Minutes of the AARINENA Executive Committee Meeting

Dakar, Senegal, May 21ST, 2003



Dr. M.H. Roozitalab, Vice president

Dr. F. Mahrous, Member

Dr. A. Albakry, Member

Dr. T. Azzabi,   Member

Dr. H. Halila, ICARDA

Dr. M. El-Tamzini, FAO/RNE

Dr. I. Hamdan , Interim Executive Secretary

  The meeting was held in Dakar, Senegal on the occasion of GFAR 2003 Conference, which was held during the period from 22-24 May 2003.  Dr. Roozitalab, who apologized for the absence of Dr. Abdel Nabi Fardous, chaired the meeting.  He welcomed the members, the cosponsors representatives from FAO and ICARDA who attended the meeting.

Three items were added to the Agenda under other issues: a) General Rules of procedures, b) Medi-Agri and c)Networks.

  1. The minutes of Oman Executive Committee meeting was approved.  

  2.   Terms of Reference for AARINENA-ICT Steering Committee were presented by Dr.  

        Hamdan on behalf of Dr. Ahmed Rafea. The Committee approved the terms of  

        reference after making the following amendments:

a.      Under composition of the  Committee: the membership of Organizations' representatitives was changed from Associate members to members.

b.      Under Travel Expenses:

      the first paragraph was amended to: "AARINENA will mobilize resources from cosponsors and other donors to support the travel expenses of  the steering committee institution members while the members of the Organizations'  representatitives will be supported by their Organizations".


3.  Work Plan Status:

The work plan adopted in the 8th General Conference in Amman was reviewed by the committee to monitor the progress achieved since last meeting:

  a.      Date Palm Network: AARINENA Regional Date Palm Network was merged with the Global Date Palm Network (GDPN) and AARINENA was included to the Governing board of the Network.

Dr. Mahrous stated that he will be attending, on behalf of AARINENA, the first board meeting that will be held in Cairo 10-11 June, 2003.

 b.      Olive Oil Network: Dr. Taher Azzabi stated that he had contacted the Olive Oil Institute in SFAXS, Tunisia who were interested to host a meeting for Olive Oil Network consideration.

The committee recommended that instead of creating a new network, efforts must be directed to link with the existing FAO Network "European System of Cooperative Research Network in Agriculture (ESCORNA) which is an Inter-regional (REU & RNE) to avoid duplication.  Contacts to be made to Mr. Larbier who is managing ESCORNA Networks to link AARINENA initiative on olive oil to the existing Olive Network.

It was recommended to organize a workshop on Olive Oil to be hosted by Olive Oil Institute, SFAXS, Tunisia.  Dr. Azzabi will follow up on this task, while

AARINENA secretariat will seek a sponsor for the meeting  from interested organizations: ICARDA, CHEAM, FAO/RNE and INRA.

c.      Herbal and Medicinal Plants Network: The Committee recommended contacting IPIGRI to solicit their support for establishing this network.  Dr. Mahrous recommended contacting Dr. Farouk ElShobake from  the Egyptian Society for  Medicinal  Plants for hosting a workshop for interested countries in the Region for the promotion of Herbal and Medicinal plant production, processing and marketing.  It was recommended to contact Prof. A. Scicluna-Spiteri from Malta to get involved in this activity due to his long experience with Medicinal Plants. A follow up meeting with Dr. El-Shobaki, Dr. Mahrous and Dr. Hamdan will be planned.

d.      Coton Network: Dr. Roozitalab indicated that the Interregional Cotton Network for Asia and North Africa was established in 2002 and hosted  by  AREO, Iran  with  co sponsorship of AARINENA , APPARI,CAC,GFAR and ICARDA. Each should support and contribute initially $ 5000.00 to the activities of the Network.  More information could be obtained on this Network from AARINENA Website.


-   The Committee reviewed the progress made on AARINENA Website, which is operational and recommended to seek the assistance of Dr. Ahmed Rafea to link an Arabic version to the existing Website.

-   Dr. Hamdan stated that an Expert Consultation on ICT to strengthen AARINENA RAIS was held in Cairo, February 2003 and resulted in the selection of a steering committee chaired by Dr. Ahmed Rafea from Egypt.  The first meeting of this committee will be hosted by ICARDA in Aleppo and supported by GFAR on July 28th, 2003.

f.        International Treaty on Plant Genetics: Dr. Roozitalab recommended that AARINENA countries to officially ratify this treaty.


Agriculture priority settings: The Executive Committee was informed by Dr. Halila that ICARDA is publishing the final document developed on the priority setting exercise conducted in CWANA.  The document, which will be out soon, can be consulted on line on the web site of ICARDA.

Dr. Roozitalab indicated that this study was a joint imitative between ICARDA and AARINENA and sincerely thanked ICARDA for its great and significant contribution to this project.  He further stated that ICARDA contributed more than U.S. $ 200,000 to  this regional project  for organizing   4 workshops in AARINENA region and one  General Conference  with participation of various NARS leaders both from NARIs and universities and representatives of NGOs, farmer organizations and Private sector from CWANA region in May 2002.  

4.   Role of Cosponsors:

Dr. Roozitalab mentioned few examples of the role of cosponsors to assist regional associations.  He stated that  

AARINENA was established on the basis of the 14th & 16th FAO Regional Conference in 1983 with the   

sponsorship of FAO, ICARDA and ISNAR.

He mentioned that FAO Regional Office in Akra is hosting FARA secretariat and providing strong support to it.  He indicated the support and commitment of FAO Regional Office in Bangkok to  APAARI.  He stated that FORAGRO in Latin America is making some progress by the support provided by Latin American Governments. He indicated that AARINENA and CAC have some problems due to the weakness of NARS and limited  support.  He pointed out that in order to have a strong Regional  Fora, then strong support also from the Cosponsors and governments should be provided.

He appreciated the assistance of FAO Regional office for the operation of the trust fund but he indicated that AARINENA expect more support to its activity from its cosponsors.

He indicated that ISNAR support was decreasing due to the problems that are facing ISNAR at the present time.

He concluded that AARINENA is not an implementing body but it is mainly a regional forum and platform to discuss issues on agricultural research and development and promote strong collaboration among NARS as well as other ARD stakeholders in the WANA t Region. 


Dr. Al-Barky commented that no action was made on some of the recommendations of the executive committee meeting in Oman; such as sending a letter of invitation to Saudi Arabia to join AARINENA, letters of invitations to non- member countries and a letter to the FAO Director General, requesting support to the Association.  He suggested visits to be made by the President and Vice President to non-member countries and Universities to promote AARINENA activities.


Dr. Azzabi indicated that many NARS Institutions in the Region do not know AARINENA and there is a need for more actions to promote AARINENA by distributing Arabic brochures to all countries in the Region.


Dr. El Tamzini explained that in order to improve AARINENA activities and financial status, AARINENA Sub-regional Representatives should carry out some specific tasks.  He recommended that the Executive Committee members should conduct missions to non-members countries within their sub-region and invites them to join the Association.  He recommended public relation missions by the President and Vice President to potential donors and prospective members. Dr. Eltamzini suggested establishing AARINENA calendar and brochures that include AARINENA mission, objectives and achievements to be distributed to all countries with the aim to double membership. 


Dr. Roozitalab proposed to seek a grant from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) requesting U.S. $ 200,000 to strengthen AARINENA and RAIS  Secretariats as well as regional projects.  He mentioned that he has already discussed this issue with IDB Vice President who stated that in order to secure such grant this would require the support of two Islamic Country members or more.

He indicated that he will secure the support of Iran and will ask Dr. Fardous to contact the Jordanian representative in the IDB to secure his support for this proposal. He mentioned that a two-page letter should be prepared to include the names of   the Islamic Countries who are members of AARINENA , objectives and the main achievements of AARINENA in the last 2-3 years.


5.   Financial & Membership Status:

Dr. ElTamzini presented the  financial statement  of the Association.  The statement shows that out of the (17) member countries & organizations: 5 members did not pay their dues for the year 2001 and 7 members did not pay for the year 2002 and 12 members did not pay their dues for the current year(2003).  The statement also shows the balance due to each member and the in kind support of the cosponsors to the activities of AARINENA. Dr. El-Tamzini explained in details the revenues and total expenses of the Association for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. He indicated that current balance during this period was $106,411 but the actual figure could be less due to expenses committed and still not recorded.

  Dr. Al Bakry commented on the statement that there was a discrepancy between this statement and previous statements and requested that such discrepancy be sorted out. Dr. El Tamzini responded that this is not an official statement and explained that some countries pay their dues of the previous year in the following years and sometimes the source of  the transfer funds to the bank is not known and requires a continuous follow up.


6. Preparation of the 9th General Conference:

-         Dr. Al Bakry requested that AARINENA President send an official letter to the Minister of Agriculture in Oman specifying the date of the 9th General  Conference.  He recommended that the conference be held during the second week of April 2004.


7.Executive Secretary status:

-         Dr. Hamdan briefed the meeting on the current activity status, he mentioned that he was assisting Nisreen in finalizing pending issues in the last three months, such as: a) editing and distributing the minutes of Oman meeting b)finalizing AARINENA ICT meeting and preparing and distributing the final  report c)sending reminders to members who did not pay their dues and letters of invitations to all non-members to join the association d) editing  AARINENA Newsletter which is processed for printing by FAO/RNE and e)assisting the President in preparing the WANA delegation to GFAR 2003.

He indicated that he was provided recently with an office space and a part time secretary by FAO Regional Office to assist AARINENA secretariat.

The Executive Committee requested Dr. Hamdan to serve as Executive Secretary of the Association up to May, 2004 on a part time basis.


    8.Other issues:

a)      General rules of procedures

The committee recommended printing the general rules of procedures that was approved by the 8th General Conference and distributed to all members.

b)     Medi-Agri

Dr. Halila draw the attention of the committee members that AARINENA may wish to develop a position with regards to FARA is an umbrella for research in Africa and therefore covers theoretically few countries which belong also to AARINENA.The committee asked Dr. Mahrous to coordinate AARINENA efforts regarding Medi-Agri and to contact ARC President to explain to him AARINENA position.

c)      Networks

AARINENA to coordinate the activities of the Network that was established (Date-Palm and Interregional Cotton networks) and provide link between these networks and AARINENA RAIS-Website.


At the end of the meeting, the members and cosponsors representatives requested the secretary to forward a message to Dr. Abdel Nabi Fardous wishing his son a speedy and full recovery.