Minutes of AARINENA Executive Committee Meeting

            Held in Oman, 27-28 December, 2002


Dr. Adel Nabi Fardous, President of AARINENA, chaired the meeting and the agenda was adopted with the addition of the item on  “research priority settings and sub-regional Vercon”.


1.Adoption of Last Meeting Minutes


The meeting approved the minutes of the last executive committee meeting that was held in Amman in May 2002. The president briefed the meeting on the recommendations made regarding the trust fund, which will remain with FAO/RNE in Cairo until FAOR/Amman open a separate account.

With regard to the Executive secretary, he informed the meeting that Mr. Ra’ed Dadwan apologized due to personal reasons, then he asked Mrs. Nisreen  AlShawahneh to do the secretarial work.

The work plan and budget for medicinal and herbal plant network will be discussed for implementation and follow up on the operational steps.



                                                                                    2. ICT Consultation Meeting


Dr. Roozitalab informed the meeting about the importance of such ICT Consultation Meeting for AARINENA and GFAR. The main objective of this Meeting is to enhance the agricultural information system in WANA region with cooperation of all stakeholders in ARD including GFAR, FAO, ICARDA, AOAD, CIHEAM, etc. He mentioned the importance of having such regional information system and emphasized the GFAR’s support for this activity in all regional fora.  A questionnaire will be distributed to all of the participants before the start of the Meeting. This questionnaire will provide updated information related to ICT development in member countries of AARINENA.

In this regard, GFAR will also organize an Electronic Discussion Forum on its web site www.egfar.org in order to provide an instrument for wide contribution of all participants and others in development of the Meeting Agenda. Then, the meeting agenda will be reexamined and revised again.                                       

A National Information Nodal Point for each country will be elected during the Meeting. Contributions from FAO, ICARDA, ISNAR, IPGRI and other organizations will be highly desirable. An effective and comprehensive Steering Committee will also be needed to oversee and monitor the progress made by the AARINENA-RAIS

GFAR will financially support this meeting by providing US $ 14,000 to AARINENA. However, AARINENA should seek more contributions from other organizations such as FAO/RNE and ICARDA. ARC in Egypt will host the meeting and Dr. Ahmad Rafea will be kindly asked to act as the coordinator of the meeting.






3        – Post Harvest Workshop.


Dr. Mohamed ElTamzini gave some highlights on Post Harvest Training Workshop. He stated that the training workshop is a follow up of the recommendation of The Regional Post harvest Workshop held in Cairo February 2002.The region lacks trainers in Post harvest management. Therefore, FAO/RNE, in collaboration with AARINENA and NCARTT, is planning to conduct three Post harvest Training Workshops (Training of Trainers) in three sub- regions.  The first will be in Amman – NCARTT, the second in Tunisia and the third in Iran or Turkey.  


4.- Science and Technology Strategies for Improving Agriculture Productivity and Food Security in Africa Workshop (IAC):

AARINENA will participate without any financial contribution in this meeting.  Morocco will be the place for holding this workshop and Dr. Narjissi will be the Focal person. Invitations letters to be sent to Dr. Azzabi and Dr. Mohammed Khalifa. There is a need for a study on technology transfer to the end users. With the help of ICARDA, AARINENA will have a team to collect information and consultations.


5-AARINENA Memberships


The members welcomed Tunisia for joining AARINENA.

The secretariat to prepare background invitation membership letter to be sent to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain in Arabic and English, Dr. Al Bakri and Dr. Tawfeek for follow up. 

A letter was received from Prof. Spitiri requesting Malta withdrawal from AARINENA Membership. The executive committee members stressed on the importance of Malta and Cyprus membership in AARINENA and the role they could play as a liaison between the Region and Europe. Attempts are ongoing to convince Malta to reconsider its decision; specially Malta has already paid its contribution for the year 2002.



6. Medicinal, Herbal and Olive Plants Networks:


It was indicated that these networks should be part of AARINENA activities, GFAR will support a workshop for   medicinal and herbal that will be hosted in one of Iran institutions; the suggested date is May 2003. Tunisian institution could be a good venue for the olive network. The recommended date for the meeting is October – November 2003. ARISA to be contacted by Dr. Azzabi for hosting the meeting. ICARDA has already similar project on the collection of olives of different varieties in Tel Hadia, and IPGRI to be contacted for collaboration.


7. Date Palm Network

Dr. Roozitalab gave a brief history for the Date Palm Network in the region. Based on the recommendation of last Executive committee meeting that AARINENA should merge its effort, on Date Palm activities, with recently established Global Date Palm Network, hosted by UAE and based on the GDPN request for AARINENA support, Dr. El Tamzini suggested to positively respond to GDPN request for its importance to the region. The Committee recommended the support of four participants, including Egypt, for the GDPN activities. AARINENA is looking forward to be the host of one of the working groups in the network.


8. GFAR 2003-Dakar Meeting:


The meeting will be during the period of 22-24th of May 2003. One from each sub region should represent AARINENA in the meeting by preparing

 Success story of their sub regions and posters. Some examples of these success stories:



9- Executive Secretary:


Dr. M. Roozitalab emphasized the importance of the Executive Secretary for AARINENA. Dr. M. El Tamzini suggested recruiting of Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan to act as interim Executive Secretary, for the period January to June 2003 ,  for his experience in both AARINENA affairs and International Organizations. AARINENA should make soon a vacancy announcement for the post to select the executive secretary according to AARINENA constitution.

-The AARINENA could contact the dignitary officers in FAO-HQ; Dr. Diouf and  Dr. Mahmoud ElSolh  to assist in appointing a full time officer to help AARINENA and

-Establishing a permanent office for the Secretariat.


-10--AARINENA Newsletter.


-The formatting needs revision. The newsletter is part of Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan responsibly for the next 6 months (Up to June, 2003).

-The newsletter should be distributed through e-mails.

- Space in the newsletter is to be provided for the organizations to include their news


11- Agricultural Priority Settings:


Dr. Mohan Saxena informed the meeting that within the new strategy formulated by CGIAR for the adoption of regional approach to research planning and integration of regional priorities with global priorities, ICARDA was given the responsibility for implementing this recommendation for the CWANA region in collaboration with sub-regional forums such as AARINENA and NARS. Accordingly, ICARDA organized a series of consultations, in close collaboration with these sub-regional forums, to re-visit agricultural research priorities in the region and to enhance CGIAR/NARS integration in the CWANA region 

Five sub-regional brainstorming meetings were held between September 2001 and January 2002, covering CAC; Nile Valley and Red Sea; West Asia; North Africa; and Arabian Peninsula sub-regions, with the aim of having multi-stakeholder discussions on identification of agricultural research priorities of each sub-region. These sub-regional meetings were followed by a broader regional meeting in May 2002 at ICARDA in which senior representatives of CWANA countries, AARINENA, CAC Forum, GFAR, six CGIAR Centers and three regional organization/centers participated. The aim was to identify regional research priorities.  Recommendations were developed for implementation of the identified regional research priorities and to improve the impact in short or medium term future. They could be grouped in five major headings: (a) General recommendations; (b) Gap analysis; (c) Mechanism for implementation; (d) Challenge Programs and their importance to the region; and (e) Follow-up committee. The results of the exercise is compiled in a short report entitled 'Setting Agricultural Research Priorities for the Central and West Asia and North Africa Region', which has been given to the President and the Vice president of the AARINENA. It would be desirable that AARINENA, CAC Forum and ICARDA jointly published this report, and widely distributed for information and for getting feedback before implementation of the recommendations contained therein. It could also be put on the web site of AARINENA.

There was a discussion following this, in which Dr Roozitalab suggested that after some more gap analysis, the report could be published as AARINENA/CAC Forum/ICARDA document possibly before the next meeting of the Executive Committee. He suggested it could take the same shape as the report prepared by the Asia and Pacific Association of Agricultural Institutions (APAARI).




12. Financial Report:


Dr. ElTamzini gave a brief of the financial situation of AARINENA, he indicated that the financial situation is dangerous and AARINENA should look for a new source of funds from donor agencies working in the Region. He requested follow up on the payments and indicated that letters should be sent to heads of institutions requesting payments with copies to sub-regional representatives for follow up.




13. Other business:

¨     VERCON:  Dr. El Tamzini gave some highlights on VERCON, he stated that a vercon pilot project, using internet applied to strengthen research- extension linkages for agricultural sustainable developed in the region was established in joint venture between FAO and Egypt.  The vercon prototype is already operational. The objective is to establish one or more sub-regional vercons for agricultural research and technology development in the region. It was suggested FAO in collaboration with AARINENA  to arrange a visit the Mashereq sub-region to solicit the approval of the governments of Jordan, Lebanon and  Syria, to utilize this system as a pilot project for special crops especially Mashreq sub region representative, during INA workshop, December, 2002, requested to initiate this project . .

¨     Training course for research managers on research management and operations: A proposal is needed, and will be discussed in the next meeting.

¨     One of the priorities is research management that could be organized by ICARDA with ISNAR help.








14. Date and Place of the next Executive Committee Meeting.


The next meeting will be held in Dakar during  GFAR 2003 Conference in May 2003.


15-Closing Remarks:


The Executive Committee recommended the following: