Minutes of the 3rd AARINENA-RAIS ICT Steering Committee Meeting

25-26 April 2006
ICARAD, Amman, Jordan

1. Opening Session

1.1- Representatives from Iran, Morocco, Oman, Lebanon, Yemen, GFAR, FAO, and AOAD have attended the opening session of the newly elected AARINENA-RAIS-ICT Steering Committee.
1.2- Welcoming speech was given by Dr. Abdel-Nabi Fardous, the President of AARINENA, who welcomed the participants to Amman and expressed his pleasure and congratulation to the newly elected ICT-RAIS Steering Committee. Dr. Fardous has emphasized the role of the AARINENA-RAIS-ICT in the development of the information systems of NARS in the WANA region. He also indicated that this meeting is the first official meeting for the newly elected steering committee, and has expressed his wishes for a successful follow up meetings and actions. At the end, he thanked ICARDA for organizing and hosting the meeting.
1.3- Dr. Ajit Maru, the representative of GFAR, has given a statement emphasizing GFAR’s support for the future activities of AARINENA-RAIS Steering Committee. He underlined the importance of improved dialogue and communications at the national, sub-regional and regional levels and that RAIS could provide the forum for this.
1.4- Prof. Dr. Ahmed Rafea, the former AARINENA-RAIS Chjairman, has given a briefing statement about the Steering Committee activities during the last three years and has provided some important guiding hints on further steps and the objectives of the present meeting.
1.5- Dr Ibrahim Hamdan, the Secretary of AARINENA Executive Committee, has welcomed all attendees in the meeting and delivered a statement on the future directions of the newly elected Steering Committee.

2. Approval of the meeting Agenda

The meeting agenda was approved to include the following issues:
-Changing in the chairmanship
-Briefing by the former Chairman (Dr. Ahmed Rafea)
-Briefing by the new chairman (Dr. Mohamed N. Sallam)
-Business plan for RAIS-ICT 2007 – 2009
-Work plan for 2006-05-09
-Next meeting for the Steering Committee

3. Proceedings of the meeting

3.1- At the outset of the SC meeting, the elected chairman from Lebanon, Robert Kalaily has decided to withdraw for Dr Mohamed Sallam from Yemen for the following reasons:
-Pressure of tasks on him back home
-Dr Sallam is the only competitor candidate
-Equal votes received for the two of them (6 votes each)

3.2- Dr Ahmed Rafea, the former AARINENA-RAIS SC chairman, has presented a briefing statement on the latest developments of RAIS with a summary on all activities that took place after the Cairo meeting and the election of the Steering Committee. A complete report was provided in electronic format, the most important points emphasized by the report were as follows:
-General introduction
-Main achievements of AARINWNA-RAIS Steering Committee
-Main constraints faced ICT committee in the last three years
In order to improve ICT-RAIS in the future, Dr Rafea suggested the following actions:
-Developing the suit of tools proposed in the project to be implemented and train Information Specialists on them, will have a great impact
-Focal point specialist must be identified in each country
-Amending the TOR for the Steering Committee to handle cases when a member resigns or is not cooperating
-Building on the strengths existing in the region
-Continuing in establishing channels with other regions

3.3- Dr. Mohamed Sallam, the new ICT-RAIS Chairman has made a briefing statement calling for mutual collaboration between all members of the new Steering Committee.

3.4- Concerning ICT-RAIS Business Plan 2007-2009, it was agreed that it will be prepared and submitted by September 2006 before GFAR meeting in New Delhi India. The main issues selected for the coming three years were as follows:
-Identifying focal points in the member countries
-Preparation of terms of reference for the concerned focal points
-Use of GIS in improving data processing and data use
-Consolidating the preparation of ICT national strategies and policies
-Articulating outputs from the former steering committee particularly suite of tools for NAIS.
-Thematic linkage with RAIS
-Human capacity building programs
-Measure impact of ICT on agricultural development
-Advocacy issues.

3.5- Work plan for the remaining period of 2006 is to be consolidated focusing on the following issues:
-Advocacy for NARS leaders ( I Hamdan, Nihad Report / AARINENA Website report , Region)
-Inter regional consultation (Bangkok July 3 – 5 th 2006) -Technical session for Advocacy / Content / integration
-Terms of reference for focal points: contact APAARI and FARA representatives for collecting their TOR for focal points
-Regional Report : (Dr Jamal and Dr Rafea are working on it)

3.6- The next Steering Committee meeting is suggested to be held in Yemen in June 2006 (Mini meeting).

3.7- It was agreed that, due to their past experience in information systems, Dr Ahmed Rafea and Dr Jamal Al-Rusheidat were co-opted as
honorary members of the AARINENA-RAIS-ICT Steering Committee for the coming three years.

3.8- One seat for Civil society Organization in the Steering Committee of AARINENA-RAIS is to be provided in addition to AOAD / ICARDA and FAO representatives.

Appendix 1- Summary of the country reports

1. Twelve country reports were presented during the meeting representing all five sub regions. The countries were Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Oman, and Yemen. Representatives from UAE and Malta were not present, but have sent their country reports by emails.
2. The reports focused on the present situation of ICT in the respective countries, the development of information systems, the challenges facing ICT development, and the recommended actions to be taken to overcome the prevailing constraints.
3. Progress in the ICT infrastructures, ICT performance, and partnership with the private sector were clearly noticed in the reports of many countries as compared to what have been presented in the year 2003 in Cairo.
4. Common challenges and constraints affecting ICT development in many countries were concluded to be as follows:
-Low awareness and attitudes towards information technology
-Incomplete strategies and policies specially in the agricultural information systems,
-Low capacity and human resource development,
-Low levels of coordination and communication among the different ICT sectors.
5. The important recommendations to overcome ICT constraints were focused on the following issues:
-Development of sound ICT policies and strategies
-Improvement of capacity building programs
-Improve coordination and communication between ICT sectors and among member countries.

Appendix 2 - List of Participants

Dr. Abdel Naby Fardous,
President, AARINENA AARINENA Tel: 00962-6-4725017
Fax: 00962-6-4726009 : fardous@ncartt.gov.jo 

Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan
Executive Secretary AARINENA Tel:+962-6-5525750
Fax: +962-6-5525930 i.hamdan@cgiar.org 

Dr. Ahmed Rafea
Prof. Egypt Tel: +202-7604727
Fax: +2027617628 rafea@claes.sci.eg

Mrs. Taraneh Ebrahimi
AARINENA-RAIS Secretary Iran Tel:+98-21-22413931
Fax: +98-21-22413931 t-ebrahimi@aarinena.org 

Mr. Robert Kalaily
IT Manager of LARI Lebanon Tel:+961-3-802585
Fax: +961-8-901577 rkalaily@lari.gov.lb 

Mr. Otman Sebbata
Head of information & documentation Unit Morocco Tel:+212-37-774459
Fax: +212-37-203660 sebbata@inra.org.ma 

Mr. Hamed Al-Dhuhli
Researcher Oman Tel:+968-99204060
Fax: +968-26893097 Hamed444@yahoo.com 

Dr. Mohammad Sallam
Director of Ext. Programs Yemen Tel: +967-77301426
Fax: +967-6-423914 Sallam2003@yemen.net.ye 

Dr. Al Sadig Osman
Programmer Information Division AOAD Tel:+249-912235266
Fax: +249-83-471402 sadig@aoad.org 

Dr. Magdi Latif
FAO Regional Information Management officer FAO/RNE Tel:+20-2-3316148
Fax: +20-2-7495981 magdi.latif@far.org

Dr. Ajit Maru
NARS Programmes GFAR Tel:+39-06-57054022
Fax: +39-06-57053898 ajit.maru@fao.org



Appendix 2 – The meeting time table for AARINENA-ICT meeting
Program for AARINENA ICT General Assembly Meeting
25-26 April 2006
Amman, Jordan


Tuesday 25 April 2006

09:00 - 09:30 Registration
Opening session
Chairman: Dr Ajit Maru

09:30 - 09:40 AARINENA President Opening Statement
09:40 – 09:50 GFAR Statement (A. Maru)
09:50 – 10:20 ICT Steering Committee Report, Ahmed Rafea
10:20 - 10:50 Coffee-Break

International and Regional Organization Sessions
Chairman: Dr Jamal Al-Rusheidat

10:50 - 11:10 AOAD (S Osman)
11:10 - 11:30 FAO (M. Lutfi)
11:30 – 11:50 GFAR (A. Meru)

11:50 – 13:00 Discussion

13:00 -14:00 Lunch

Country Report Presentations Session
Chairman: Dr Ahmed Rafea

14:00 - 14:20 Iran (T. Ebrahimi)
14:20 – 14:40 Oman (H. Dhuhli)
14:40 – 15:00 Kuwait (M Al-Lingawi)
15:00 – 15:20 Jordan (J. Al-Rusheidat)

15:20 – 15:40 coffee- Break

15:40 – 16:00 Lebanon (R. Kalaily)
16:00 – 16:20 Iraq (A. Abdullah)

Wednesday 26 April 2006

Country Presentations continue
Chairman: Taraneh Ebrahimi

09:00 – 09:20 Cyprus (G. Admides)
09:20 – 09:40 Egypt (S. Idrees)
09:40 – 10:00 Sudan (M. Beshir)
10:00 – 10:20 Yemen (M. Sallam)

10:20 – 10:50 Coffee Break

10:50 - 11:10 Morocco (S. Otman)

11:10 – 12:30 Discussion

12:30 – 13:00 Lunch

Election session
Chairman: Ibrahim Hamdan

13:30 - 14:30 Election of the new ICT committee and Chairman
14:30 – 15:30 Work Plan for the next 3 years