Agenda Item 7



The International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), was founded under the aegis of the OECD and the European Council in 1962 as a result of an agreement between the governments of the Southern European countries: France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. The founding agreement states that the Centre’s objectives are to "provide additional, both economic and technical, education and to promote the spirit of international co-operation between supervisors in the area of agriculture in the Mediterranean countries". In line with that task, the CIHEAM gradually opened up to other countries of the Mediterranean Basin. Other member countries are now Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco and Tunisia The centre operates as a network for training, research and development co-operation. CIHEAM has four Mediterranean Agronomic Institutes (MAI), where Mediterranean agriculture specialists are trained: Bari MAI (Italy) - Chania MAI (Greece), Montpellier MAI (France) – Zaragoza MAI (Spain). These institutes work in close cooperation with the training and research institutions of partner countries providing post-graduate education complementing the education given in domestic institutions in the area of agriculture and development. In addition to the cooperation maintained by CIHEAM with the domestic institutions of its member countries, the Centre has signed several cooperation agreements with international or regional organizations involved in agriculture in the Mediterranean area: EU, FAO, UNESCO, ACSAD, AOAD and ICARDA. CIHEAM and the European Commission jointly initiate, finance and implement programmes for improved regional cooperation and human capacity building in agricultural R&T. Cooperative research is performed on priority areas for the agricultural sector of the region.


The European Consortium for Agricultural Research in the Tropics (ECART) - - was established in 1992 based on informal discussions between the independent research institutes CIRAD, KIT and NRI and was later on joined by IICT. Partnership and cooperation was deemed more effective than competition in sustaining the science base of the involved institutions. The goal of ECART is to respond more effectively to the demands of developing countries and to contribute to the development policies for the rural development and natural resources sector. The objective was also to convince policy makers of the significance of ARD, integrate the capacities of European organizations with that of the NARS and national development agencies, seek to integrate the common policy perspectives/research efforts of the member institutions, promote contact and dialogue with the scientific community, NARS and development agencies, undertake joint research programmes and development projects and strengthen joint capacities for training, information and documentation. Several of the involved institutions experienced reduction in government funding and increasing pressure to secure external funding. Despite internal reorganizations the institutions have retained their commitment to ECART. Current members are CIRAD, GTZ, IAO, IICT, NRI, NRIL, and WUR. ECART made further strides to promote its network and its role as a major contributor to European policy development in the area of agricultural research for development.


The European Forum for Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) - - is the regional European subsidiary to the Global Forum for Agricultural Research for Development (GFAR) - - whose secretariat is hosted by FAO. The aim of EFARD is to strengthen the response of Europe to development needs including food security, the alleviation of poverty and sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. The Forum aims to promote European coordination, complementarity and comparative advantage, encourage participation of all stakeholders, assist the exchange of information and knowledge, and enhance awareness among decision-makers and the general public. It aims to secure long-term commitment and investment in ARD, as well as establishing joint priorities, strategies, and collaborative research partnerships with developing countries.


The European Initiative for International Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD) ( was set up by the European Union in 1995. EIARD comprises the members of the European Union and Norway and Switzerland. The European Union recognized the important role of Agricultural Research for Development. EIARD was set up to address an urgent need for better coordination and collaboration to enhance complementarity, synergy and cost-effectiveness within the EU and with developing countries in ARD. EIARD stimulates information exchange, concerted action and exploratory studies for policy development. EIARD also supports EFARD. Another major EIARD activity is coordination between the European donors with respect to the international centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). EIARD InfoSys is also an important part of EIARD. EIARD-InfoSys is a European web resource in the areas of agriculture, environment, fisheries, forestry, rural-transformation and socio-economics related to developing countries.


The European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (ESCORENA)1,2 - - was set up in 1974 by FAO and research organizations in the European countries. It is based on voluntary research cooperation among interested national institutions involved in research in food and agriculture and related fields. Networks have been established between national bodies and research institutions. The FAO Regional Office for Europe (REU) has been instrumental in setting up the networks and providing secretariat services for the whole system. The networks seek to carry out joint research projects largely with support from participating national institutions. Themes of interest to members from countries outside of Europe, particularly those from the Near East and the Mediterranean area have been added in the last decade. There are presently six European networks and seven inter-regional networks. The latter are sponsored jointly by FAO and the Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes (CIHEAM). A number of institutions from other geographic regions participate in networks which cover issues of global interest. Research results are presented in three refereed international scientific journals published by networks, in five network newsletters and in the proceedings of technical meetings and workshops which are published as the REU Technical Series by FAO and cooperating international organizations. The networks organize a large number of technical meetings and workshops with a yearly total of many thousand participants from European, Mediterranean and Near East countries and from other geographic regions. ESCORENA networks are also connected to, or collaborating with, other systems designed to further coordination and collaboration in agricultural research such as AARINENA, EFARD, GFAR and ISNAR.


The European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN) - - was created in 1991 on the initiative of the European Commission with the coordinating unit at ATSAF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Tropische und Subtropische Agrarforschung). EFRTN has participants from 16 European countries, including Norway, Switzerland, and all European Union member states, except Luxembourg. The programme is funded by the DGXII INCO-programme. The main objective of ETFRN is to improve and facilitate information flow between tropical forestry researchers, partners in developing countries and among policy-makers. Each participating country nominates a national focal point for networking activities. The activities of ETFRN are to a large extent aimed at information gathering and dissemination through an information service, directory of research institutions, a newsletter and a project database. A forum for dialogue has also been initiated.


The European Agricultural Research Initiative (EURAGRI) - - is the international (EU) platform for the political and executive organizations in the field of Food and Agricultural Policy and Research. It provides a forum for informal exchange of opinions and views on developments in science, society and industry, especially in so far as those can have implications on the programming, execution and planning of food and agricultural research. The organizational set up of EURAGRI is informal. National members are grouped according to EU member states or accession countries. Members include: the Research and Education directors of the Ministries of Agriculture (or equivalents), representatives of the food and agriculture research organizations (or equivalents). EURAGRI is effectively a think tank where members discuss upcoming issues. Its work is evolving from an emphasis on national policy to one that is more international, taking into account the EU's Common Agricultural Policy and related matters such as rural affairs and lobbying for agricultural research in general. EURAGRI's main activity is its annual conference. The 2002 conference was held in Avignon, France, where discussions took place concerning the strategic and managerial aspects of the new European Research Area instruments - integrated projects and Networks of Excellence. The EURAGRI Office is hosted by Wageningen University and Research Centre.

6th Framework Programme (FP6)

The FP6 - - is the European Commission’s Framework Programme for research, technology development and demonstration for the period 2003 to 2006. It is a collection of actions at EU level to fund and promote research. A key objective is to develop a European Research Area (ERA). The rationale for building the European Research Area is to increase the global competitiveness of European research as a driving force for economic development. European research has been analyzed as being too fragmented, with too small research groups, there is duplication of research efforts between countries and lack of complementarity. This has been a contributing factor weakening the effect of European research in supporting economic development. In past framework programmes the focus has been too much on applied research as opposed to fundamental research. Fundamental research has taken a more prominent place in the FP6. The mobility of researchers has been seen as a useful measure to integrate research in Europe and funding has been enlarged in FP6. The key new elements in the FP6 are bigger projects, more partners, more emphasis on quality of the consortia and on project and financial management. New instruments like Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence have been introduced to enlist the best researchers and research groups in Europe to work in key research areas and often on fundamental research problems. The total budget for the FP6 is 17.5 billion Euros.
The overall programme will consist of the following parts:

Several research areas cover agricultural and rural development issues. There is funding for joint research projects, coordinated actions and mobility of researchers. The main areas linked to agricultural and rural research are:

These three programmes represent 18 percent of the total budget for FP6.

Over and above these three major routes, the international dimension is a crosscutting issue, which concerns the whole Framework Programme. The INCO-programme in support of international cooperation funds target participation from countries that include developing countries (specific list), Mediterranean partner countries, Western Balkan countries, Russia and the other CIS countries.

The specific thematic areas for developing countries are: Health and public health (e.g. reproductive health), rational use of natural resources (e.g. managing humid and semi-humid land ecosystems, reconciling multiple demands on coastal zones), food security (e.g. health of livestock populations).

In Mediterranean partner countries the key areas are: integrated management of limited water resources, protection and conservation of cultural heritage, health.

In Western Balkan Countries: environment (management systems for prevention and remediation), health (medical and public health interventions).

For Russia and the other CIS countries: Stabilization of R&D potential, issues relating to changes in the industrial production system, environment and health protection and various safety aspects.

In addition, there are horizontal activities connected to multilateral coordination of national R&D.


The Network of European Agricultural Tropically and Subtropically oriented Universities and Scientific Complexes Related with Agricultural Development (NATURA) - - was established as an informal network in 1988 and a formal association of universities and faculties in 1994, it comprises today full members and affiliated members. NATURA members conduct a substantial part of their research and training activities in tropical and sub-tropical agriculture, forestry, food and human nutrition, veterinary medicine and related environmental sciences directed towards developing countries. The objectives of NATURA are: to develop concerted actions in the fields of tropical and sub-tropical agriculture, forestry, food and human nutrition and veterinary medicine between European member institutions and partners in developing countries, to promote institutional reinforcement of universities, national research centres and partners in developing countries, to allocate more efficiently the scientific and technical potential of NATURA members in this field.

NATURA is funded by an annual subscription fee. NATURA is currently involved in the following activities: The NECTAR programme is a programme aimed at developing new courses at MSc-level with partner institutions from developing countries. These courses would subsequently be transferred to institutions of excellence in developing countries. NATURA-UNESCO Chairs in Agricultural Development have been launched with the aim of developing inter-university cooperation as well as emphasizing transfer of knowledge between universities and the promotion of academic solidarity across the world. NATURA is also involved in AFANet, an EU SOCRATES Thematic Network, which aims to develop a European dimension to education and cooperation in universities and colleges in Europe offering degree programmes in agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and the environment. NATURA collaborates with the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA), by jointly implementing a project on “Mobilizing a Partnership of Sub-Saharan Africa, European and International Organizations to develop and diffuse ARD methodologies” funded by the European Commission.


The European Group for Integrated Pest Management in Development Cooperation (IPMEurope) - - was created as a cross-European network with EU countries, Norway, Switzerland and the European Commission as members. The main objective of IPMEurope has been to promote cooperation between European research institutions on integrated pest management. The activities have included promotion of networking and creation of a European database for IPM projects, the IPM Forum in line with the concept of the Global Forum. The strategy is to strengthen linkages between research, development, extension and NGOs, support to member states in priority-setting with developing countries, development of IPM approaches and evaluation of projects, project cycle management and on IPM information.



AARINENA Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa
ACSAD Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands
AFANet SOCRATES Thematic Network for Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and the Environment
AOAD Arab Organization for Agricultural Development
ARD Agricultural Research for Development
ATSAF Arbeitsgemeinschaft Tropische und Subtropische Agrarforschung
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
CIHEAM Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes
CIRAD Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement
CIS Commonwealth of Independent States
DGXII Research Directorate-General of the European Commission
ECART European Consortium for Agricultural Research in the Tropics
EFARD European Forum for Agricultural Research for Development
EFTERN European Tropical Forest Research Network
EIARD European Initiative for International Agricultural Research for Development
ERA European Research Area
ESCORENA European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture
EU European Union
EURAGRI European Agricultural Research Initiative
EURATOM European Atomic Energy Community
FP6 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission
GFAR Global Forum for Agricultural Research for Development
GTZ Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH
IAO Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare
ICARDA International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
ICRA International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture
IICT Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical
INCO Specific measures in support of international co-operation
IPM Integrated Pest Management
IPMEUROPE European Group for Integrated Pest Management in Development Cooperation
ISNAR International Service for National Agricultural Research
KIT Royal Tropical Institute
MAI Mediterranean Agronomic Institute
NARS National Agricultural Research Systems
MSc Master of Science
NATURA Network of European Agricultural Tropically and Subtropically oriented Universities and Scientific Complexes Related with Agricultural Development
NECTAR NATURA European Community Training programme for Agricultural universities in Southern Regions
NGO Non-governmental organization
NRI Natural Resource Institute
NRIL Natural Resources International Ltd
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
R&D Research and Development
REU FAO Regional Office for Europe
SOCRATES European Community action programme in the field of education
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
WUR Wageningen University and Research Centre Netherlands


1 Review of the Activities of the European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (ESCORENA). Document ECA 32/02/4-Rev.1

2 Evaluation of the European System of Cooperative Research Networks in Agriculture (ESCORENA) and prospective proposals. Document ECA 33/04/3-Sup.1