Minutes of the Fifth AARINENA-ICT/RAIS
                          Steering Committee Meeting
                                  Tuesday 29 May 2007
                                              Cairo, Egypt


Opening of the meeting

1. The meeting has been held, on 29 May 2007, during the Regional Training Workshop on “Information Systems for Agricultural Research for development”, conducted in Cairo, Egypt
2. Representatives of the AARINENA-RAIS-ICT Steering Committee from AARINENA five sub-regions and representatives of FAO, and AOAD have attended the meeting.
3. The chairman of The Steering Committee (Dr. Sallam),, started this meeting by a welcome statement for all participants wishing them a successful meeting.
Approval of the meeting agenda
4. The chairman of The Steering Committee of ICT/RAIS presented the tentative Agenda which has been submitted earlier to all SC members. The participants adopted the following Agenda:
Opening and welcoming by the chairman
Discuss progress and actions taken by member countries on the establishment of information focal units.
Progress and utilization of NARIMS
Discuss actions to be taken to implement the 2007-2009 ICT-RAIS work plan.
Any emerging issues raised by participating members (NERAKIN Regional network will be discussed )
closing the meeting

Proceedings of the meeting
5. The chairman of SC of ICT/RAIS presented actions taken and progress made since last meeting (summary of the progress made is shown in annex 2);
6. Reference to the establishment of National Focal Points/Units within AARINENA members countries, he stated that there was poor interaction with NARS leaders and stressed on continuing efforts to strengthen Focal Units at national levels.
6. He mentioned that the concept note that was prepared and revised with emphasis to some priority actions and submitted to Dr Durah from the Biodiversity International to secure funds. Dr Durah, according to the Chairman, sent letters to all SC members of ICT/RAIS asking for letter of intent. The ICT/RAIS Steering committee members agreed that more elaborations and clarifications on areas of collaborations are still needed from Dr Durah to ensure that the proposed concept note goes in line with AARINENA ICT/RAIS work plan.
7. Regarding the focal points capacity building workshop that was planned to be held in Oman, it was agreed that it is still applicable with the assistance of Dr Hamdan (AARINENA Executive Secretary) to discuss and arrange for possible sources of funds and the contributions from ARC in Oman.
8. Regarding progress made in NARIMS, Dr Ahmed Rafea, informed participants that, NARIMS is in final testing and training material would be delivered to AARINENA very soon.
9. With regard to Near East and North Africa Rural and Agricultural Knowledge and Information Network (NERAKIN) as a tool, the ICT/RAIS SC adopted it as a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration for development in NENA region. AARINENA will champion its implementation and decide on the course of actions required. ICT/RAIS SC also recommended that NERAKIN is to focus on the thematic regional network module and NARIMS is to focus on national level as it was agreed upon in previous meetings and recommended that FAO continue to provide facilitation, support and maintenance for the system. Also, it is recommended that Information of both the NARIMS and the NERAKIN are put on AARINENA.RAIS website and electronic versions of both reports are circulated.
10. Regarding tools to be implemented at national focal points level, ICT/RAIS SC agreed that, it is up to member countries to use existing tools such as NARIMS or NERAKIN and recommended to provide member countries with Beta copies for testing prior to their implementation.


        Annex 1

      List of participants:



Tel/ Fax

Countries Invited

Name of Participant



+962-6-5525750 / +962-6-5525930


Dr. Ibrahim Hamdan

AARINENA Executive Secretary


+967-77301426 /+967-6-423914


Dr. Mohammad Sallam
Director of Ext. Programs


+202-7604727 / +2027617628


Dr. Ahmed Rafea



+98-21-22413931/ +98-21-22413931


Mrs. Taraneh Ebrahimi



+212-37-774459 / +212-37-203660


Mr. Otman Sebbata

Head of information & documentation Unit


+968-99204060 / +968-26893097


Mr. Hamed Al-Dhuhli




Mr. Robert Kalaily

IT Manager




Dr. Magdi Latif




Dr. Muhsin Abdalla Hashim


Annex 2

ARRINENA ICT-RAIS SC Brief progress notes
By: Dr. Mohamed N. Sallam
Chair of the Committee
Cairo- May, 2007

This brief progress note is prepared for the ICT-RAIS SC second meeting which would be held as a side event in Cairo in May 2007. The first meeting of the Committee was held in New Delhi, India in November, 2006 during the GFAR conference. During the first meeting, ICT-RAIS work plan for 2007-2009 was discussed and approved. Also the issue of establishing focal units was discussed where focal units TORs were approved. This brief progress report intends to highlight the most important issues of progress made so far since the Amman meeting in April 2006. Some important constraints affecting progress would also be indicated.

Progress made so far:
The main activities and steps made since the Amman meeting in April 2006 can be summarized as follows:
Attend AARENINA General assembly meeting in Amman (April, 2006)
Prepare ICT-RAIS minutes of Amman meeting
Prepare ICT-RAIS draft work plan 2007-2009 (June 2006)
Coordinate GFAR-AARINENA conference in Sanaa (June 2006)
Prepare draft TORs of Focal Units through coordination with regional Fora
Follow up establishing focal units with all NARS leaders (sending emails, letters to all leaders).
Prepare concept note for strengthening NAIS and RAIS through focal units
Attend APAARI meeting in Bangkok (July 2006)
Corresponding with some donor agencies, such as ICARDA, FAO, GFAR, for seeking training support.
Attend GFAR meeting in India (November, 2006), and ICT meeting.
Conduct the First ICT-RAIS meeting in New Delhi, November, 2006.
Work plan was revised and sent for comments to all ICT-RAIS SC members.
Established a Focal Unit within AREA-Yemen and ARC-Oman as separate units concerned with strengthening NAIS- some steps were taken and data entry was prepared.
Corresponding with all NARS leaders to encourage them establish similar Focal units
Coordinate with ARC-Oman for hosting the NIFUs training workshop meeting in Masqat-Oman.
Coordinate with and report to AARENINA Executive Secretary in all ICT-RAIS aspects and for having training on NAIS and focal units.
Follow up the NARIMS proposal with arrangements for training on this suite of tools.
Meet with ICARDA and Bioversity information officials to discuss possibilities of cooperation in capacity building programs.
Efforts in developing AARINENA website by Mrs. Taraneh.
Coordinate with Dr. Durah in converting some important issues/activities of ICT-RAIS work plan into a concept note to be funded by some donor agencies.

Main constraints:
Lack of funds for implementing the prepared ICT-RAIS work plan, except efforts and arrangements made by Dr. Hamdan in maintaining some activities.
Lack of proper interactions and responsiveness by NARS leaders and some ICT-RAIS SC members concerning the establishment of focal units and sharing experience between member countries.