- 1970 - 2000 (Creation)
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The records in this series reflect the two principal activities of the Consultative Group: funding and evaluating the international institutes. The Group's activity is carried out through regular informal contacts, through consultation at yearly or semi-annual meetings, and through inspection visits to the centers. The records document the debates on whether to fund new institutes or new programs within existing institutes; what is the healthiest relationship between the international institutes and national research and extension programs; and how to manage the related roles of the Council and the Group, the two secretariats, and the four co-sponsors. A substantial amount of correspondence also is created during the sensitive process of selecting Council members and choosing leaders of the institutes.
The records of the meetings give a bird's eye view of the state of international agricultural research on topics ranging from pest control to rice production to the state of post-harvest technologies. Background papers, mission reports, priorities papers, instituted evaluations, minutes, verbatim transcripts, and correspondence range over every subject in agriculture. Of particular interest are the debates on how to support the collection, evaluation and conservation of plant genetic resources, which ultimately led to the establishment of the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources and a central fund to support it. Changing research interests can also be followed, as well as the growing awareness of the role of women in agriculture, the increasing appreciation of the role of the small farmer, and the heightening concern over the fragility of environmental balance.
Of particular importance is the collection of publications and reports from all the institutes that are supported by CGIAR. Through these publications, the regular evaluation reports, the institute work plans and the regular correspondence, the successes and failures of each institute can be charted. The central files contain massive files on the institutes, often including such difficult to locate items as minutes of institute meetings. In the early 1990s a CGIAR project put a large body of the publications from the institutes on a set of 17 CD-ROMS; these publications and others are found in the series of institute publications.