Letter from the Board Chair and Director General
2016 was yet another groundbreaking year for IFPRI. The Institute continued to pursue cutting-edge research that informs pro-poor policies, programs, and interventions around the world. Researchers greatly advanced knowledge on strategic issues, contributed to key policy processes on global, regional, and national stages, and forged partnerships that will make even more pioneering, cross-disciplinary work possible in the future.
Research quality and productivity reached new heights in 2016. IFPRI researchers released nearly 400 peer-reviewed publications throughout the year, an 18 percent increase from 2015. IFPRI’s reputation for top-notch quality was underscored by the latest Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) rankings, which placed the Institute as number two in agricultural economics and Africa economics research.
The Institute was at the frontlines of agenda-setting throughout the year. IFPRI was well represented at the 22nd United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP22), as the Paris Agreement on climate change entered into force. IFPRI researchers communicated the role of agriculture in exacerbating climate change and food insecurity and offered climate-smart policies that could benefit specific regions. IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan was invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to join other global leaders as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group, established to spearhead the fight against malnutrition. IFPRI had a strong presence at many other policy forums including the G-20 Agriculture Ministers meeting, the 2016 Micronutrient Forum Global Conference, and the first-ever summit of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition.
The Global Food Prize in 2016 was awarded to Dr. Howarth Bouis, founder of HarvestPlus, along with three colleagues from the International Potato Center, for their efforts to develop and scale up biofortification. Research evaluating social cash transfer systems in Ethiopia was recognized with the Best of UNICEF Research award.
2016 also marked the culmination of the first phase of the two IFPRI-led CGIAR Research Programs—Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). Proposals for the second phases of their work, both highly rated by the reviewers, were approved in 2016, and implementation began in January 2017. IFPRI continues to strengthen its in-country efforts—it launched the Egypt Strategy Support Program in Cairo, which is undertaking an impressive portfolio of research themes, from economic transformation and social inclusion to public health and nutrition.
The Board of Trustees was pleased to receive another successful external audit of the Institute’s finances, confirming that IFPRI remains financially sound.
As the world heads into an era of uncertainties, IFPRI is all the more committed to producing high-quality research. For policies to be effective in transforming food systems so that they are sustainable, inclusive, and nutrition friendly, they must be backed by scientific evidence. We are proud of the rigorous work undertaken by IFPRI’s researchers every day for the purpose of achieving a world free of hunger and malnutrition.
Kym Anderson Chair, Board of Trustees
Shenggen Fan Director General