ICRAF & CIFOR Merger: Accelerating Impact for a Sustainable World

The CIFOR and World Agroforestry merger

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) are the world’s leading research and development organizations focused on forestry and agroforestry. On 1 January, 2019, we effectively merged.

Together we provide the research, policy development and bespoke solutions needed to help forward-thinking countries, communities and companies improve land management, livelihoods, sustainability and resiliency.

We live in a world of escalating, complex challenges

It is increasingly clear that inclusive, science-based solutions are essential to address complex environmental and social challenges arising out of the climate crisis, land degradation, large scale migration and demographic change, food security and the need for good jobs, to name just a few. Ecosystems around the world are under strain. Forests and agriculture alone cover two-thirds of the global land area, provide more than 95 percent of all human food and create employment for more than half of all adults.

Deforestation, land degradation, depletion of the planet’s natural capital, the climate crisis, social disruption and inequality are ubiquitous and interconnected problems that the world has failed to adequately address. In the face of these challenges, we urgently need to better connect equitable prosperity and ecosystem resilience with sustainable landscapes.

The global community will need to spend trillions of dollars on innovations and on investments in land restoration and climate adaptation over the coming decades to meet these escalating demands for improved resilience and greater productivity. This is essential if we are to reverse the dangerous degradation of the world’s landscapes

We provide an integrated approach from the heart of the forest to the edge of the pasture

Our combined expertise brings together the essential science-based policy advice with practical project implementation and analysis that leverages 65 years of experience and $1.8 billion in research investments.

A combined CIFOR-ICRAF possesses the scale and expertise required to address the knowledge gaps in such relevant fields as land restoration and productivity investments. At the same time, CIFOR-ICRAF is also providing the evidence needed to form a base case for investments in increased ecosystem resilience.  In fact, our combined research and development work in dozens of countries throughout the global south ranges from the natural science of landscapes, soils, and trees, to value chains, gender and livelihoods, to policy proposals related to all of these fields.

CIFOR-ICRAF offers policy makers, the private sector and communities a more integrated and comprehensive approach to what is a challenging array of problems; and to finding solutions to these problems.

We understand that fragmented and inadequate approaches have failed to address these problems adequately in the past. But it’s not too late. Together, our institutional experience and knowledge provide the depth and breadth of experience that is essential if we are to tackle these critical, global challenges.

 We share a history of cooperation and impact

ICRAF and CIFOR have been working together for a quarter century, cooperating on research projects, co-publishing papers and as part of the CGIAR’s Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) research program. This is the world’s largest research for development initiative aimed at enhancing the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security, and addressing climate change. Together, the two research centres have co-published scientific articles and worked together in over 40 countries to provide the scientific foundations for policy to improve the lives of those relying on forests and landscapes for their well-being. The Centres’ work is referenced more than 2,000 times annually by major outlets including The New York Times, Reuters and The Guardian.

We remain committed to our current agreements, programs and projects

A cornerstone of our merger agreement is the continued dedication to our existing commitments and contracts to ensure delivery of the public goods the organizations’ donors and stakeholders, including our host countries, desire and expect.

Similarly, all payment systems and due diligence processes remain, and both Centres will continue to honour their obligations, maintain the same financial relationships and be able to enter contracts in the usual manner.

Our relationship with CGIAR remains strong

ICRAF and CIFOR will remain members in good standing and continue to be guided by the broad development challenges pursued by CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future, which include poverty reduction, increasing food and nutritional security, and improved natural resource systems and environmental services.

Each organization’s work will also continue to address many of the issues being tackled by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and other global compacts, specifically those that aim to eradicate hunger, reduce poverty, provide affordable and clean energy, protect life on land and combat climate change. Indeed, we believe working together exponentially strengthens our ability to deliver on these commitments.

About our leadership

With our effective merger, we are governed by a Common Board possessing diverse skills in areas such as agroforestry and forestry science, natural resources management, audit, finance and risk management, policy and governance.

The Common Board of Trustees’ primary mandate is providing governance oversight to ensure ICRAF, CIFOR and the CIFOR-ICRAF effective merger function to the highest standard to execute their mission. In order to do this effectively, the Common Board of Trustees has delegated the day-to-day management of the Centres to the Directors General who are assisted by senior managements teams that are actively working towards a single leadership team and unified policies, processes and systems.

Some facts and figures

Together, CIFOR and ICRAF have a combined annual budget of US$100+ million and employ about 700 people in more than 20 countries throughout the Global South. We will continue to maintain our headquarters in Indonesia and Kenya, respectively. The strong relationships with our host countries are critical and allow both organizations to continue operating as they have, with the networks they have and with the cooperation and support of important global tropical forestry and agroforestry countries.