Building forward better

Letter from the Board and Management

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M Claire O Connor

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Robert Nasi

Managing Director, CIFOR-ICRAF
Director General, CIFOR

Anthony Simons

Executive Director, CIFOR-ICRAF
Director General, ICRAF

Our way of working

CIFOR-ICRAF is focused on contributing to a decisive shift in global trajectories: from a future of environmental destruction and livelihood crises to one of prosperity and planetary health. Uniquely equipped to deliver transformative research, we harness the power of science and innovation to improve the benefits that forests, trees, soils and their sustainable management can provide to all of humankind, for a more resilient, equitable and prosperous future.

Our work is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, as well as the three Rio Conventions.

CIFOR and ICRAF are members of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CIFOR leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) in partnership with ICRAF and other key organizations, and we work closely with the CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), and Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

CIFOR-ICRAF’s work is possible thanks to the financial support of our Funding Partners and the collaboration of our Strategic Partners. We work closely with a range of local and international organizations and institutions to deliver research projects with the greatest potential impact.

Worldwide presence




See our financial statements:   CIFOR |  ICRAF

Addressing five global challenges

As the world reels from concurrent and successive crises, so much is clear: food, agricultural and forestry systems will need to change if we are to ensure a future worth living for succeeding generations. CIFOR–ICRAF provides actionable, game-changing solutions to five major global challenges:

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Deforestation and
biodiversity loss
A climate
in crisis
food systems
supply and
value chains
Extreme inequality
Challenge 1

Deforestation and
biodiversity loss

Human survival is intrinsically linked to forests, yet deforestation and forest degradation continue at alarming rates, increasing the risk of mass extinctions and new infectious diseases.

CIFOR-ICRAF’s work on tree genetic resources, restoration, sustainable forest management and soil and land health has raised the importance of trees and biodiversity globally.

Challenge 2

A climate
in crisis

Despite clear scientific consensus, the effects of global heating on ecosystems and human health continue to rise.

CIFOR-ICRAF is providing evidence and analysis of nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, such as sustainable forest and wetland management, agroforestry, and landscape restoration.

Challenge 3

food systems

The world’s food production and distribution systems are deeply flawed: unsustainable agricultural practices continue to destroy forests, degrade land and intensify climate change, while over two billion people experience some type of malnutrition.

By supporting landscape management practices and local innovations to sustainably produce diverse foods and maintain and enhance ecosystem services, CIFOR-ICRAF is finding ways to promote healthy diets – without overshooting planetary boundaries.

Challenge 4

supply and
value chains

Despite fanfare over private-sector commitments to zero deforestation and sustainable supply chains, evidence of real change remains elusive, while global consumption of forest commodities continues to increase.

CIFOR-ICRAF helps translate sustainable production into income, illustrating how trade and investments in a diversity of forest and tree products can have positive impacts on rural livelihoods while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

Challenge 5

Extreme inequality

Women, rural communities and Indigenous Peoples continue to face reduced access to basic human needs and livelihood opportunities – and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to push an extra half a billion people into extreme poverty.

CIFOR-ICRAF is committed to addressing these inequalities and supporting practices of governance that lead to positive change.


Experience has taught us that turning scientific evidence into transformative action requires creative partnerships and clear communication channels. The entities of the CIFOR–ICRAF network reinforce and advance our collective aim to unlock the potential of trees and forests to combat climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

In 2020, FTA put in place a proactive management plan to adapt its plans of work and maximize delivery despite the Covid-19 context. Flagships 1 and 2 (FP1-2) initiated Transformative Partnership Platforms (TPP) respectively on Transforming the Quality of Tree Planting (TQTP) and on Agroecological approaches to building resilience of livelihoods and landscapes.

Global Landscapes Forum

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) saw unprecedented digital growth during 2020, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. It pioneered digital conferencing in the environmental space to connect the globe and fill science and knowledge gaps with its first fully digital conference in June.

Resilient Landscapes

Leveraging science to help businesses reach their climate and biodiversity goals

Resilient Landscapes is an innovative CIFOR-ICRAF venture, which aims to leverage science and research in scaling up investments in naturebased solutions to tackle climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss and land degradation. It promotes strategic public-private partnerships through joint project design, benefit sharing and robust performance metrics generating financial, social, and natural capital dividends for investors and businesses.

Communications, outreach and engagement

CIFOR-ICRAF takes a strategic approach to communications, outreach and engagement. Through robust science journalism, landmark events and innovative digital platforms, we bring targeted information to all of our stakeholders on game-changing solutions to the five global challenges.

Translating science into action

By 2023, two-thirds of the global population will have internet access and 70 percent will have mobile connectivity. CIFOR-ICRAF leverages its digital engagement and delivery platforms to simultaneously connect stakeholders at all levels of society and across geographies, from scientists to farm families to policymakers in numerous countries around the world. We are creating new digital engagement formats for innovative collaborations that have never existed before. We are transforming leading scientific exploration and direct experience in landscapes, together with finance and governance, into living knowledge that addresses the five global challenges.

forward better


In 2020 – a year like no other – CIFOR-ICRAF continued to deliver the world’s best science on forests and trees in agricultural landscapes, shifting the conversation online as the Covid-19 pandemic evolved.

This annual report features stories about expertise, dedication and perseverance. When people responded to the pandemic with calls to ban wild meat, CIFOR-ICRAF experts stepped forward with recent, highly relevant evidence in hand, highlighting the needs of communities who rely on wild game for nutrition. Other scientists forged ahead to deliver compelling research findings on improved tree seed and restoration work in Ethiopia, agroforestry in Southeast Asia, and a new model for sustainable use of woodfuel in refugee camps – among many other topics.

CIFOR-ICRAF continued to chart its path as one organization, with a new 10-year strategy that outlines game-changing solutions to five global challenges: deforestation and biodiversity loss, the climate crisis, unsustainable supply and value chains, the need to transform food systems, and extreme inequality for women, Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable rural communities.

Three new holistic approaches will deliver actionable solutions to these challenges: Transformative Partnership Platforms, Engagement Landscapes and Flagship Products. And the newly launched Resilient Landscapes aims to leverage the power of the private sector to spur greater investment in nature-based solutions.

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) held its first fully virtual conference in June and didn’t stop there, seeing unprecedented digital growth during the year. And the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) marked its 10th science conference – also virtual – while continuing to demonstrate the power of partnership.