lead) and Shakuntala Thilsted (co-lead)