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The Member Countries of ECPGR are represented in the ECPGR Steering Committee by “National Coordinators” who represent their respective countries within ECPGR on behalf of the respective Ministries. They are responsible for coordination of all ECPGR-related activities within the Member Countries, between the respective country and the ECPGR Secretariat, presently hosted by Bioversity International, and between Member Countries.
The National Coordinators are responsible for nominating members to represent their country’s interests in the various Working Groups and in other ECPGR groups and task forces. They nominate the National Inventory Focal Person 1. They are expected to maintain close contact with their country’s Working Group members to monitor progress and identify potential problems with ongoing work.
It is the responsibility of the National Coordinators to obtain necessary governmental commitment to the Programme in general and, more particularly, to take steps to obtain the support required by the national institutes to allow them to contribute to the implementation of the Programme through active participation and through contributions in kind (maintenance of databases, maintenance of collections, collecting, etc.). These activities are the basis of the success of the Programme.
The National Coordinators may also delegate part of their tasks to subsidiary bodies which provide technical support, so-called “technical National Coordinators” or “technical National Focal Persons”, as appropriate and in consultation with the appropriate ECPGR body.
1 National Inventory Focal Persons hold responsibility for the creation and/or the development and/or the coordination at national level of PGR inventories. They are expected to ensure the appropriate flow of data to the European catalogue, EURISCO. Their role is essentially technical, but they are also expected to give clearance for the on-line publication of country passport data. The possibility that the National Inventory Focal Person coincides with the FAO WIEWS focal point should be taken into consideration as a possible way to enhance complementarity with the FAO World Information and Early Warning System on PGR (see http://apps3.fao.org/wiews).
The Steering Committee (SC), consisting of the National Coordinators, is responsible for guiding the ECPGR Programme. The European Commission is invited to nominate a representative as a full member of this Committee. Bioversity International, the European Seed Association (ESA), EUCARPIA, FAO, the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen), the South East European Development Network on Plant Genetic Resources (SEEDNet) and an NGO representative are invited as observers.
The SC holds the overall responsibility for the Programme; it approves its budget 1 and provides overall technical and policy guidance to the operations of the Programme. The SC reviews the progress made by the Working Groups and other groups within the Networks or other ad hoc actions, and takes decisions regarding their general scope and the establishment or termination of Working Groups (WGs). It approves and provides guidelines for ad hoc activities. It mandates and oversees the Secretariat to carry out its decisions.
The SC meets twice during a five-year Phase (during years 2 or 3 and 5). Between meetings, the SC makes use of a dedicated listserver to communicate and take management decisions. All decisions are taken unanimously.
During the Mid-term Steering Committee meeting (year 2 or 3), the SC will:
- Review the progress made in pursuance of the programme of work, in particular by the Networks, during the first part of the Phase and provide guidance for the remainder of the Phase;
- Evaluate proposals from Network Coordinating Groups (NCGs), related to the subsequent Phase;
- Determine which WGs will be prioritized for funding in the subsequent Phase, considering priorities established by NCGs and such issues as the SC deems appropriate;
- Establish broad priorities and objectives and the funds to be allocated to each Network/WG in the subsequent Phase;
- Approve a budget proposal for the subsequent Phase.
During the End-of-Phase Steering Committee meeting (year 5), the SC will:
- Review the activities during the current Phase and progress made so far;
- Assess opportunities for future activities, considering inter alia proposals from NCGs;
- Adopt a programme of work for the subsequent Phase. The SC can accept proposals from the NCGs or request modifications;
- Approve the final budget for the subsequent Phase.
1 Formal decision concerning payment of member annual contributions is taken by the competent authorities within each country.