MIKE Sub-group Meeting
11 September 2001
Mr Pieter Botha (Chair – South Africa) , Dr Hany Tatwany (Saudi Arabia), Mr Kaolo Konate (Burkina Faso), Representative of Mr Emmanuel Severre (Tanzania), Dr Richard Ruggiero (USA), Mr Patrick Omondi (Kenya), Mr John Mshelbwala (Nigeria), Dr Jim Armstrong (Secretariat), Dr Malan Lindeque (Secretariat), Mr Tom de Meulenaer (Secretariat), Ms Alice Burke (Secretariat), Mr Nigel Hunter (Director).
Apologies were received from Thailand (Dr Kanjana Nitaya/Mr Charles Evans) and CEPF (Mr Jorgen Thomsen. Cameroon, Gabon and EC were notified of the teleconference meeting but did not participate.
Mr Pieter Botha welcomed participants and in particular welcomed Nigel Hunter as the now formally appointed Director. The Chairman congratulated the Director and wished him every success in the challenge ahead. The Deputy Secretary General was then invited to comment.
Dr Armstrong tabled two requests. The first related to the fact that the Secretariat had been charged with running the Sub-group meetings, providing materials, etc., but, given that there was now a Director and a Central Co-ordinating Unit (CCU), he recommended that the Director should take on the reporting duties to the Sub-group so that a Board/ Executive relationship could be developed. The Secretariat would then continue in a facilitating role. This recommendation was adopted.
Secondly Dr Armstrong pointed out the difficulty of conducting the teleconference in more than one language and was therefore reluctanly recommnending that the teleconference be conducted in English. His suggestion was that for countries such as Burkina Faso and Gabon, they might wish to be represented by persons who were bilingual. The Chairman was keen not to lose inputs from the French speaking countries, and so requested that the minutes should be translated into French and placed on the web-site, so that such countries could then make inputs through the Secretariat or the Chairman. As a representative of French speaking nations, Burkina Faso acknowledged the difficulty, welcomed the French translation of the minutes and would think about having a bilingual person in the meetings. The Director suggested that since the MIKE Sub-regional Support Officer was to be located in Ouagadougou and would be bilingual, then his assistance in the meetings could be used by Burkina Faso. It was then concluded that with these safeguards, future teleconferences would be conducted in English.
The Sub-group then agreed the agenda as sent out by the Secretariat with the addition of "Work Plan endorsement" under item 3 "AOB".
Minutes of the last teleconference:
The minutes of the 10th April 2001 meeting were approved as an accurate record.
In regard to the action items, 1, 2, 4 and 5 had been implemented. In line with item 4, the chairs of the Sub-regional Steering Committees had been invited to participate in the Sub-group meeting. Thus this meeting had Tanzania (Tanzania is of course an existing member), Nigeria and Gabon in the list of participants. Namibia was not present, because the recent Chair had just left the Country and no replacement had yet been nominated. It was agreed that the Chairman would represent the region, until such time as the new Namibian nomination was appointed.
Items 3, 6 and 7 had not yet been done but they would be completed as soon as possible after the Director’s arrival in Kenya. The opportunity was taken to note that the Central Africa Pilot Project had been concluded and that the final reports were very close to completion
- Positioning of Director/CCU
In line with the Sub-group’s decision, the Sub-contract had been successfully negotiated with IUCN EARO for facilitating the provision of the Director and the CCU and this arrangement was on the point of approval by UNEP. The Director had signed his own contract with IUCN EARO on 10th September, with an effective start date of the 3rd September. The Director was therefore scheduled to arrive in Nairobi on 21st September and MIKE implementation should now be able to take off with effect from October. This report was accepted by the Sub-group.
The Director was able to report the following:
- The EC contract had been signed in late June and the funds (1st tranche) were expected to be with the Secretariat by 14th September. Alice Burke was liaising closely with the EC in getting the funds transferred.
- Belgium had now confirmed that they will be providing $142,000 by the end of October 2001 and a further $142,000 by the end of June 2002.
- Confirmation from CEPF should be available shortly that the application for approx. $270,000 for the MIKE programme in West Africa has been approved. These funds will be used to support those sites containing the Guinee Forest ecosystem.
- In line with Japan’s offer of financial support at the recent Standing Committee meeting, the First Secretary of the Nairobi based Japanese Embassy is awaiting the arrival of the Director so that a project proposal can be developed. It is hoped that this proposal will secure the 35% matching funds required under the EC project.
- Liaison with US FWS and other collaborators will be given further momentum, once the Director has settled in Nairobi.
This report was accepted by the Sub-group and Dr Ruggiero confirmed US FWS continued willingness to support MIKE.
- Sub-regional meetings
The Director reported that the last of the implementation meeting series, i.e. Central Africa Sub-region, had successfully taken place in Libreville in July. The report of the meeting should shortly be available on the web-site in French and English. The meeting had confirmed the Steering group structure with Gabon as the Chair, the selection of MIKE sites and the location of the Sub-regional Support unit in Yaounde, Cameroon. Thanks were in order to US FWS and WCS for providing the funding and administrative assistance that enabled the meeting to take place. Again the report was accepted by the Sub-group.
- Sub-regional Support Officers
The Director was able to report that the process of recruiting the four Sub-regional Support Officers (SSOs) was well under way. Essentially the process being followed was one of advertising, trawling, short-listing , interviewing where necessary, and liaising with the Sub-regional Steering Committee Chairs (except West Africa, who requested liaison with the IUCN Regional Representative). The status for each sub-region was as follows:
- Southern Africa: The Officer (A regional citizen) has been selected and should take up the post in October. The Officer will be located in Windhoek and the Ministry of Environment has kindly agreed to providing office space.
- West Africa: Three candidates had been short-listed and interviewed on 11th September. The likely outcome would be a double appointment of a regional citizen with a non regional citizen for the next 18 months. This would help the regional citizen to gain the experience that would allow a single appointment after the 18 month period. The SSO will be located in Ouagadougou.
- East Africa: The initial trawl had produced two possibly suitable non citizen candidates. It was decided that a further effort should be made to try and attract regional citizens to apply. This process is underway and a reasonable response is evident. It should therefore be possible to move shortly to an interview process. The SSO will be located in Nairobi.
- Central Africa: Currently trawling for suitable candidates. The SSO will be located in Yaounde.
Mr Omondi supported the effort to find a suitable regional citizen for the post. He requested that before the short-listing and interview process was finalised, the range states be consulted as they would be in a good position to know the candidates. This was agreed and the Sub-group then accepted the report.
- Data management/protocols
The Director reported that he was currently arranging a support team of 4 persons to cover savanna, forest and data management skills and experience in order to help harmonise the protocols, develop data management systems and provide training over the next 12 months. The outputs in terms of protocols and systems would then be submitted to the TAG for approval. The Director was anxious to have the protocols harmonised and adapted in light of Sub-regional meeting responses by October. Mr Omondi requested that the range states be involved in commenting on the drafts before finalisation. This was agreed and the Sub-group then accepted the report
Any other business:
Work Plan endorsement
The Director apologised for the late delivery of the work plan to Sub-group members. He was keen to have the Sub-group endorsement, because the plan would provide a useful vehicle for monitoring when reporting to the Sub-group and because it was a requirement of the EC to have such a work plan. The plan was set up in 6 month periods with most of the establishment needs coming in the first 6 months. Each Sub-region would be expected to take the work plan and provide it with greater sub-regional detail. Dr Armstrong suggested that with the delays in getting the Director and the CCU set up and the delays in getting the funds, The Director should revisit the scheduled completion dates as aome of these were now unrealistic. This suggestion was supported by Kenya and the Chair. Some members felt they could make some useful comments and suggestions, so it was agreed that these should be emailed to the Director (email@example.com) by Tuesday 18th September. Endorsement of the work plan was then agreed, subject to changing the dates, taking on board other suggestions and letting the Chairman agree the final version.
Date of next meeting:
The Sub-group agreed that the teleconferences should take place at 3 monthly intervals. The next meeting should therefore happen in the last week of November or early December 2001. It was agreed that the Secretariat should look at their commitments around that time and come up with a recommended date as soon as possible.
The Chairman concluded the meeting by thanking participants for their useful and helpful contributions and again wished the Director the best of luck in his endeavours.
- Provide information on the forest MIKE sites in Africa to the USA [Director]
- Collated information on bilateral support programmes for MIKE related projects [USA]
- Update the description of the composition of the MIKE Subgroup (indicating ex-officio membership) [Director]
- Liaise with Japanese Embassy (Nairobi) for further MIKE funding [Director]
- Update Work Plan [Director]