February 9, 2017   •   News

Activities Update from our Special Representative

Below are some excerpts from an update on the recent activities of our GRA Special Representative, Hayden Montgomery.

“My very best wishes to you all for a very happy and prosperous 2017.

G7 side-event COP22

In the margins of COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, on 10 November I represented the GRA in a meeting organised by our vice-Chair, Japan, to follow up on the 2016 G7 Agricultural Ministers declaration – the result of their meeting on 23-24 April 2016 in Niigata, Japan.   The GRA was invited to participate in a panel, along with Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), 4 per 1000 on soil carbon, and the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership, to explore ways to cooperate more closely.  The event was well attended by G7 members, government officials of other interested countries attending COP22, FAO, OECD, CGIAR, IPCC and other international organizations associated with tackling climate change issues – many of which are Members and Partners of the GRA in their own right.  I’d like to thank Japan for organising this event and I will ensure that as we prepare for the next GRA Council meeting in Japan later this year I’ll take the opportunity to continue the sharing of information between these initiatives and explore concrete opportunities for collaboration.

4 per 1000

While in Marrakech, I was also able to participate in the launch of the 4 per 1000.  Following the GRA Council’s agreement, I was able to sign the 4 per 1000 Declaration of Intention on the GRA Secretariat’s behalf and participate in the first meeting of its Consortium.  I look forward to tracking the ongoing development of this initiative to help ensure that the research being conducted is directed towards common objectives. We are already taking steps to ensure that the Soil Carbon Sequestration Flagship is well coordinated with the International Research Programme of the 4 per 1000.

IPCC observer status

Following consultations with the IPCC Secretariat, on 28 November 2016 the GRA Secretariat sent a letter to the IPCC formally requesting that the GRA be admitted as an accredited observer, as per our agreement at Council.   We await the decision making process of the IPCC and hope that at its Panel meeting in late March 2017 a favourable decision will be taken.

GRA Partner engagement

While in Marrakech I was also able to meet with a number of GRA partners, including the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and a host of other potential future GRA partners.  I will be following up with these institutions in due course.

New GRA member

I’m sure you’ll all join me in welcoming South Africa as the newest and 47th Member of the GRA.  I’m delighted that the Membership is still growing and look forward to South Africa participating in subsequent GRA meetings and activities.

GRA Flagship project development

I’m very pleased that we have now established Task Forces for each of the four GRA Flagship projects that were adopted at the Council meeting in October.  Now begins the real work of elaborating projects and activities so that we can ensure that the projects meet the needs and expectations of the GRA Members and Partners.

Upcoming events

This week I’ll be in Rome to attend the first meeting of the GRA’s Integrative Research Group – an important milestone in advancing the work of its networks and the elaboration of the GRA’s Soil Carbon Sequestration Flagship project, among others.  While in Rome I’ll be meeting with FAO staff to identify concrete ways to align its work with that of the GRA and I’ll be participating in an Expert Meeting on Climate Change, Land Use and Food Security, being hosted by FAO and IPCC.  I look forward to updating you on the outcomes of these meetings on our teleconference.

The 17th Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC17) is a scientific meeting that will be held over three days at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, on 21-23 March 2017.   This could present an excellent opportunity to make progress in advancing the Soil Carbon Sequestration Flagship and raise the profile of the GRA in this scientific community.


Best wishes,

Hayden Montgomery”