As 2014 comes to a close, I am pleased to reflect on the successful year CIFOR has had thanks to all of our staff, associates and partners and their commitment to our organization’s mission.
Over the year, our engagements have helped underpin national policy changes for the smallholder timber trade in Indonesia and Peru, the consolidation of global bushmeat networks, efforts of climate change negotiators, gender-sensitive decision making, international data collection methods, and much more.
At the same time, we continued to focus our efforts to keep forests and landscapes high on the world’s political agenda. In particular, our evidence-based forestry initiative and the landscapes approach are helping to bridge the science-policy interface, a key role for our organization as the world looks for ways to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and works toward a universal agreement on climate change in 2015.
This emphasis on dialogue and stakeholder connections culminated in the second Global Landscapes Forum, an event that saw 95 organizations working together to forge connections between science, decision-making and action. We also joined the dialogue taking place around the post-2015 development agenda, the expected new climate deal, food and nutrition security and more – opportunities for our policy and science experts to add their voices in setting the priorities of the international agenda.
We are now entering a new phase for CIFOR. In 2014 we have had active discussions in revising our organization’s strategy to align with the priorities of SDGs and the climate agenda, as well as the new strategy and results framework of the CGIAR. With this realignment, 2015 will be a year of change and refocusing. CIFOR’s strong commitment and impact orientation for prioritized research, capacity development, and engagement with stakeholders will help us turn a new leaf both for our organization and for a sustainable future.
2015 marks my first year as CIFOR’s Chair of the Board of Trustees and I’m delighted to take on this role with such a globally respected organization.
Looking back at 2014, I can see the diversity and depth of CIFOR’s work. With involvement in two global research programs, through 85 active projects, CIFOR’s work covers the whole forest and the forestry research agenda at local, national, regional and international levels.
CIFOR’s achievements can also be summarized in some remarkable numbers: 450 publications, of which 165 appeared in impact factor journals, thousands of people trained from short-term courses to PhDs, several major events organized, and many more in which CIFOR played a key role.
One of the two global programs in which CIFOR is engaged, Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), accounts for about three quarters of our activities. FTA was the first of the CGIAR’s research programs to be subject to an independent evaluation. Completed in 2014, the evaluation endorsed the relevance and effectiveness of FTA and CIFOR’s role as lead center. It called for a multi-year period of stable operations and offered many useful pointers to the direction of the program.
As we begin 2015, that period of stability called for in the evaluation evades us. Significant reductions in CGIAR funding mean that some difficult decisions, for CIFOR and FTA, have to be made to bring our expenditure in line with our income.
That said, we look forward to 2015 with confidence for many reasons. CIFOR will be refreshing its strategy during a year when important decisions will be taken on finance and development, the SDGs and the post-2015 agenda, and on tackling climate change. The staff of CIFOR have the skills and experience to contribute to all these agendas and to help shape the future of forests.