GCP21 History & Goals

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) was created in 2002, when 30 of the world’s leading cassava researchers gathered at The Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Bellagio, Italy, to create a partnership of institutions dedicated to leveraging the tools of modern biotechnology and plant breeding to transform cassava into a more productive and resilient crop. The first GCP21 “product” was the sequencing of the cassava genome by 2009.

GCP21 First Meeting

First strategic meeting of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century – GCP21 - Oct 1-5, 2002, Bellagio, Italy.

GCP21 organized two major cassava scientific conferences, the first one in Ghent, Belgium in 2008 and the second one in Kampala, Uganda, in 2012. These conferences brought together the cassava community, demanding more organization, action and information about cassava. The third conference was in China in January 2016 to focus on the value addition to cassava processing.

GCP21’s main goal is however to enhance global food security, sustainable production and economical opportunity for hundreds of millions of people, through the development and deployment of improved cassava cultivars.

To achieve this goal, GCP21 will act on three levels:

  • Advocating, networking and rallying all sorts of stakeholders to trigger an increase of funding for cassava R&D, to facilitate the transfer of science and technology to cassava to fill existing gaps, and to enhance international collaboration geared at cassava productivity increase.
  • Identifying gaps in R&D in the cassava production and transformation chain, from farmers to consumers. Developing modern tools towards the creation of more advanced improved cassava cultivars, towards a better management of cassava diseases and towards improving healthier cassava products for multiple users.
  • Collecting and circulating information through a global network and an inclusive cassava portal about the crop, the scientists, the projects, and multiple databases to be regularly updated. In addition, meetings and conferences will convene regularly.

The overall concept of GCP21 is not to implement actions and projects but rather to stimulate the creation of new projects and actions based on scientific and technical gaps identified through broad participatory meetings with experts from different horizons. Each of these meetings will address a single question and elaborate a Road Map with all necessary tools to fill the gaps and remove constraints in cassava production and processing. Donors will be invited to consider funding these actions executed in a concerted manner with all participants.

GCP21 is a partnership of institutions cooperating to achieve these objectives. They include national research organizations in developing countries, international agricultural research centers, advanced laboratories, private companies, cassava production and processing associations and a number of donor organizations supporting cassava R&D. The work of GCP21 will strengthen national research organizations in cassava-growing countries and benefit their constituents, i.e. cassava farmers, consumers and industrial users, through the development of improved cassava cultivars and improved technologies.

GCP21 will play a major role at identifying scientific and technical bottlenecks, such as the potential spreading of deadly cassava viruses throughout Africa or the rest of the world, as recently debated in a GCP21 strategic meetings. Typically these meetings will generate a road map which will be published and will be used as a reference for implementation an action plan involving many organizations, acting in a synergistic manner towards this common goals.

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