The European Union and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work together on a joint initiative to drive research and technical and organisational innovations across agricultural and food systems in developing countries. More science and innovation is required to address some of the most pressing challenges posed by climate change. This joint initiative will build on the outcomes of the Paris Agreement and the recent COP 23 held in Bonn on the role for agriculture in the Climate Change agenda.
The Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Mimica said: "I am delighted at the prospect of working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on addressing the critical gaps in agricultural and food systems R&D. The complementarity and continuity between climate and development finance and the funding of research and innovation is essential to design private and public funding strategies for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and to build trust and reduce risks for investors, which is critical for adaptation as well as for mitigation."
The Commission will provide EUR 270 million, over the next 3 years (2018-2020) to foster a strong climate change focus in agriculture and food systems research for development. The commitment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match this funding with a USD 300 million pledge over the same period (2018-2020) will boost climate change related innovations through research in agriculture. It also provides an extraordinary opportunity for collaboration between the world's largest donor, the European Union, and the largest private philanthropist.
Given the size of the challenge and the need for urgent action, the European Commission and the Gates Foundation have started identifying priority investments towards putting research into use, fostering innovation in farming and food systems, and ensuring their climate relevance.
The generation of scientific knowledge and applied innovations will encompass agronomy for primary production, technology for all steps of processing, general organisation along the value chains, and focus on major activities to increase job creation and food security and nutrition. They also aim at enhancing research architecture and developing the national and regional research capacities conducive to innovation. This effort will also increase knowledge and evidence needed for policies and investment decisions. The initiative will aim at stronger coordination of strategies and promotion of joint and coordinated actions. It will particularly be based on collaborative activities between Member States and all interested partners in order to pool financial resources and human expertise through innovative mechanisms leveraging an increased response.
Technical work will continue between the European Commission, the Gates Foundation, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other interested EU Member States and partners, in order to identify priorities and develop long-term plans.