Report and Proceedings "Summary of the Second Regular Meeting of the Coordinating Board"
The Second Regular Meeting of the Coordinating Board (CB) of NEAR EAST and North Africa Plant Genetic Resources (NENAPGRN) was convened in Cairo, Egypt during 18 – 20 September 2012. The meeting was organized by NENAPGRN in collaboration with the National Genebank of Egypt. It was sponsored by the Secretariat of the Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa (AARINENA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for the Near East (FAO/RNE).
Report and Proceedings "Summary of the Second Regular Meeting of the Coordinating Board"
NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES NETWORK
Report and Proceedings
Summary of the Second Regular Meeting
of the Coordinating Board
18-20 September 2012
NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PLANT GENETIC
RESOURCES NETWORK (NENA PGRN)
Report and Proceedings Summary of the Second Regular
Meeting of the Coordinating Board
18-20 September 2012: Cairo, Egypt
The Second Regular Meeting of the Coordinating Board (CB) of NEAR EAST and North
Africa Plant Genetic Resources (NENAPGRN) was convened in Cairo, Egypt during 18 –
20 September 2012. The meeting was organized by NENAPGRN in collaboration with
the National Genebank of Egypt. It was sponsored by the Secretariat of the Association of
Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa (AARINENA) and
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for the Near East
This report briefly describes the proceedings and outcomes of the meeting.
2. Objectives of the meeting
The meeting was convened as a regular meeting for the CB to consider a number of items
and decide on a number of issues including the following:
Adoption of the regional plant genetic resources (PGR) Strategy for Near
East and North Africa as a strategy for NENAPGRN.
Financial requirements for the network.
Implementation of the regional PGR strategy.
Establishment of the Regional Commission for Genetic Resources for
Food and Agriculture in the Near East.
Sharing of PGR information related under NENAPGRN.
Restructuring and activation of the network Technical Working Groups.
The meeting was convened in the Horizon Pyramids Hotel in Cairo.
4. Invitation for participation
Invitations were dispatched by the Network Coordinator to 12 member country focal
points as well as to a number of resource persons from the region in addition to
international and regional organizations of relevance including the FAO, Bioversity
International, Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources For Food
and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the Crop Diversity Trust, ICARDA and the Arab
Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD).
A total of 17 participants have attended the meeting. They represented national focal
points to the network in nine countries, AARINENA Secretariat, and international
organizations in addition to resource persons from within the region. Member countries
represented were Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and
Yemen. International and regional organizations represented were the FAO
(headquarters), FAO/RNE, and ICARDA (Annex 1).
6. Agenda and programme
The agenda of the meeting covered nine major items that were considered by the meeting
during the three days as indicated in Annex 2. Those items were the following:
1. Reporting on the network activities since June 2011.
2. Review and adoption of the regional PGR strategy.
3. Country updating reports.
4. Information needs assessment as an integral component in the proposed PGR
strategy and road map for the development of PGR network.
5. Road map to establishment of the Regional Commission on Genetic Resources for
Food and Agricultural in Near East.
6. Financial requirements for the operation of the network.
7. Work plan for 2012 – 2014.
7. Opening session
The meeting was opened with speeches from the Chair of the CB, representative of the
FAO/RNE, representative of AARINENA Secretariat and the President of the national
Genebank of Egypt.
Dr. Ali H. Allawati, Chair of the CB, welcomed and thanked all participants who traveled
from their bases to attend the meeting. He thanked the hosting country represented by the
National Genebank in Egypt for their effective collaboration in organizing the meeting.
He also a acknowledged the very effective support gained from the FAO/RNE without
their considerable financial support with AARINENA this meeting couldn't be held.
Dr. Muhammad Dost addressed the meeting on behalf of the FAO/RNE indicating their
pleasure to support this activity and participate in it. He also expressed their willingness
to continue collaborating with AARINENA/NENPGRN to advance the cause of the PGR
in the NENA Region. He referred to the importance of having a regional strategy for
conservation and sustainable we of PGR and its interrelation with the national strategies
in this regard.
Dr. Mohammed Alajlouni addressed the meeting on behalf of AARINENA Secretariat
and emphasized the role of NENAPGRN as one of the networks under AARINENA. He
indicated that it was highly necessary to exchange experiences and expertise among the
countries and institutes in the region in the PGR conservation and use. He mentioned that
the challenge was always to change any strategy into action. To do so it is very important
to find means and ways for funding. He expressed his personal readiness to support and
go with NENAPGRN in order to enable it to achieve its objectives and be effective.
Dr. Hanaiya El-Itriby, president of the National Genebank of Egypt, opened the meeting
officially. She provided in her opening statement a historical background on Egypt's
agriculture and plant genetic resources. She praised the efforts exerted by the
AARINENA to make this network a reality, and the consequent efforts by NENAPGRN
to provide a regional platform.
8. Working sessions
Following the official opening, the CB continued meeting according to the sessions
scheduled on the proposed programme. The agenda and programme of the meeting were
then discussed and adopted as attached in Annex 2. Following that the CB dealt with the
different agenda items as programmed through the three days of the meeting.
8.1 Day One: 18 September 2012
Agenda for the first day included dealing with three items as following:
i. Reporting on the network activities since June 2011.
ii. Review and adoption of the Regional PGR Strategy.
iii. Country updating reports.
8.1.1 Reporting on the network activities since June 2011
The Network Coordinator presented a general progress report on activities conducted
under the NENAPGRN during the period extending from June 2011 up to September
2012, which covered the period following the first regular meeting of the Coordinating
Board held in Muscat-Oman during 27-29 June 2011. Those activities and main
achievements as well as constraints and problems were briefly overviewed in the report as
A. Adjustment of the network establishment instrument:
The document by which the NENAPGRN was established was reviewed and adjusted
by September 2011 to serve as the main instrument describing the Network
objectives, composition, governance and administrative set-up. The document was
reviewed and adjusted by Dr. Mohamed Zehni and the task group members
formulated for this purpose.
B. The Joint ECPGR/NENAPGRN workshop on ITPGRFA
As part of the activities of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic
resources (ECPGR) Inter-regional Cooperation Network, a joint workshop between
ECPGR and the NENAPGRN was organized on 28-29 September 2011 in Menemen,
Turkey, with the local support of the Aegean Agricultural Research Institute. The
financial resources for this workshop were made available by ECPGR with
contribution from AARINENA. This workshop was dedicated to exchanging views,
information and experiences related to the implementation of the ITPGRFA. The
workshop emphasized the need for capacity building for the implementation of the
ITPGRFA, at both regional and national levels, as an immediate need for effective
implementation of this Treaty and its Multi-Lateral System in NENA.
C. Regional PGR Strategy:
A draft for regional strategy for conservation and sustainable use of Plant Genetic
Resources (PGR) in NENA region was developed through a consultative process
voluntarily guided and facilitated by Dr. Mohamed S. Zehni for future use by the
NENAPGRN. The draft Strategy was presented to the 12th
General Conference of the
AARINENA held in Kuwait City, Kuwait, from 16 to 17 November 2011. The
General Conference endorsed the Strategy’s main goal and overall intent, with the
view that NENAPGRN Secretariat should seek, by all available means, the views of
the competent national PGR authorities and other interested parties. An initiative by
Bioversity International resulted in a meeting held in Rome during 19-20 December
2011 for the team members contributed to the development of the Strategy draft. The
meeting came out with a number of guidelines and recommendations for a process of
consultation on the Strategy within NENAPGRN member countries. A questionnaire
proposed by the meeting was then used for this purpose. It was circulated by February
2012 to all focal points of 14 countries that are members in the NENAPGRN. Nine
countries have responded and provided their feedbacks up to August 2012.
D. Development of concept notes on identified project ideas
Two concept notes for project proposals were developed on assessment of status of
the current plant genetic resources conservation and sustainable use programmes in
the Near East and North Africa, and plant genetic resources documentation,
information management and exchange, and publication in NENAPGRN. The final
versions of the two concept notes were forwarded by January 2012 to a number of
international organizations requesting their assistance for identifying possible donors
for such proposals. So far, a positive response was received from Mr. Luigi Guarino
from the Trust which has indicated that (resources will probably be available in the
near future for taking forward both GRIN-Global deployment and Genesys data
sharing in NENA region, but cannot be more concrete and specific than that).
E. Preparation of a written proposal on restructuring and of the Technical Working
A brief proposal on restructuring and formation of the Technical Working Groups has
been developed by the Network Coordinator for consideration by the second regular
meeting of the CB.
F. Preparation for the second regular meeting of the Coordinating Board
Preparations to organize the second regular meeting of the NENAPGRN Coordinating
Board started early after the first meeting held in Oman in June 2011 in close linkage
with the National Gene Bank (NGB) in Egypt for necessary logistical arrangements.
The meeting was postponed to be held in September rather than June 2012 according
to the request from hosting institute in Egypt. Efforts by the AARINENA Secretariat
have resulted in securing necessary fund to hold the meeting through considerable
contribution from the FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa
(FAO/RNE) and AARINENA. Invitations were then dispatched to 12 member
country focal points and to a number of resource persons from the region in addition
to the international organizations of relevance including FAO, Bioversity, ITPGRFA
Secretariat, Trust, ICARDA and AOAD.
G. Other activities
NENAPGRN was invited to the workshop on Development Opportunity Crops
Network for the promotion of Agro-biodiversity, which was organized by GlobalHort
under GFAR initiative and guidance during 10-11 January 2012 in Rome, Italy. Dr.
Ali Al Lawati, the present Chair of the CB participated in the workshop on behalf of
NENAPGRN. This workshop brought together a number of participants including
scientists, and development practitioners, from organizations with an applied interest
and experience on agrobiodiversity and specifically focusing on underutilized crops
H. New initiatives
Through efforts initiated by Dr. Ali Al Lawati, Chair of the CB, Animal and Plant
Genetic Resources Centre in Sulatante of Oman has agreed principally with approval
from Dr. Nadiya Al Saadi, the Director of the Centre, to support an activity by
NENAPGRN in Oman before the end of the year. An official request was prepared to
have this activity as a regional forum/workshop under the theme of (Implementation
of the Regional PGR Strategy: Global, Regional and National Roles). This forum has
been proposed to be held during December 2012.
In his general report the Coordinator referred to the major constraints that hampered the
Network from being effective enough during the last period. One of these constraints has
been the lack of necessary financial resources for running the network affairs as well as
for implementing activities agreed upon. Another constraint has been the absence of a full
time Coordinator with necessary assisting Secretariat to run the affairs of the Network as
stipulated in the instrument establishing the Network.
8.1.2 Review and adoption of the Regional PGR strategy
The Coordinator presented an overview on the country feedbacks and comments received
from different countries on the Regional PGR Strategy proposed to be adopted by the
NENAPGRN. These comments were compiled together in one document, which was
circulated to all member countries and participants in the meeting. Nine countries have
responded including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
Sudan. All countries have praised the process and contents of the Strategy draft.
However, different countries provided different inputs suggested for consideration in the
final text of the Strategy. They also expressed their views with regard to the
implementation of this Strategy.
Dr. Mohamed Zehni presented an overview on the Strategy to the meeting. At the
beginning he expressed his gratefulness for being invited to attend the meeting, which he
described as a very important meeting and a new step forward for the Network that was
built on the momentum created in the first meeting in Oman. Dr. Zehni structured his talk
on the Strategy to cover the following lines:
- Why the Strategy?
- The Road to the Strategy.
- The Product.
- The Players.
- Approaches to follow up of Strategies.
- What is next?
- Few Thoughts.
Dr. Zehni mentioned to the meeting that the two factors influenced, to a great extent, the
development of the current Strategy were the under-realized potential in the NENA
region for the PGR, and questions that need answers such as why some of early attempts
at regional cooperation/coordination proved to be unsustainable and eventually fizzled
out? and will new regional initiatives avoid similar fate? and how?
The talk included a description of the process through which the strategy was developed.
This process was described by the speaker as a unique self-inspired initiative, with
voluntary undertaking, that has got the blessing by the higher authority represented by the
General Conference of AARINENA held in Kuwait City, from 16 to 17 November 2011.
The presentation included a brief description of the content of the strategy covering the
four parts of it, which were Part One: Background, Justification and Assessment, Part
Two: Strategy for the Future, Part Three: A Framework for Action and Part Four:
Towards a Regional Information System.
In his talk Dr. Zehni acknowledged the contributions of the different players participated
in the process of the development of this Strategy. He thanked the small team comprising
Dr Ahmed Amri (ICARDA), Dr Ali Allawati (Oman), Dr Jan Engels (Bioversity
International), Dr El Tahir Ibrahim Mohamed (Sudan), Dr Hassan Ouabbou (Morocco),
Dr Harry Palmier (GFAR) and Dr. George Ayad Wagdi (Egypt). He mentioned the
valuable technical support and encouragement provided by ICARDA, GFAR and the
Bioversity International. The continued interest and support provided by Dr Ibrahim
Hamdan and AARINENA throughout the preparation of the Strategy was appraised by
him. The Chair and members of the Coordinating Board of NENAPGRN were also
thanked for having the foresight to initiate, in their very first meeting, action leading to
the development of the Strategy.
Dr. Zehni mentioned that there were a number of approaches to strategies among them is
that (the enlightened ones implement whatever they can of a strategy, and while they are
doing so they periodically review and update the original work). The strategy becomes a
living undertaking responsive to changing circumstances.
When dealing with what is next for the Strategy, Dr. Zehni pointed to a number of points
with special emphasis on the implementation question. The NENAPGRN would be the
legitimate owner of the Strategy once it was accepted by its members. This would have
implications and responsibilities as following:
- The CB should formally endorse the Strategy, and the Network would consider it
as the basis for its future activities, and be responsible for the implementation of
the Strategy that deals with regional aspects while individual member countries
would be responsible for the implementation at the national level.
- The Network cosponsors to lend their support to the Strategy including allowing
the use of their logos to appear next to those of AARINENA, and
- The Network Secretariat to urge the donor community and relevant international
organizations to lend their support to the national and regional efforts for the
implementation of the Strategy.
The presentation was ended with some recommendations for public relations drive
including the following:
- Consideration should be given to producing promotional material in English and
Arabic based on the strategy. Particularly, the production of promotional material
targeted at policy and decision makers.
- Make use of internet sites of Sponsors and regional organizations and having a
NENAPGRN own site.
The CB then discussed the issue of the Strategy with the general attitude to adopt it as
strategy for the Network while considering accommodating the comments by member
countries in the Strategy document. The CB decided to form a working group to consider
developing a proposed draft for a decision on the Strategy in order to be adopted by the
CB. The working group was composed of the CB Chair, Dr. Ali Al Lawti, Dr. Mohamed
Zehni, Dr. Muhammed Dost and the Coordinator.
8.1.3 Country updating reports
The CB listened at the end of day one to country reports from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait
8.2 Day Two: 19 September 2012
The meeting listened at the beginning of the morning session in day two to a short note by
Dr. Kakoli Ghosh, the Team Leader, Seed and Plant Genetic Resources in the FAO,
Rome, who joined the meeting for the first time by then. She thanked NENAPGRN for
the invitation to participate in the meeting, that aiming to strengthening regional
collaboration on PGR issues. She emphasized the necessity of connecting activities
related to PGR to agricultural policies in the region, and the importance of integrating
PGR conservation with the use.
Agenda dealt with in the second day included the following:
- Information needs assessment as an integral component in the proposed
PGR strategy and roadmap for the development of PGR network.
- Country updating reports.
- Road map to establishment of the Regional Commission on Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture (GRFA) in the Near East.
8.2.1 Information needs assessment as an integral component in the proposed PGR
Strategy and road map for the development of PGR network:
Dr. Magdi Latif, Knowledge and Information Management Officer at FAO/RNE,
provided a presentation entitled (Information and Communication Management for Rural
and Agricultural Development in Near East and North Africa Region: Outputs and
Lessons Learned). He overviewed the Near East and North Africa Rural and Agricultural
Knowledge and Information Network (NERAKIN) initiative, which was launched in
2007. Its immediate objective was to strengthen the capacity of the Ministries of
Agriculture and Agricultural and Rural Research Institutions for effective information
management and knowledge exchange in support of rural and agricultural development in
the region. The NERAKIN was implemented in two phases: 2007 and 2008 – 2012,
during which a NERAKIN regional portal was launched and selected national technical
staff were trained to contribute to NERAKIN system. A number of regional thematic
networks were also launched such as the Regional Agricultural Biotechnology Network
in Near East and North Africa (RABNENA) and the Near East Plant Protection Network
(NEPP-NET). National and Institutional Information and Knowledge Networks have also
been developed in Egypt, Jordan and Oman. Dr Magdi overviewed different regional
activities by these networks during the last years since 2008.
He mentioned that there were a number of lessons learned from this experience including
- Enabling environment: the need to create an enabling environment that recognizes
the value of connectivity;
- People, not only technology: networks depend on and work with people and not
on technology alone;
- Institutionalization of networks;
- Acquiring knowledge-sharing culture that is based on collaborative methods and
- Network facilitation: the significance need to network facilitation with face-to-
face meetings; and
- Sustainability: the need to ensure sustainability and self-financing.
He outlined the success factors for a proposed similar thematic network on PGR
information and knowledge under NENAPGRN as including the following:
- Commitment for contribution/collaboration at national level;
- Focus on capacity building at national level;
- Existence of a regional information strategy;
- Development of a Secretariat role for regional activities;
- Focus on community of practice amongst the PGR information specialists;
- Raising awareness of information and communication management issues at
PGR managerial and political levels;
- Formation of strategic partnerships amongst the major PGR stakeholder
Following the presentation of Dr. Magdi Latif facilitated a working group session dealing
with different aspects related to developing an information system for NENAPGRN
including questions on issues such as existing sources of information and mechanisms to
access and share the PGR related information.
A concept note for establishment of a thematic network for effective information
management and knowledge exchange on PGR under NENAPGRN was distributed by
Dr. Magdi Latif for consideration by the Network.
8.2.2 Country updating reports
Four country reports were delivered during the second day. They included reports from
Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
8.2.3 Road map to establishment of the Regional Commission on GRFA in the Near
Dr. Javad Mozafari, Director of National Genebank of Iran, and the present Chair of the
Governing Body of the ITPGRFA, delivered a presentation on (Road Map to
Establishment of Near East Regional Commission on Genetic Resources). In his
presentation he indicated that regional collaboration is needed because the genetic
resources are key assets for addressing biological challenges of global development on
top of which is the challenge of food security. In addition to that he emphasized on some
facts of relevance to the Near East. One of these facts is the conservation of ecosystems
are vital for agriculture, and these ecosystems related to agricultural resources are very
fragile in the Near East, a region that is highly food in-secure. A regional
intergovernmental mechanism is, therefore, was proposed to build synergy among
national programmes and countries on conservation and use of GRFA. The 31st
Regional Conference for the Near East held in Rome, Italy during 14 – 18 May 2012,
supported the establishment of a Regional Commission on Genetic Resources to serve as
a regional platform for developing harmonized views, policies and initiatives on
conservation and utilization of genetic resources, and implementation of relevant
international treaties and protocols such as the ITPGRFA, convention of Biological
Diversity, and Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources. Dr. Javad outlined the
road a head for a process to establish the Regional Commission in the following:
- Request Regional FAO office to include in its programme of work to
Decide on preparing a draft text as terms of References (TOR) and
Rules of procedure (ROP).
Invite countries of the region to hold a meeting and agree on the
TOR and ROP.
Submit them to the 32nd
Near East Regional Conference to be held
in Baghdad in 2014 for its approval.
8.2.4. Presentation on Desertification and conservation of dry land ecosystems
The CB meeting was honoured by the presence of Dr. Ismail A. Hussein, the Former
Chairman of Desert Research Center of Egypt, during the afternoon of the second day. He
delivered a presentation to the meeting entitled (Desertification and conservation of dry
land ecosystems). In his presentation he highlighted different related aspects including
description of the dry land ecosystem, and the imbalance between the supply from this
system and the demand by people. He also talked about the loss of biodiversity due to the
conversions of the dry lands into irrigated intensive agriculture and crop lands as well for
urban uses. He stressed on the need for having the political will to attain economic will
without scarifying the sustainability. He also provided an overview on the Egyptian
8.3 Day Three: 20 September 2012
The agenda for the third day included the following:
a. Financial requirements for the operation of the network
b. Work plan for 2012–2014
- Proposal for restructuring of the TWGs
- Implementation of the PGR strategy
c. Formation of Network Executive Committee (EC)
d. Election of the CB chair for the coming rotation
e. Venue for the third regular meeting of the CB.
8.3.1 Financial requirements for the operation of the network
The Network Coordinator introduced this item of agenda for discussion by the meeting.
He mentioned the need to develop an effective strategy for obtaining necessary funds for
operation of the Network. He referred to the efforts exerted by AARINENA Secretariat to
secure funding for some activities of the network including the meetings so far as well as
participation of network representatives in different fora. However, the resources of
AAERINENA have too limited to cover all aspects of activities of the Network, which
has to be self sustained to a considerable extent. The Coordinator brought some idea
before the CB for consideration in developing the necessary sustained financial resources.
These ideas included the following:
- Annual fixed fee to be paid by each member country for contribution in the
- Contribution by member countries in initiating, organizing, and covering the
costs of activities of regional importance under the umbrella of NENAPGRN.
- Establishment of a regional fund for plant genetic resources.
The meeting dealt with this agenda item and discussed it thoroughly with concentration
on the above ideas.
8.3.2 Work plan for 2012-2014
The meeting tackled the issue of developing a work plan for the period 2012 through
working on two agenda sub-items, which were:
a. Proposal for restructuring of the TWGs
b. Implementation of the PGR strategy.
A. Proposal for restructuring of the Thematic Working Groups
The Coordinator introduced discussion on this agenda item by presenting a proposal
for restructuring of the Technical Working Groups. He mentioned that NENAPGRN
has been strategically concerned about different technical as well as policy related and
legal issues. Therefore, it was proposed to restructure such groups to deal with
different thematic aspects of importance for the network and to be renamed
accordingly as (Thematic Working Groups) rather than (Technical). The newly
proposed groups were:
- Thematic Working Group on PGR Conservation and Use.
- Thematic Working Group on PGR Information Management.
- Thematic Working Group on PGR Policy and Legislation.
Each TWG was proposed to be composed of experts in the thematic area from
different member countries and institutions. The membership should be endorsed by
the Network Board. The Board should decide on necessary criteria for selection of
members. Modes of operation and necessary resources for the groups should also be
decided by the Network Board.
The CB discussed the matter from different angles and agreed on specific decisions
to deal with it in future.
B. Implementation of the Regional PGR Strategy
The meeting discussed the implementation of the Regional PGR Strategy proposed to
be adopted by the Network as a challenge before the Network, with the understanding
that this strategy will form the basis for the network activities for years to come. The
Chair of the CB, Dr. Ali Al Lawati, brought to the attention of the meeting that
Sultanate of Oman has been willing to organize an activity devoted to the issue of the
strategy implementation. The Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Centre (APGRC)
of Oman has been ready to organize a regional forum on such subject, including
making available necessary financial resources for it. Accordingly, the Network
Coordinator sent a message to the Director of APGRC in Oman expressing the full
gratitude of the Network for this initiative and proposing having a regional workshop
under the theme (Implementation of the regional PGR strategy in NENA: global,
regional and national roles).
The meeting discussed the issue of the strategy implementation, and a number of
ideas were brought before the meeting by different participants. Among these ideas
was the proposal of developing a plan of action on the basis of the Strategy to be
implemented within specific time frame.
8.3.3 Election of Executive Committee
According to the decision made by the first regular meeting of the CB held in Oman in
June 2011, the CB has to elect an Executive Committee (EC) composed of representatives
from the five sub-regions in NENA in addition to the CB Chair and the Network
Coordinator. Therefore, the meeting elected the EC for this rotation of two years (2012-
2014) with representatives from Maghreb, Nile Valley and Red Sea, Mashrig, Western
Asia and Arabian Peninsula sub-regions.
8.3.4 Election of the CB Chair
The CB elected a new Chair for the CB, which is to be renamed as Network Board
starting from the beginning of this rotation as decided by the CB in its first regular
meeting in Oman during June 2011.
8.3.5 Venue and Date for the Third Regular Meeting of the Network Board
The CB agreed on the venue for the third regular meeting of the Network Board which
will be held in 2014.
9. Country presentations
Country representatives presented country reports on status of the PGR programmes and
activities in their respective countries including the recent developments during the last
year since the first regular meeting of the CB. Outlines of the most recent and current
activities in different countries are summarized in the following.
A number of projects are being carried out under the umbrella of the National Genebank
of Egypt at present. Among them is a project on sustainable utilization of agricultural
biodiversity to develop the local communities in the western desert, which started in 2010
and will finish by 2013, as well as a project on conservation and utilization of Egyptian
wild flora to improve salinity tolerance in cereals, which is starting this year 2012 and
planned to finish by 2015.
The total number of accessions conserved in Iran is 70270 accessions from field crops in
addition to 6029 accessions of fruit trees and 36000 accessions of medicinal and forest
and range plant genetic resources. During the last year 2011-2012 a number of activities
were conducted for evaluation of PGR for some desirable traits including on 512
accessions for salinity tolerance, 809 accessions for drought tolerance, 1994 accessions
for tolerance to biotic stresses and 80 accessions for nitrogen uptake. A considerable
number of publications were produced during the last year on topics related to PGR
including scientific papers, research reports, conference papers, theses and books.
The total number of accessions conserved at the Iraqi genebank is 3500 accessions by
2012. A total of 150 accessions were regenerated during both seasons of 2010-2011 and
2011-2012. This is in addition to the continued germplasm collection missions.
Collection and ex-situ conservation for PGR continued during the last year by the
National Genebank in Jordan bringing the total number of accessions conserved to more
than 4000 accessions. Among the new collections were 72 accessions of wild barley
genetic resources collected from 30 sites in Jordan during May 2012. Exchanging of PGR
materials continued during 2011 and 2012 with a total of 250 accessions being
exchanged. This included some of the materials provided on the basis of the Standard
Material Transfer Agreement for the crops in Annex 1 of the ITPGRFA.
The total number of accessions conserved by the Seed Bank Unit of native plants in
Kuwait increased to 296 accessions from 81 species during the last year. Passport and
storage data on these collections are well documented through database established for
this purpose. A database was established to document the flora of Kuwait and it is linked
to the geographical information system (GIS) in Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research
An important development in Oman has been the establishment of the Animal and Plant
Genetic resources Centre. Initiative was taken by the Animal and Plant Genetic Resources
Centre to establish a national database for plants, animal, marine, and microorganisms
species. In May 2012, a workshop was organized by The Research Council and
Bioversity International, for concerned stakeholders, to explore the opportunity to use the
GRIN-Global as the platform for such database.
9.9 Saudi Arabia
The Plant Genebank in King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology has been
exerting efforts to conserve seed samples of some of the important plant species in Saudi
Arabia such as wheat, barley, sorghum and garlic. A number of projects have been
initiated and are currently under implementation in this regard such as the projects on
conservation of the coffee plant genetic resources and conservation of wild plants.
The total number of accessions conserved by the PGR Unit in Sudan reached 11474
accessions from different crops in 2012. 402 accessions of different crops such as pearl
millet and sesame have been morphologically characterized during the last year. A total
of 1195 accessions of sorghum, pearl millet and cowpea have safe duplicated during the
period 2010-2012 in Svalbard, ICRISAT and IITA. The available passport data on 11281
accessions have been uploaded on to the Data Portal of the Eastern Africa Plant Genetic
Resources Network in the internet during 2011. A catalogue on passport and
characterization data of sorghum genetic resources was prepared and made available in
the internet during 2012. Limited expansion in building infrastructure of the PGR Unit
was achieved from national budget during 2011.
More than 6000 accessions have already been collected and conserved from genetic
resources of 74 crops. A National Strategy for Integrated Management of Genetic
Resources for Food Security and Sustainable Development was proposed in Yemen in
10. Outcomes of the meeting
The second regular CB meeting discussed the different items raised in the adopted agenda
throughout three days and made a number of decisions and recommendations on issues
related to these agenda items.
10.1 Review and adoption of the Regional PGR strategy
The CB adopted the following decision on the Regional PGR strategy:
Considering that the PGR Regional Strategy was endorsed by the AARINENA
General Conference, and
In view of the positive comments on the strategy by the countries members in
The Coordinating Board agrees:
1. To take custody of this strategy and adopt it as a guiding document for its
2. Because of the valuable comments received from different countries on the
Strategy draft, all comments will be retained as an appendix to the Strategy
3. In the light of the importance of these comments and the need to
accommodate them to the extent possible and feasible, it is agreed to
establish a small group to propose changes considered very necessary
within a period of three months. The small group is to be composed of
a. Dr. Abeer El Halawgi - Chair
b. Mr. Mansour Mohmmed Al-Dalas
c. Dr. Sobhia Saifan
d. Dr. Ahmad Abbasi
e. Dr. Fadilah Al Salameen
The CB delegated the Chair of the CB together with the Network Coordinator to finally
approve the Strategy document after submitted to them by the small group above.
10.2 Road map to establishment of the Regional Commission on Genetic Resources
The CB adopted the following decision on the establishment of the Regional Commission
on Genetic Resources:
NENAPGRN CB welcomed the endorsement of the Near East Regional
Conference of FAO on establishing the Regional Commission on Genetic
Genetic resources constitute the corner stone of biological, agricultural and food
sectors, and Near East is a region very rich in genetic resources. The Regional
Commission, as described in paragraph 57 of the 31st
FAO Regional Conference
for the Near East, can play a critical role in synergizing the coordinating efforts of
countries of the region for implementation of relevant international agreements in
agriculture and food sectors.
In view of relevance of the subject at hand, the CB agreed to establish a small
group to look in the matter and advise the CB of the steps that are required
towards the fulfillment of this important endeavour [composition of the group is to
be considered by the Network Executive Committee]. The group is to consider,
among other things, the possibility of the following:
- Request the regional FAO Office to include in its programme of work:
1. Decide on preparing draft texts as Terms of Reference (TOR) and
Rules of Procedure (ROP).
2. Invite countries of the region to hold a meeting and agree on the TOR
3. Submit them to the 32nd
Near East Regional Conference in Baghdad,
2014 for its approval.
The NENAPGRN would avail itself to assist the process of the establishment of the
Regional Commission and continue to work closely with that.
10.3 Financial requirements for the operation of the network
In the Endeavour to have sustained financial resources for the Network all ideas and
views expressed during the meeting were accepted by the CB. However, CB adopted the
following recommendation for AARINENA to consider and to obtain the endorsement of
governments of member countries:
- Each member country to pay an annual fixed fee of one thousand US Dollars
(US$ 1000) to AARINENA in order to be used exclusively by the NENAPGRN
for activities related to the Network.
10.4 Proposal for restructuring of the TWGs
The proposal by the Coordinator to modify the Technical Working Group to be Thematic
Working Groups was endorsed by the CB as accepted concept. However, CB considered
it too early to get into identifying these groups at present, and the issue must be revisited
in the future when the needs arise and necessary conditions and resources are available.
The CB considered it highly important at present to concentrate on making itself visible
and promote its existence. An ad hoc task force was formed by the CB and requested to
work on developing the necessary plan for the promotion of the Network. The task force
was composed of:
- Dr. Sobhia Saifan, Chair of the Network Board, as a chair for the task force
- Dr. Ali H. Al Lawati (Oman)
- Dr. Mohamed Fawzy Nawar (ICARDA)
- Dr. Magdi Latif (FAO/RNE)
10.5 Implementation of the regional PGR strategy
The CB endorsed two decisions on the implementation of the regional PGR Strategy that
are related to the proposed workshop in Oman and development of an action plan.
10.5.1 The proposed workshop on the implementation of the regional PGR strategy
The CB welcomed the initiative by Sultanate of Oman to support and organize a
workshop devoted for discussing issues related to the implementation of the regional PGR
Strategy. The CB thanked Oman for such initiative and endorsed the proposed theme for
this workshop. It requested the new Chair of the CB, the Network Coordinator to work
together with Dr. Ali Al Lawati in developing the agenda and structure for this workshop
and closely collaborate with the concerned national authorities in Sultanate of Oman to
ensure the optimum organization of such workshop.
10.5.2 Development of an action plan
The CB found it necessary to develop an action plan for implementation by the Network
during the coming three years (2013-2015). This action plan has to be developed on the
basis of the adopted regional PGR Strategy. The Executive Committee was requested to
develop this action plan and to make a proposed draft of it ready for further discussion
during the workshop in Oman on the implementation of the regional PGR Strategy.
10.6 Formation of the Network Executive Committee
The CB selected the representatives of different sub-regions in the Network Executive
Committee (EC) for the period 2012-2014 as following:
- Arabian Peninsula: Kuwait.
- Maghreb: Morocco.
- Mashreg: Jordan.
- Nile Valley and Red Sea: Egypt.
- Western Asia: Iran.
The EC was requested to hold a meeting in Oman during the workshop intended to be
held there before the end of the year.
10.7 Election of the Network Board Chair for 2012-2014
Jordan was selected by the meeting as the next chair of the Network Board for the coming
period of 2012-2014.
10.8 Venue for the third regular meeting of the Network Board
The meeting decided to have the third regular meeting of the Network Board in Jordan
during 2014. The Coordinator was requested to determine the most appropriate date for
the meeting in consultation with the Chair and the national authorities in the hosting
11. Closing of the meeting
At the closing of the meeting the Chair, Dr. Ali Al Lawati, thanked all who contributed to
the success of this meeting. Special thanks were made to the Arab Republic of Egypt for
hosting the meeting. The National Genebank of Egypt was so much thanked for the
excessive efforts exerted by it as an institute to organize this successful meeting. The
guidance of Dr. Hanaiya El Itriby, the president of the Natioanl Genebank, together with
keen close following of Dr. Abeer El Halwagi, Egypt representative in the Network, and
the different staff members were very much appreciated. FAO/RNE was thanked and
appreciated very much for the considerable financial support it made to hold this meeting.
The role of Dr. Magdi Latif in this regard and in participation in the meeting has been
very much appreciated. Thanks were made to ICARDA for its continuous institutional
support to the Network and the sustained active contributions and initiatives for making
this Network effective.
Special thanks were made to Dr. Mohamed Zehni, for his attendance and continued
significant contributions during the meeting. His guidance and willingness to continue
supporting the network were highly appreciated.
Dr. Javad Mozafari, Director of National Genebank of Iran, and the present Chair of the
Governing Body of the ITPGRFA, was also thanked very much for his participation and
significant contributions during the sessions of the meeting.
The participation of the ICARDA, FAO Headquarters and FAO/RNE was acknowledged
and very much appreciated. Thanks were extended in this regard to Dr. Mohamed Fawzy
Nawar (ICARDA), Dr. Kakoli Ghosh (FAO) and Dr. Dost Muhammed (FAO/RNE).
The participants were so grateful to the Executive Secretary of AARINENA, Dr. Ibrahim
Hamdan, for his personal support and continuous follow-up and advice and for the
significant major support AARINENA Secretariat has made financially and logistically to
organize this meeting. The meeting was so grateful to Dr. Mohammed Alajlouni,
representative of the AARINENA Secretariat in the meeting, for his participation and
keen active contributions during the different sessions of the meeting. In this regard
AARINENA Secretariat staff, especially, Mrs. Hazar Nazal, was very much
acknowledged and appreciated for her significant roles played during the preparation
phase of this meeting.
Thanks were then extended to all member countries who participated in the meeting for
their dedication and active contributions.
The Coordinator expressed on behalf of the CB members their gratitude and appreciation
to Dr. Ali H. Al Lawati, the Chair of the CB, for his dedication and excellent guidance for
the CB during the last year.
At the end of the meeting Dr. Hanaiya El Itriby, president of the National Genebank of
Egypt, made a brief speech acknowledging the selection of Egypt for holding this meeting
and thanking all participants for coming, and wishing all the best for safe nice traveling
11 List of participants (official represenatatives)
No. Name Country Organization Position Address
1 Abeer El Halwagi EGYPT National Genebank &
Senior Researcher 9 El-Gamaa St., ARC
Giza 12619, Egypt
2 Ahmad Abbasi
IRAN National Plant Genebank
of Iran (NPGI)
Seed & Plant
Deputy Director of
Shahid Fahmideh Avenue
3 Sanaa Abdul Wahab Al
IRAQ PGR Unit
Iraqi Gene Bank
Tel: (+964) 7902-328-396
4 Sobhia Saifan JORDAN National Centre for
Agricultural Research &
PO Box 639, Baq’aa 19381
5 Fadilah Al Salameen KUWAIT Kuwait Institute of
Researcher P.O Box: 24885 safat, 13109 Kuwait
6 Ali H. Al Lawati OMAN The Research Council Director, Department
Office: +968 24509891
Fax: +968 24509820
P.O. Box 1422, Al-Athaiba 130,
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
7 Khalid Abdulaziz AlSaawi SAUDI
Natural Resources and
King Abdulaziz City for
Science and Technology
E Mail: Kalsaewi@ kacst.edu.sa
8 El Tahir Ibrahim Mohamed SUDAN Agricultural Research
Head, Plant Genetic
P. O. Box 126, Wad Medani, Sudan
9 Mansour Mohmmed AL-
YEMEN Head of the irrigated
Name: Mr. Mansour Mohmmed AL-
His position: Head of the irrigated
Institute :Northern Highlands Agricultural
His address :
Mr. Mansour Mohmmed AL-DALAS
Mobile: ++967- 773637003
10 Mohammed Alajlouni AARINENA <email@example.com
11 Hanaiya El-Itriby EGYPT National Genebank &
National Gene Bank (NGB),
Agriculture Research Center (ARC),
Ministry of Agriculture & Land
9 Gamaa St., Giza 12619 (Egypt)
Phone: +202 35693241
Fax : +202 35693240
12 Mohamed Sidki Zehni Lypia Consultant Address: 149 Triq il Qasam, Swieqi
Malta SWQ 3029
Mobile: +356 99260793
13 Javad Mozafari IRAN National Plant Gene-
Bank of Iran
(NPGBI), Seed and Plant
Shahid Fahmideh St.
Tel: (98) 261 2701260
Fax: (98) 261 2716793
14 Mohamed Fawzy Nawar ICARDA,
International Centre for
Agricultural Research in
the Dry Areas
P.O. Box 5466, Aleppo
Syrian Arab Republic
15 Magdi Latif United Nations FAO
Regional Office for the
Near East and North
Tel: 202 33316000 (ext.2903)
Fax: 202 37495981
16 Dost Muhammad Food and Agriculture
Organization of the
Regional Office for the
13 Al Eslah El Zerai St.
PO Box 2223, Dokki-Cairo
Tel. Office +202 3331 6000 Ext.
for Oriental Near East
Fax: +202 3749 5981
Mobile: +010178 2408
17 Kakoli Ghosh Team Lead, Seed and
Plant Genetic Resources
FAO, Rome, Italy
Ghosh, Kakoli (AGPM)
B. Other participants
EgyptNGB of EgyptResearcher assistantHassan Ahmed
EgyptIDRC of CanadaSenior program officerLaamrani Hammou
EgyptIDRC of CanadaResearcher officerLayal Dandach
EgyptNGB of EgyptResearcher assistantMohamed Fawzy
EgyptNGB of EgyptResearcher assistantMohamed Samy
EgyptNGB of EgyptDirector of Taxonomy DepartmentReda Rizk
AGENDA and Programme
Day Time Item Name
18 Sep. 2012
09:00- 09:45 Opening Session
- Welcome Statement by NENAPGRN CB Chair
- Cosponsoring Organizations Statement:
1. FAO Regional Representative
2. AARINENA Representative
- Hosting country statements:
1. President of the National Genebank of Egypt
2. Dr. Gamal Sarhan , Vice president, ARC
9:45-10:00 1. Adoption of Agenda
2. Reporting on the network activities since June 2011
10:00- 10:20 General Report Coordinator
10:20- 10:40 General Discussion
10:40-11:10 Coffee break
3. Review and adoption of the Regional PGR strategy
11:10-11:40 General overview Dr. Mohamed Zehni
11:40-12:10 Country Feedbacks Coordinator
12:10-14:10 General Discussion
Country updating reports
15:10-15:25 Egypt Dr. Abeer El Halwagi
15:25-15:40 Iran Dr Ahmad Abbasi Moghaddam
15:40-15:55 Iraq Mrs Sanaa Abdul Wahab
15:55-16:10 Jordan Dr. Sobhia Saifan
16:10-16:25 Kuwait Dr. Fadilah Al Salameen
16:25-16:40 General Discussion
19 Sep. 2012
4. Information needs assessment as an integral component in the
proposed PGR strategy and roadmap for the development of PGR
network (Dr. Magdi Latif)
09:00-09:30 Presentation: Information and Communication Management
for Rural and Agricultural Development in Near East and
North Africa Region (AARINENA.RAIS/ICM4ARD):
Outputs and Lessons Learned
09:30-10:30 Working Groups - Session I on Type of PGR Information
Content Available and Required and the mechanisms to
access and share information content.
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-12:00 Working Group - Session II on Key Issues Affecting the
Development of a Regional PGR Information
12:00-12:30 Plenary Session: Presentation of the Outcomes of Working
12:30-13:00 Presentation: Roadmap/Concept Note for the Development
of PGR Information and Knowledge Network
Wrap up and Recommendations
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
Country updating reports (Continue) 14:00-15:30
14:00-14:15 Oman Dr. Ali H. Al Lawati
14:15-14:30 Saudi Arabia Mr Khalid Abdulaziz AlSaawi
14:30-14:45 Sudan Dr. El Tahir Ibrahim Mohamed
14:45-15:00 Yemen Mr. Mansour Mohmmed Al-Dalas
15:00-15:30 General Discussion
15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break
5. Road map to establishment of the Regional Commission on Genetic
Resources in Near East
16:00-16:20 Presentation Dr. Javad Mozafari
16:20-17:00 General Discussion
20 Sep. 2012
6. Financial requirements for the operation of the network
9:00- 10:00 General Discussion
7.Work plan for 2012 - 2014
10:00-10:15 Proposal for restructuring of the
10:15 -11:00 Discussion
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break
11:30- 12:15 Formation of Network Executive Committee (EC)
12:15 – 13:15 Implementation of the PGR strategy
14:15-14:45 Finalization of the work plan for 2012-2014
14:45-15:00 Election of the CB chair for the coming rotation
15:00-15:15 Next meetings of the EC and CB: venues and dates
15:15-15:30 Closing of the meeting