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DURAS Project Overview & Components


Project Overview

The National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) helped established a forum in which to discuss and express their needs at the global level. Within the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), they can meet with their Northern partners as well as representatives of international agricultural research centres and discuss ways and means to jointly addressing the challenges of alleviating poverty, food security and sustainable management of natural resources.

GFAR is designed to encourage a bottom-up structure of research systems, i.e., from national, sub-regional, regional up to global level. These various levels also offer space for stakeholders, particularly the non-traditional ones, i.e. non-government organization, farmers organization and agro-enterprises, to be involved in various stages of formulating and monitoring research programmes. Despite being a relatively new initiative, GFAR’s influence starts to bear fruits, and should thus be nurtured.

In this context, the Project DURAS was conceived in order to support the opening up process being promoted by GFAR and to contribute to strengthening the involvement of southern stakeholders in the agricultural research process and ensuring that their voices are heard at the international level. It also aims to enhance the scientific potential of these stakeholders through the implementation and management of research programmes which they believe to be strategically important for their regions.

The project’s three components include:
Support to the strengthening of regional fora in agricultural research, particularly in enabling relevant stakeholders such as NGOs, farmer groups and small and medium agri-enterprises to actively participate in the R&D process
• Reinforce functional information communication management (ICM) system and development of Regional Agricultural Information Systems (RAIS)
• Launch a Competitive Grants Systems to encourage and promote innovation; to scale up innovative practices developed in the south; and to enhance scientific capacity southern partners

The first two components are managed by the GFAR Secretariat in Rome, Italy while the third component is implemented by Agropolis International which houses the project office in Montpellier, France.

A three-year project funded by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (see website), DURAS is also a Type 2 Initiative under the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD, see website) referred to as Partnerships for Sustainable Development. Type 2 Initiatives are voluntary multi-stakeholder partnerships programmes which contribute to the implementation of inter-governmental commitments in Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. Thus, through the DURAS project, stakeholders in agricultural research are able to contribute concretely to the outcomes of the WSSD and other international agreements in furthering sustainable development.

Component 1: Support to GFAR Secretariat’s facilitation function

The first component of the DURAS Project aims to support the facilitation role of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), including support to regional and sub-regional fora to enable them to function as a real forum where relevant stakeholders actively participate. The GFAR Secretariat is mandated by its charter to carry out a number of activities and functions designed to facilitate the implementation of the GFAR Business Plan by its stakeholder groups. Some of these activities include revisiting/updating regional priorities with full participation of all stakeholders, and support to facilitating the involvement and strengthening of civil society organizations (CSOs), i.e., NGOs, farmers organization and small agri-enterprises in the ARD process.

Component 2: Facilitating information and communication exchange

Facilitating information and communication exchange among stakeholders in agricultural research is also among the objectives of the DURAS Project. Under this component, the project has supported various activities the Secretariat pursued the twin objectives of monitoring, updating and improving the GFAR website (http://www.egfar.org) as well as facilitating the development of Regional Agricultural Information Systems (RAIS) in all of the five RF.

Component 3: Competitive Grants Scheme

The third component of the project is the implementation of a Competitive Grants Scheme (CGS) whose objectives are: (a) to encourage and promote innovation as well as to scale up innovative practices in ARD developed in the south; and (b) to enhance scientific capacity southern partners.

Application for the Competitive Grants is open to all stakeholders involved in agricultural research, provided that the Lead Proponent (LP) is from a university, national research center or a civil society organization (CSO) from a ZSP (Priority Solidarity Zone) covered by the project.

ZSP* countries

• Near East:
Lebanon, Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Yemen

• North Africa:
Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia

• Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean:
Angola, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, DR of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe

• Indochina Peninsula:
Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

The Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ), or Zone de Solidarité Prioritaire in French, was defined by the French government in February 1998 as an area in which public aid, engaged in a selective and concentrated manner can produce a significant effect and contribute to the smooth development of institutions, society and the economy. It is composed of countries among those least developed in terms of income, without access to financial markets, and with which France intends to forge a strong partnership link for solidarity and sustainable development that meets several objectives: (a) consolidation of the rule of law and nurturing of democracy; (b) support of sustainable development based on economies that are balanced, more diversified and less vulnerable; (c) cover of essential social needs; (d) rational management of territory and resources and environmental protection; (e) promotion of participative and cultural development; and (f) stability and regional integration.

Last update: 02/16/06

DURAS is a GFAR-Agropolis International project supported
by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Priority Solidarity Fund (PSF).
It aims to contribute to strengthening the involvement and enhancing the scientific potential
of southern stakeholders in agricultural research for sustainable development (ARSD).
This three-year project covers 49 countries from Africa, Near East and some parts of Asia
that are listed in France’s Priority Solidarity Zone (PSZ).

DURAS Project Office Cellule du Projet Agropolis International | Avenue Agropolis F-34394 Montpellier CEDEX 5 | duras@agropolis.fr
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