Role of the Council
The Policy Advisory Council is established by s17 of the ACIAR Act. The function of the Council is to provide advice to the Minister regarding:
(a) agricultural problems of developing countries
(b) programs and policies with respect to agricultural research for either or both of the following purposes:
(i) identifying agricultural problems of developing countries;
(ii) finding solutions to agricultural problems of developing countries.
The Council thereby fills a valuable overview role, advising the Minister and the Centre on matters including:
- national and regional development constraints;
- opportunities for research and development collaboration;
- national and regional research priorities, particularly those of ACIAR’s partner countries;
- the matching of Australian expertise with these priorities—Australia’s comparative advantage;
- modes of operation for ACIAR; and
- sources of national and international expertise.
To fulfil its role, the Council meets annually, in Australia, over several days. The Council meets with the Minister for Foreign Affairs at this meeting, which is usually divided between Canberra and visiting another Australian city to tour research institutions and meet ACIAR project leaders and scientists.
Membership of the Council is limited to 13, comprising a President, a member nominated by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and not fewer than nine nor more than 11 other members appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Members bring a range of agricultural and development experience. The Minister is required, under the Act, to ensure that a substantial number of the members of the Council are residents of countries other than Australia, and to have regard for the knowledge of appointees concerning the agricultural problems of developing countries or their experience in organising or conducting agricultural research.