Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases

New Zealand is a member of the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Global Research Alliance?

The Mission of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) is to bring countries together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It was launched in December 2009.

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How is New Zealand involved in the GRA?

New Zealand is a founding member, the current GRA Secretariat, is one of the Co-Chairs of the Livestock Research Group, and was GRA Council Chair (2011-2012).

The New Zealand Government committed $45 million to the work of the GRA in 2010 and in 2016 announced a further 20 million out to June 2020 to fund research in the area of greenhouse gas emissions mitigation in pasture based temporal livestock systems.

New Zealand is represented in the GRA by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), working closely with the environment and climate change groups from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). MPI contracts the NZAGRC to manage New Zealand’s involvement in the Livestock Research Group and New Zealand’s GRA science research activities.

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What is the GRA Livestock Research Group?

The Livestock Research Group (LRG) is focused on reducing the emissions intensity of livestock production systems and increasing the quantity of carbon stored in soils supporting those systems.

The LRG is co-chaired by NZAGRC Director Dr Harry Clark and Dr Sinead Waters from Teagasc Ireland.

The LRG Vision is to:

  1. Increase agriculture production with lower emissions
  2. Improve global cooperation in research & technology
  3. Work with farmers and partners to provide knowledge

Read below for details on the workings of the LRG and GRA.

For more information on the group check out the December 2018 LRG newsletter at: 

GRA Research Flagships

When it met in 2016, the GRA Council approved the development of four flagship programmes as a way of defining research priorities and attracting resourcing.

The flagships are:

  1. Enteric fermentation
  2. Agricultural greenhouse gas inventories
  3. Soil carbon sequestration
  4. Water management in rice production

The Council received presentations on each of the four flagships, and discussed the prospects for two further flagships – one on the ‘circular food system’ and the other on nitrous oxide. The Netherlands will lead development of a taskforce to explore a flagship on circular food systems, and the Croplands Research Group will take the nitrous oxide flagship forward.

Details on the Enteric Fermentation Flagship and its four initial projects are available at,listing,445,towards-low-emissions-livestock-the-gras-enteric-fermentation-flagship.html

In terms of the other two flagships of relevance to the LRG, the Council was presented with seven high-level project concepts for the Inventory Flagship, including development of guidance on incorporating mitigation into national inventories, guidance on higher Tier inventories, and guidance on incorporating manure management emissions in inventories; database and inventory refinement for greenhouse gas emissions associated with manure and nitrogen management; and regional or country specific project ideas.

The Soil Carbon Sequestration Flagship will focus mostly on activities within the existing ‘Coordination of International Research Cooperation on Soil Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture (CIRCASA) initiative, funded by the FACCE-JPI. CIRCASA aims to strengthen the international research community on soil carbon sequestration in relation to climate change and food security; improve our understanding of agricultural soil carbon sequestration and its potential for mitigation, adaptation and increasing food production; co-design a strategic research agenda with stakeholders on soil carbon sequestration; and create an ‘International Research Consortium’ (funding model) in this area. The Flagship will also assess options for soil carbon sequestration in grazing systems and set up a ‘soil microbiome for soil carbon’ network.

The GRA Secretariat is now working with flagship leaders to collate the project ideas and identify which ones have the leadership, support and resourcing needed to succeed. Countries and partners will be invited to review this and indicate their support for specific activities. For more information on the flagships, please contact


This article originally appeared in the Livestock Reserach Group newsletter October 2017, which can be viewed at 

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