During a courtesy meeting with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Colombo on February 2, 2024, the Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, Ismahane Elouafi, expressed her gratitude for the continued support provided by Sri Lanka as a Host Country of a CGIAR Center. Sri Lanka is home to one of 15 CGIAR Centers, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), which is the only international organization with global headquarters in the country. CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis – and Elouafi took office as its Executive Managing Director in December 2023.
“This year marks the fortieth anniversary of IWMI and, therefore, forty years of partnership between Sri Lanka and IWMI,” Elouafi said. “We are grateful for the long-term support provided by Sri Lanka as host country for IWMI’s global headquarters. We value the continuous support of the Ministry of Irrigation and the facilitation they provide for IWMI’s operations in Sri Lanka. Our decades of cooperation have paved the way for research and innovation towards sustainable water management in Sri Lanka and the world.”
Elouafi outlined the current governance reforms underway at CGIAR, and the role of Host Countries in relation to the governance structure, acknowledging the government’s support and contribution towards the transition. She introduced her vision for CGIAR and highlighted key areas of cooperation that are of particular interest to Sri Lanka’s development goals, such as water security, food and agriculture, climate resilience and rural livelihoods.
“With its global presence and diverse research expertise, there are a multitude of opportunities to use CGIAR’s integrated capabilities to better serve Sri Lanka’s development priorities,” said IWMI’s Director General Mark Smith. “Through IWMI’s presence in Sri Lanka and our continued partnership with the government, we have the unique opportunity to leverage our joint efforts through science to build water and food security, and climate resilience.”
Also at the meeting were Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister, and Syon Niyogi, IWMI’s Chief Operating Officer.