UEAA Steering Committee Meeting
PRESENT: JEAN.MARC. BOUSSARD (PAST-PRESIDENT), CRISTIAN. HERA (PRESIDENT ELECT), JOS METZ, VOLKER HOFFMANN
This meeting has been summoned by Jean-Marc Boussard, in agreement with Cristian Hera, in view of the urgent necessity of preparing the general assembly due to be held in Bucharest (Romania) on June 26-27 2006. Before, Cristian Hera had a telephonic talk with president Romanenko, who is unable to attend, but support the initiative, and let the committee decide for the best. The main conclusions to be derived from the open discussion which took place are as follows:
1. Despite difficulties, the UEAA should continue and expand its activities
In the world in general and in Europe in particular, the existence of bodies such as the academies of agriculture has recently been put into question. Often, they are considered as mere remnants of old fashioned times. Yet, they are necessary for guaranteeing the independence of Science from mercantile interests. They have to promote good research to young people (which is not easy) , as well as to provide (young) consumers with objective information. In Europe, they have also the task of promoting exchanges with LDC's , so much in need of agricultural sciences for food and environment. They must therefore be reinforced.
Indeed, the future of agriculture sciences, and of the specific contribution of European nations in this field are at stake. A signal of alarm should be issued, and respectable senior scientists from academies are well placed to do it.
But they have no or negligible budgets, and so is the UEAA. It therefore urgent to get one. Unfortunately, no concrete perspective is available right now. The only possibility to get funds is to show that the Union meets the needs of members, and that we could be more efficient (especially in lobbying) as an European union than as national organisations.
2. Bucharest meeting
It will focused on "Soil fertility and the future of Agriculture in Europe". - a title which starts from soil, at the origin of anything, but which leaves room to wide developments. A call for papers will be issued by the Romanian Academy of agriculture and forestry sciences, and posted on as many web sites as possible. Deadline for submission will be end of February. The objective is to select 6-7 outstanding papers, presented in plenary sessions, and a batch of posters.
A steering committee will be held on June 25th in the afternoon. Scientific plenary sessions will take place on June 26th, whole day, and the general assembly on June 27th in the morning. A field visit will be organised in the afternoon of June 27th, leaving at 11:00 am.
3. Membership and hosting
These decisions must be taken by the general assembly, but must be prepared. Subject to approval, the Royal Academy of Netherland could envisage to host the next general assembly in 2008. The formal proposal will be done in Bucharest
Several European academies have shown interest in UEAA, but without formal application for membership. Jos Metz has contacts with the Swedish academy, and will make a step to convince it to apply. J.M. Boussard will do the same with Spain.
The withdrawal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England is deplored. Unfortunately, there is nothing in Britain similar to the continental academies…
4. Professor Swaminathan 's proposal for a world union of Agricultural academies
This is obviously a nice idea, supported by a very prestigious colleague. His participation as an observer in the UEAA general assembly will be welcomed. Yet, it is of course too early to take any formal decision with respect of this world union.
5. Contemplated future actions
At least one concrete possibility is to get admitted as "corresponding body" by the FAO. This will require some lobbying. Perhaps, we should consider writing a letter to Director Diouf, who happens to be a member of the French Academy of agriculture, as well as honorary member of the Romanian academy of agriculture and forestry sciences. This will be settled latter on by mail.
Another concrete action would be to update and enhance the Web site. J.M. Boussard will try to do it, before sending all the keys to Cristian Hera.
a) Professor Scaramuzzi expressed regret not being able to attend nor to be represented, as a consequence of the recent professor Scannerini decease.
b) The last St Petersbourg steering committee and general assembly meetings account is approved.