Jerusalem, 24 February 1999

Agreement On Multilateral Regional Program In Agriculture

(Communicated by MASHAV, International Cooperation Center, Foreign Ministry)

Since 1993, a trilateral program involving the Governments of Denmark, Israel and Egypt has been in place, as part of which some 2,500 Egyptian farmers have come to Israel for courses in various aspects of agriculture, and about 50 on-the-spot courses have been held in Egypt. In the wake of the program’s success, to the satisfaction of the three partners, Denmark decided to sponsor an expanded version of the program and to co-opt Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The first meeting of the five parties took place in November 1997 in Alexandria, to lay the foundation of the program, which is designed to develop the agricultural sector in the region.

Pursuant to the Danish initiative, an agreement was signed in Cairo, on February 11, in the presence of the Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister and the Ambassadors of Jordan, Israel and Denmark, to institute a 3-year multilateral regional program in the agricultural domain. The parties to the agreement are the Governments of Denmark, Israel, Egypt and Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement calls for practical as well as research and extension activity in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. For the first time, too, in a program of this kind, trainees from Israel will participate. A prominent feature of the program is its accent on the standing and role of women in the field of agricultural development.

The program’s budget has been set at 3.6 million dollars – 2.5 million dollars of which is to be provided by Denmark, one-half million dollars by Israel’s International Cooperation Center, MASHAV, and the rest by the Ministries of Agriculture of the remaining partners.

The year 1998 was devoted to preparatory activity by working groups and a steering committee made up of representatives of the five parties, with a view to preparing an agreed agenda to be implemented in the course of the next three years. The steering committee elected, as its Chairman for 1999, the representative of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Azzam Tubaileh, deputy to the holder of the Agriculture portfolio in the Palestinian Authority.

The next meeting of the steering committee will take place in Israel in May.