2021 Annual Report Foreword: A now-or-never moment for science


It is undeniable that the world is changing and that the pace of change is picking up. Humanity is increasingly aware of the far-reaching effects of the climate and biodiversity crises, food insecurity, land degradation, a pandemic in its third year, and now a new armed conflict.  

As a planet and people, the challenges we are experiencing today are complex and interconnected. But looking back at 2021, we are proud to say that the Alliance and CGIAR have taken an active role in addressing these challenges. And in many issues, we have been ahead of our time. 

Many topics in the modern political discourse and the news cycle are not new to us – sustainable food systems, agricultural and food biodiversity, climate resilience, gender inclusion – but the way we approach them as a research and innovation organization is constantly evolving.

It’s a now-or-never moment for science: research needs to inform policy and investment decisions, assess risks, provide meaningful data, identify, share and scale up best practices, and deploy innovations and solutions in the field. 

This needs to be done working hand in hand with national research systems, universities, and most importantly, with the end-users: farmers. If we do not do this, we will not succeed in implementing effectively and scaling up these solutions.

As we look ahead to the coming decade, we recognize that our actions will influence what the world will look like. We bear responsibility for our children and future generations: to make sure we feed a growing population within planetary boundaries. As the Alliance and CGIAR, we commit to step up our efforts to contribute to making the future something to look forward to.

In this year’s Annual Report, we are pleased to share with you a selection of achievements from 2021, particularly those that will continue to have an impact in the coming years and decades.

We begin with a look at our global work, and then dive into each of the regions – the Americas, Africa, and Asia – where we are working towards a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable future.

Juan Lucas Restrepo

Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Trustee for Bioversity International UK/USA