Obtaining Research Permits

Overview
All foreign researchers (including graduate students, volunteers, faculty, etc.) in Madagascar must work under an Accord (treaty) between the sponsoring organization and the government of Madagascar. ICTE has an Accord de Siege with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Madagascar, and in an effort to increase research and training opportunities in Madagascar, is willing to provide logistical support to approved research projects under its Accord.

In order to conduct research in Madagascar, researchers must obtain a Research Permit from Madagascar National Parks (MNP) (formerly ANGAP). In addition, if a researcher plans to capture animals or collect any biological specimens, they must obtain a Collecting Permit, issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Tourism (MEFT). The MEFT also issues Export Permits for exporting any materials from Madagascar. The process of obtaining these permits takes AT LEAST 2-3 months after your research proposal reaches Madagascar. Permits are valid for 12 months (except the Research Permit, which is good for 6 months), after which they must be renewed.

As part of the ICTE/MICET Facilitation Service, ICTE/MICET can help you in all steps of the process of preparing and submitting a research proposal to MNP, and obtaining research and export permits. The government of Madagascar takes these permits very seriously, and permits can and will be checked. You may not begin collecting your data until you have the necessary permits in hand. You may not collect materials that are not specified in the collecting permit. Please read your permits carefully upon receipt to insure that they name all of the species and methodologies integral to your study.

Timeline
To obtain these permits, a researcher must submit a proposal to MNP at least 2-3 months before initiating the research.
Research Permit: All researchers working in any protected area in Madagascar or in the peripheral zone around the protected area will need a research permit (this includes researchers focusing on various subjects including health, education, biological sciences, socio-cultural anthropology, development, etc.). It is easier to obtain a research permit if you are already on the ICTE/MICET project list which is submitted to the Malagasy government every year. Therefore, please let MICET know that you plan to do research in Madagascar as soon as possible.

Collection Permit
This permit is required if you plan to capture animals or collect biological specimens during your research in Madagascar. The MNP proposal must list ALL samples that will be collected.

Export Permits
Procedures for Obtaining Permits: As stated above, MNP issues research permits, whereas collecting and export permits are issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Forests and Tourism (MEFT). However, the request for collecting and export permits must be included in your MNP proposal. After MNP approves your research proposal, they notify the MEFT that you intend to collect and /or export samples. MEFT issues your collection permit after you arrive in Madagascar. Please read it carefully. You may not collect anything that is not listed on your collecting permit.

MEFT also prepares your export permit, but does not issue it until after you have collected all of your samples, have submitted a list of the samples that you have in hand to export, and have given MEFT the opportunity to inspect your samples. The staff at the MICET office will help you submit your final list of samples and obtain the export permit from MEFT. This process can take only a few days.

NOTE: The researcher does not receive the research, collecting, or export permits until s/he arrives in Madagascar. Importing Samples to USA: Samples imported into the USA may need a permit obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Obtaining these permits can take a long time (for CITES species, over 6 months). Samples brought into the USA without a permit will be confiscated at customs. Researchers are responsible for making sure that they comply with all US governmental import regulations.

The Checklist for conducting research lists the steps for obtaining research permits. Pay particular attention to steps 1-4 and 7.

Research Permit Requirements
Requirements for Research Permits in Madagascar are overseen by a committee (CAFF/CORE) consisting of representatives of the MNP, MEFT, and the Ministry of Higher Education. The committee views the relationship between the people of Madagascar and researchers as a reciprocal one. Researchers benefit by gaining access to protected areas in Madagascar, and the people of Madagascar benefit from the researchers' results as well as the scientific education and training of Malagasy people by researchers.

In the pursuit of these benefits, the CAFF/CORE Committee has imposed a series of requirements on all foreign researchers in Madagascar. ICTE whole-heartedly supports these requirements and will work closely with researchers to make sure the requirements are fulfilled.

All of the requirements listed below must be discussed and budgeted into the research proposal that you submit to MNP. MNP will not renew a research permit or issue a new research permit to any researcher who has not completed all of these requirements.

1. Foreign researchers must support and train a Malagasy student while in Madagascar. The number of Malagasy students supported must equal the number of foreigners in your party. For example, a professor who brings along a graduate student and two undergraduate assistants must support four (4) Malagasy students. Foreign graduate students and undergraduate assistants must also support a Malagasy student. (see Project Budgets and Costs for fees) These students can be great colleagues and help as translators and cultural ambassadors. This Malagasy training support is an important contribution towards our long-term conservation goals.

2. All researchers must make a courtesy visit to the local government authorities to present their passports, visas, and research permits and to discuss their research. These visits should be made to the local MNP and/or MEFT authority, the mayor (when applicable), and the Rayamandreny (council of elders) in the region where you will be conducting your research.

3. Before leaving Madagascar, the researcher must meet with MNP representatives in the region of research and/or in Antananarivo to discuss their research results and present a written exit report. The exit report should briefly (2 pages) describe where and when research was conducted, describe what was done, and outline any results obtained so far. This report must be in French. (MICET can provide the translation.)

4. A final report must be submitted to MNP within 6 to 8 months after leaving Madagascar. This report may be a copy of a report sent to a sponsor (funder). This report must be in French (MICET can provide the translation).

5. Five (5) copies of all publications must be sent to MNP.
            
As a University-based organization, ICTE works closely with MNP and the government of Madagascar to collate, analyze, and interpret the results of research in protected areas. ICTE requests that all permit requests, reports and publications be submitted to the ICTE Program Officer (in English). We will give you feedback on the MNP permit requests and reports before they are submitted to MNP. As part of our research facilitation services, ICTE/MICET will translate the publications/reports into French after they are submitted to MICET and the Centre ValBio's Chief Technical Advisor by the researcher. In total eight copies (5 for MNP and 3 for ICTE) of all publications should be sent to ICTE for their files and to send to the Centre ValBio Research Station for the library there.  See link on this site to submit documents.