Minutes of AARINENA Executive Committee Meeting

Muscat –Oman

 7th of January, 2008



Dr. Ahmed Al-Bakri , President
Dr. Ismail Muharram, Vice President
Dr. Majd Jamal, Mashreq Subregion Representative
Mr. Adnan Gibriel, Maghreb Sub Region (Partial participation)*
Dr. Ajit Maru, GFAR
Dr. George Ayad, Bioversity International
Dr. Ahmed Sidahmed, ICARDA
Dr. Stephen Rudgard, FAO
Dr. Magdi Latif, FAO
Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan Executive Secretary


Dr. Al Bakri welcomed the Committee members and wished them pleasant stay in Muscat. The agenda of the meeting was adopted as follows:

1-Approval of the last Committee meeting
2-Progress Report
3-Constitutional amendments
4-PGR Network
5-North Africa SRO
7-Global Challenge
8-Revising Priority Setting and Country Profiles
9-CGIAR and NGO Rep. in the EXCO .
10 –Reciprocal Membership
11 –Preparation for the 11th GC
12- Financial and Membership Status

Item 1- The committee approved the minutes of the last meeting.

Item2- The Executive Secretary presented the progress report on AARINENA activities since the last meeting. The committee appreciated the progress achieved during this period and inquired about the absence of activities regarding Livestock. Dr. Sidahmed suggested that AARINENA task force member Dr. S. Galal attend ICARDA /IFAD expert consultation on small ruminant aimed towards developing ruminant research strategy in the dry areas to be held in early March 2008. The consultation will provide opportunity for discussions among global and regional leaders in livestock research and development. The Committee recommended that the outcomes of this meeting to be reported to the 11th General Conference.

Item 3- The amendments on the constitution that was recommended in the last EXCO meeting in Aleppo were incorporated in the Constitution and General Rules of Procedures in collaboration with Dr. Roozitalab. The committee requested that these amendments be submitted to all AARINENA members 60 days before the 11th General Conference for adoption.

Item 4- The PGR concept note prepared by Dr. M. Zehni was presented by Dr. Ayad. Members of the committee indicated the need for such network for exchange of information among scientist working in the region who feels isolated. BI and GFAR representatives indicated that there are no funds allocated for this activity, However BI representative indicated the technical support for this regional initiative including collaboration with the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The committee recommended circulating a brief page summary to all member countries requesting their interest for hosting the proposed network secretariat.

Item 5- The committee reviewed the proposed North Africa Sub region Organization (NASRO) constitution, that was prepared according to the Entebbe Declaration and recommended to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between AARINENA and FARA with respect to the content of the proposed constitution, and recommended to discuss this issue further in the 11th General Conference of AARINENA.

Item 6- A presentation on NERAKIN (Near East Rural and Agricultural Information and Knowledge Network) was made by FAO representatives, Dr. Rudgard and Mr. Majdi Latif. They outlined the origins of the regional networking concept developed by GFAR and FAO evolving from the AGRIS and Global-RAIS initiatives. They presented the achievements in 2007 on development of the prototype NERAKIN information system and awareness raising around the concept and tools. They outlined the challenges for 2008-2009 in launching the network concept and system, as well as building country capacities to work at national level and to contribute to the regional network. The Committee agreed that the NERAKIN system would be informally launched during January 2008, to the national Information Focal Units, and the Network would be formally launched in the 11th General Conference in Damascus.

Item 7- GFAR representative Dr. Maru presented his perspective of global challenges to ARD using elements of the GFAR business plan 2007-2009. He outlined how GFAR is responding to these challenges. There several areas which should be taken up by AARINENA such as in balancing farm incomes with food security in light of the rising price of food and bio-fuels .Other issues that should interest AARINENA members are in reorienting agriculture research, education and extension linkages in the WANA region and improving knowledge access to small producers.

Item 8- ICARDA representative Dr. Sidahmed presented the activities made by the task group regarding the priority setting and described the previous activities conducted by AARINENA , ISNAR, FAO and ICARDA since 1996 . Then reported about the formation of a task group on this issue and indicated the group recommendation for holding an expert consultation on the thematic priorities meeting back to back with the 11th General Conference. He then summarized the concept note by IFPRI regarding country profiles. The committee recommended preparing a full proposal to be presented to donors, while Dr. Maru suggested waiting for two months upon the finalization of the return on investment report by GFAR.

Item 9- With regards to CGIAR and NGO representatives at the EXCO, it was recommended to contact CGIAR Alliance recommending ICARDA to be the CGIAR representative member at AARINENA executive committee. As for the Civil Society Organization representative, it was recommended that the elected NGO representative in the WANA region serve as a member for three years followed by Farmers Organization representative.

Item 10- The committee approved the membership of Arab Society for Plant Protection (ASPP) on a reciprocal basis in which AARINENA will also be a member with ASPP as the case of AARINENA and APAARI without the payment of annual subscription fees for both organizations.

Item 11: With regards to the preparations for the 11th AARINENA General Conference; Dr. Jamal indicated that his institution is ready for hosting the Conference and requested to receive ahead of a minimum of two months the number and the list of participants to prepare processing entry Visa and hotel reservations and local logistics. The Committee recommended holding the conference during the period of 20-22 of October 2008 for 3 days including one day for revisiting priority setting consultation.

Item12: The Executive Secretary presented the membership of financial status up to 31st December 2007. The report showed an increase in the country membership status compared to 2006 which resulted in an increase in the balance of the fund as compared to the balance in 2006 despite the increase in the activities expenditures in 2007. Few member countries have not paid their membership fees such as Libya, UAE and Malta. Palestine and Iraq have requested the postponement of their subscription fees until their local and economic situation is resolved.

At the End of the meeting Dr. Al-Bakri closed the meeting by thanking, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, all the participants and wished them a safe journey back home.


Related Links:

The EXCO Meeting Agenda

Archive of all previous EXCO Meetings' Minutes