In a sign of ICARDA’s growing ties with Qatar, the state recently hosted an ICARDA delegation to discuss on-going collaborations and a new international partnership targeting improved productivity across the world’s dry areas. Qatar’s Minister of Environment, H.E. Mr. Ahmad Amer Alhemaidi, welcomed a senior delegation from ICARDA, led by Dr. Mahmoud Solh, ICARDA’s Director General, at his office in Doha on 18th May, 2015. Dr. Kamel Shideed, ICARDA’s ADG - International Cooperation and Dr. Azaiez Ouled Belgacem, Regional Coordinator, ICARDA’s Arabian Peninsula Regional Program, were part of this delegation. The Meeting was also attended by Eng. Masoud J. Al-Marri, Director of Agricultural Department and Mrs. Mona Al Bakri, Director of International Cooperation.
Dr. Solh congratulated the State of Qatar on the establishment of Global Dryland Alliance (GDA), a new initiative on enhancing food security in dryland countries.
H.E. Mr. Ahmad Amer Alhemaidi, the Minister of Environment for Qatar, emphasized on the importance of ICARDA’s experiences and specialization for Qatar and also GDA. As a result of the discussion, following priority areas were identified for joint collaboration between Qatar’s Ministry of Environment and ICARDA: preservation of genetic resources, development of livestock and animal feed resources, soilless production systems, and use of treated waste water. Training technicians and farmers and developing their capacity to adopt new techniques also emerged as an important area. Currently ICARDA is collaborating with Qatar on the Date Palm Program and Arabian Peninsula Regional Program. It was also agreed that two ICARDA experts in the field of gene bank and livestock will visit Qatar to discuss and develop a joint collaborative program.
H. E. Ambassador Bader Omar Al Dafa (seated, far-right), discusses the GDA and other issues with Dr. Mahmoud Solh (Center), and Dr. Kamel Shideed (Far-left).
Taking the collaborative relations of ICARDA and Qatar a step further, H. E. Ambassador Bader Omar Al Dafa discussed with the delegation the Global Drylands Alliance, which Qatar is leading. ICARDA, as the only international organization focused solely on the
development of the dry areas, will play a key role in this initiative, providing scientific expertise, technical back-stopping, and helping to facilitate the Alliance’s implementation.
H. E. Ambassador Al Dafa briefed the ICARDA delegation on progress thus far: the development of a clear framework and structure; visits to convince countries about the importance of the initiative; and a financial management plan to ensure long-term sustainability.
Finally, the Ambassador expressed his willingness to build on the insights generated by ICARDA’s nearly four decade experience investigating solutions to benefit drylands agriculture.