Dear EAAE Liaison Officer,
as you may recall, at the meeting with EAAE country Liaison Officers (LO) in Ljubljana last August a decision was taken that the EAAE Board should reassess the role of LO and look into the possibility to develop more close links with National Associations of agricultural economists (NA).
I am writing to start this process by informing you about the Board initial views on the issue and to solicit your reactions. The plan of the Board is to consider the inputs received and take a decision on how to proceed in its next meeting.
The tasks of current LO are described in a document dating back few years. This document is clearly obsolete in many parts: for example, it still refers to the role of LO as collectors of membership fees for EAAE and seems to ignore/underestimate the power of current communication technologies.
The Board believes that what the EAAE objective is to find an effective and efficient way to communicate (with information flowing in both directions) with agricultural economist communities at large, mostly in Europe. Specifically, the EAAE needs to disseminate information about itself and its activities beyond its membership, and collect inputs on the demand for its services from this broad audience.
It is the opinion of the Board that a flexible strategy should be implemented, although, whenever possible, the preferred option is to pursue more strict relationships with the NA.
In fact, because in many medium and large countries NA exist and these are able to easily reach their membership, in most instances - rather than relying on LO acting on a personal, voluntary basis - it can be more efficient to develop a cooperation agreement with the former.
However, it is the opinion of the Board that it is advisable to continue having an individual - possibly an active member of EAAE (because this will facilitate the work, the person already knowing EAAE activities and way of operating) - as a contact point in each country. Hence, the ‘position’ of country LO, with a somehow different role, should be kept also in the future.
In principle, the country LO should be identified in strict cooperation with the NA, possibly among the members of the NA’s Board. The role of the LO will now mostly be that of a trait-de-union between EAAE and the NA, with the latter disseminating through its own communication means (e-mails, newsletters, website) the information regarding EAAE activities to the potentially interested scientific community in the specific country. EAAE, on turn, will disseminate the information about the activities of the NA among its membership (through the NewsFlash and its website).
The Board should preliminary identify the European countries where a NA exists (few additional national (outside Europe) and international associations may also be considered), and then contact each of them proposing the signing of a (brief) Memorandum of Understanding, stating the main principles governing the bilateral cooperation and including the identification of the country LO for EAAE.
Under very special circumstances more than one NA can be approached in a specific country (and, as a result, more than one LO may exist, each linking EAAE to a specific scientific community) or, when a large scientific community of agricultural economists exist which is not liaised through the NA, an additional LO to the one identified in cooperation with the NA can be appointed directly by the Board of EAAE. In those small countries where no NA exists, EAAE will continue the practice of directly appointing a LO; in this case EAAE should be ready to provide the LO with (minimal) secretarial assistance, if needed.
We would like to receive your reactions with respect to two distinct points: (a) the tentative strategy identified by the Board, in general, and (b) what in your opinion should be the approach EAAE should take with reference to your own country.
If possible, please react within two weeks, by the end of March.
Do not hesitate to get back to me if you need any further information.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation!
Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza
Università della Calabria
Ponte P. Bucci, Edificio 0C
87030 Arcavacata di Rende (Cs)
Tel.: +39 0984492406
Fax: +39 0984492409