CIAT’s strategy 2014-2020 is fully operational. Following a year of engagement with donors and partners, we are now seeing the fruits of our labor: increased collaboration across research disciplines, strengthened regional engagement, and leading innovations in agricultural development. Most importantly, the merit of CIAT’s strategy is clearly evident in the dialogues, decisions, and actions happening in government offices, community meetings, and farmers’ fields.
Over the past year, CIAT has continued to work across the tropics to improve food and nutrition security to benefit rural livelihoods and ensure access to healthy and sustainable harvests for the urban poor. In collaboration with our partners, including policy makers and the private sector, our global research contributes significantly to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
As a global organization, one of CIAT’s unique strengths is drawing on worldwide expertise and knowledge for solutions to local challenges. Across Southeast Asia, we are establishing the networks required to mitigate and help prevent further effects of the climate-induced spread of pests and diseases in cassava fields. In Africa, a focus on enterprise development and market linkages in seed systems is helping to break the bottlenecks hampering the ability of farmers to access improved bean varieties. And in Latin America and the Caribbean, climate information is providing actionable recommendations for farmers and policymakers alike.
Increasing public interest in agricultural research for development is providing opportunities to share the results of our programs more widely. One study looking at countries’ interdependence in plant genetic resources was picked up by media outlets around the world, and another related study that revealed large gaps in the collections of crop wild relatives held in seed banks landed CIAT researchers in The Economist. More recently, a study telling us where, and crucially when, interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa was covered by BBC and The Guardian, amongst other.
Our reputation as a thought leader on tropical agriculture linked to key global themes – including: big data, climate-smart agriculture, ecosystem action, and sustainable food systems – also helped to bring a major event to CIAT. The Eatx Cali Forum attracted representatives from the academia, government institutions, international agencies, businesses, and civil society to help rethink food systems and ensure consumers have access to healthy and more sustainably produced food.
Keeping at the forefront of global dialogue, our Soils team made major contributions to the UN designated International Year of Soils. These activities helped to position CIAT as a key contributor to Germany’s “One World, No Hunger” soils and environmental portfolio in Africa.
CIAT continues to have a privileged and fruitful relationship with its host country, Colombia. CIAT and the national public research agency CORPOICA have developed a unique bilateral training program allowing staff exchange between the two organizations, with the intent to strengthen and extend their current outstanding complementarity for present and future generations of researchers. Jointly with several Colombian organizations, CIAT has also initiated a program to deliver concrete solutions to a ‘post-conflict’ era in Colombia. We hope to achieve even higher impacts of our work through joining the country’s forthcoming very significant rural development plan after the peace accord is signed.
A lasting institutional priority is the creation of a global hub for crop diversity. Called “Future Seeds,” this new genebank will leverage CIAT’s knowledge and expertise to accelerate the development of crops with urgently needed traits, such as higher productivity, improved nutritional value, resistance to pests and diseases, and greater market competitiveness.
Features of the new facility include:
- Conservation of live collections, including the characterization and distribution of plant genetic resources in the form of seeds or in-vitro plantlets.
- Digital collections that store a vast wealth of genetic diversity information and that enable CIAT to share this information globally.
- Exhibits and programs to strengthen the capacity of partner organizations and raise awareness about the crucial role of crop diversity in maintaining ecosystems and food security.
Throughout 2015, two mayor initiatives were undertaken. One was the full adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the other was the migration to a cross-cutting CGIAR operation platform known as One Corporate System (OCS). The above two initiatives posed a lot of challenges throughout the year but especially when it came to closing the 2015 books.
The adoption of IFRS required: required reformatting CIAT’s 2014 Financial Statements and the 2013 Balance Sheet previously prepared in compliance with the CGIAR Financial Guidelines, so that the statements presented herewith (2015) could be comparable. This transition and adoption demanded a lot of time, effort and training primarily of Finance staff, however, we are very pleased that the goal was achieved and that the 2015 Financial Statements are fully IFRS compliant. More information related to the impact of the conversion is shown in the notes to the Financial Statements.
After months of hard work, preparation and training, CIAT went live on January 2015 with the new CGIAR cross-cutting operations platform (Unit 4 Business World (UBW) formerly Agresso). Throughout the year, most of the modules implemented at Headquarters (Finance, Research Management, Project Costing & Billing, Travel and Planner) were also implemented in the regions. Working with a single platform worldwide has helped to reduce redundancies and improve efficiencies. Throughout 2016, modules such as Human Resources and Logistics, already implemented at Headquarters, will be launched in the Regions.
Despite uncertainties in the CGIAR Window 1&2 budget and the adoption of IFRS, CIAT stood on solid ground financially in 2015. Total revenues reached US$110.7 million, compared to $130.6 million in 2014. The major decline was in funds available to cover the expenses of collaboration with CGIAR and Non CGIAR partners in the execution of CCAFS and HarvestPlus. The overall implementation of projects has slightly decreased compared to 2014, reducing the daily burn rate from $226k in 2014 to $206k in 2015, thus affecting positively the reserve days with an increase from 106 days in 2014 to 120 in 2015.
Since its establishment 49 years ago, CIAT has consolidated a remarkable track record of impact through the application of science for development. It is recognized worldwide for its achievements in developing technologies, methods and knowledge that better enable farmers to enhance sustainable agriculture practices. Join us as we begin on our journey to the next 50 years of agricultural innovation in the tropics.
Financial results for 2015
During 2015 CIAT transitioned from CGIAR Financial Guidelines (FG-2) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Annual Center Financial Statements as of December 31st 2015, including the comparative figures as of December 31st 2014 are for the first time fully IFRS compliant.
CIAT decreased its revenues this year by 15% compared to 2014. Almost 60% of this reduction resulted from the lower execution of CCAFS and HarvestPlus partners. The surplus resulted from “other revenue and gains” and “Financial Income” (obtained through investments, fees, sale of assets, and farm operations). CIAT keeps managing the volatility of the Colombian peso by protecting the non-research budget exchange rate with forward hedges. Our investments were at all times in full compliance with the investment policy approved by the Center’s Board of Trustees.
Partners in CCAFS, including CIAT, executed US$31.8 million in research, representing 94% of CCAFS funds disbursed from Windows 1 & 2. The program’s total execution, including window 3 and bilateral funds, amounted to US$58.3 million, giving an execution rate of 88%. CCAFS received 65% (second last tranche) of its Window 1 & 2 funds during the last week of November 2015.
Statement of Activity (unaudited)
As of December 31, 2015 and 2014
(Expressed in thousand of US$)
|Windows 1 & 2||51,823||74,495|
|Total grant revenue||110,419||130,013|
|Other revenue and gains||318||539|
|Total revenue and gains||110,737||130,552|
|Research direct expenses||52,782||55,302|
|CGIAR collaborator expenses||33,287||44,689|
|Non-CGIAR collaborator expenses||16,134||19,808|
|General and administration expenses||8,389||9,869|
|Other expenses and losses||323|
|Total operating expenses||110,915||129,668|
|Surplus (deficit) for the year||416||2,204|
Statement of Financial Position (unaudited)
As of December 31, 2015 and 2014
(Expressed in thousand of US$)
|Total current assets||65,598||67,442|
|Other assets held for disposal||155||-|
|Total non-current assets||63,566||63,177|
|Total current liabilities||60,043||61,409|
|-- Temporary net assets - Other comprehensive income||(514)||(778)|
|-- IFRS conversion||36,671||36,671|
|Total net assets||66,419||65,739|
|Total liabilities and net assets||129,319||130,619|
Financial outlook for 2016
Changes in the Consortium Financing Plan for 2015 and 2016 have created considerable budget uncertainty. CIAT estimates a reduction of nearly 25% of Window 1 & 2 funding compared to the actual 2015 figures. Efforts are underway to compensate for the Window 1 & 2 budget reduction through new bilateral projects and measures to lower operating costs.
Low prices for oil, coal, and other minerals are seriously undermining the Colombian economy. The government’s budget will be further squeezed, if as expected, peace negotiations continue to progress, creating significant demand for post-conflict investment.
The ambitious initiative for a new state-of-the art genebank is well underway thanks to generous investments by the governments of Germany and Colombia, and efforts continue to raise the necessary funds. Called Future Seeds, this genebank of a new kind will be hosted in an environmentally sustainable facility and will allow to better store and distribute key crop collections, generate and make available vast amounts of invaluable information on seeds, and serve as a hotbed for innovative training and outreach.