Climate change continues to impact rural communities in the global drylands. As the negative impacts of climate change accelerate, transforming deserts into sustainable, productive, and economically viable lands is a priority and can be done by harnessing new practices, technologies, and innovations.

The event showcases a vision for sustainable and integrated desert farming systems (IDFS) for the MENA region and the global drylands. Sharing best practices and best-fit technologies, and inviting diverse partners to engage, the IDFS will reach across MENA and support increased dialogues to facilitate rapid upscaling of mission-critical technologies to support increased agricultural production.

The insight will be sought on reduction of food and feed imports, market creation, water saving and reuse, and improved soil quality, all while fostering local innovation. Bringing this systems approach to the Region, will ensure support to the small business sector, create jobs, and enhance resilience to climate change.

Keynote Title: Integrated Desert Farming: Innovation for Climate-Resilience in MENA Region

Representation from WorldFish: Ahmed Nasr-Allah, Country Director, Egypt, WorldFish

Date: Thursday, 12 October 2023

Time: 14:00-15:00 (GMT+8/Malaysia Time)

Location: Al Aula Zone, Boulevard Riyadh City

Language: English and Arabic



This Side-event is organized under Track 3: Land, ocean, food, and water, with a focus on the “Land” sub-track: challenges and opportunities in leveraging land resources and terrestrial ecosystems for adaptation, with linkages to the Water sub-track, looking at the water-climate nexus for climate resilient development at the regional level; and the Food sub-track: promoting climate-resilient food systems.

The session brings in the collective experience from 4 CGIAR centers (ICARDA, IFPRI, IWMI, WorldFish) and ICBA, as well as other desert research organizations, in collaboration with GCC including the Ministry of Climate Change and Food Security in UAE and the Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture in KSA to share their experience in promoting desert farming, with a focus on sustainable management of natural resources.


Expected outcomes:

  • Provide a platform for current and future actors in the integrated desert farming systems to share information about existing conditions and potential for future engagement in this field.
  • Showcase proven and nature-positive agricultural innovations that are resilient to climate change in the MENA region and in time can be up-scaled and adapted to the global context.
  • Advocate for sustainable agricultural practices to improve local production, offer income-generating opportunities, and strengthen partnerships between public and private sectors, with the aim of proposing policy tools to institutionalize an integrated desert systems approach within the policy-making process.


Proposed agenda:

Opening statement:

-Aly Abousabaa, CWANA Regional Director and ICARDA Director General on behalf of CGIAR

Presentation of the IDFS concept:

-Abdul Aziz Niane: Arabian Peninsula Regional Program Coordinator, ICARDA

Intervention by partners: 

-Tarifa Al-ZaabiP Director General, ICBA

-Ahmed Nasrallah, Country Director, WorldFish, Egypt

-Youssef Brouziyne IWMI Representative and CGIAR Water Systems Digital Innovation, IFPRI (TBD)

-Radia Sedaoui, Chief Energy and Team Leader, UNESCWA

-Hammou Laamrani, First Economic Affairs Officer, UNESCWA

-Suzan Al-Ajjawi, Climate Advisor to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Representative of Kuwait Fund (TBD), Representative of Oman (TBD)

Closing remarks: 

-Aly Abousabaa, CWANA Regional Director and ICARDA Director General on behalf of CGIAR


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We look forward to your active participation.