How did the SEASN founding initiative start?
In 2007 FAO organized subregional Conference in Skopje (Macedonia) and one of the themes was collaboration of agricultural advisory services in the region. The conclusion was that there is a strong need for further development and stronger collaboration of advisory services in the region and linkage with research and education in agriculture. Final result of the conference was FAO study: “Assessment of the human capacity development needs for, and gaps in, the Agricultural Advisory Services in Western Balkans“ published in 2011(http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/i2119e/i2119e00.pdf).
During 2013 a series of discussions on the need for cooperation of advisory services in South Eastern Europe continues at GFRAS, EUFRAS and IALB meetings and in 2014, Initiative letter for SEASN founding was sent to the addresses of many Institutions in the region. After the Initiative letter, comprehensive and detailed actions began and main goal was a successful SEASN establishment.
Foundation of the South Eastern Europe Advisory Service Network SEASN
First SEASN Initiative board meeting was held at 14th April 2014 in the Institute for science application in agriculture, Belgrade, Serbia. The meeting was attended by representatives of advisory services in the Southeast Europe region as well as representatives of international institutions – the International Academy of agricultural and rural advisors (IALB), the European Forum of agricultural and rural advisory services (EUFRAS), “Caritas” from Switzerland and the Standard working group for Regional Rural Development in South Eastern Europe (SWG-RRD). At the meeting the Initiative adopted a proposal to form a working group for draft statute and the proposal of conclusions – that representative from each organisation takes part in the working group.
After almost two years of preparations, agricultural institutions from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia successfully founded the South Eastern Europe Advisory Service Network (SEASN). SEASN Founding Assembly took place in Bulgarian capital city Sofia at 22nd October 2015. Tom Kelly, President of the EUFRAS and Ulrich Ryser, President of the IALB marked special significance to the Founding Assembly with their attending and presented very acutal theme: „Key challenges for European agricultural advisory services and the importance of advisory services cooperation“.
Image from the SEASN Founding Assembly in Sofia
SEASN Executive board nominated Standard working group – Regional Rural Development (SWG-RRD) as supportive member, regarding their big support and contribution to the SEASN initiative and founding.
Present SEASN Executive board with Tom Kelly and Ulrich Ryser
From left: Slađan Stanković, Tom Kelly, Emanuela Dimitrova, Milan Husnjak, Snežana Janković, Peter Krištof, Bajram Imeri, Attila Nemeth, Ulrich Ryser
SEASN Founding assembly participants