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Research projects implemented in 28 countries

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Partnership agreements signed or renewed

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Trainees benefited from training courses

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ISI journal articles published

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Plant accessions regenerated

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Breeding lines distributed to patners in 51 countries

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ICARDA crop varieties released by national partners

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Publications and datasets

Strategic partnerships in India

At a regional coordination meeting for ICARDA's South Asia and China Regional Program in Delhi, Radha Mohan Singh, India's Minister of Agriculture, stressed the importance of the ICARDA–India partnership and its critical investments in pulse production and climate-resilient agriculture. ICARDA works with its partners in India to address challenges faced by the country's smallholder farmers.

Initiatives last year included the release of new, less toxic, varieties of grasspea, and pulse varieties that are rich in iron and zinc – helping to strengthen the food and nutritional security of the rural poor who often suffer from nutrition and iron deficiencies that can lead to anemia and growth impairment. Speaking at the coordination meeting Minister Singh looked forward to future collaborations: "We will continue to work together towards climate resilience, mechanization in pulses cultivation and processing, and improved seed replacement rates to fill technology adoption gaps in farmer fields."

New e-learning platform

ICARDA's Capacity Development Unit launched a new e-learning platform that offers stand-alone e-learning courses as well as additional content for face-to-face training. The platform gives ICARDA trainees a new learning experience and leverages modern technologies to enhance teaching, learning, and professional development. The platform also addresses the challenge of targeting diverse trainees from different regions and different time zones. Currently, some 33 courses are available online in English and French.

Capacity development is a core priority of ICARDA, strengthening the capacity of individual researchers, institutions, and NARS to improve the sustainable productivity of agricultural systems through crop improvement, water and land management, integrated crop-livestock-rangeland management, and climate change adaptation. The e-learning platform can be accessed at: http://elearning.icarda.org.

Strengthening presence in Cairo

ICARDA consolidated its presence in Egypt with the opening of a second office in Cairo, enhancing partnerships and improving the delivery of new technologies and sustainable solutions to the country's resource-poor farmers. The office combines both research and support functions. A research team will serve ICARDA's global programs and Nile Valley and Red Sea Regional Program, which strategically aligns research activities with Sudan, Eritrea, and Yemen, and a new thematic research platform for sustainable intensification in irrigated systems. Support staff, including those from finance, communications, and donor relations, will serve ICARDA's strategic priorities in Egypt and internationally.

Responding to the move, Dr. Mahmoud Medany, Director of Egypt's Agricultural Research Center (ARC), said: "We welcome ICARDA's decision to expand its operations in Egypt. ICARDA's strategic direction complements our own: prioritizing the development of new technologies and solutions that will help Egypt's farmers prosper while strengthening their adaptation to climate change. We look forward to more collaborations and an even stronger partnership over the coming years."

Promoting solutions to reverse land degradation

ICARDA participated in discussions at the 13th session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), presenting practical solutions and strategies to reverse land degradation across dry areas. Held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, from 6 to 16 September, the forum brought together experts and decision-makers from 196 countries to plan coordinated responses to emerging trends such as forced migration, and to agree on the actions needed to strengthen the resilience of drought-vulnerable communities.

ICARDA organized a side event with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on land resources planning, which introduced several new tools that countries can adopt to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). The Center also contributed to an event organized by the African Initiative for Combating Desertification, a multi-partner initiative that is designed to reverse desertification and strengthen resilience to climate change in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.

Safeguarding genetic resources

Last year ICARDA deposited accessions from its 2016 seed harvest into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault for long-term safekeeping – ensuring that these unique genetic materials will continue to play a critical role in the development of climate-resilient crops. The Center deposited over 31,000 seed samples of wheat, barley, faba bean, chickpea, and grasspea in the vault. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure facility located 1,300 km south of the North Pole in Norway. It currently holds more than 880,000 samples from 73 genebanks around the world, and contains seeds from almost every country in the world.

Promoting water-saving technologies for the Near East and North Africa

ICARDA announced its involvement in a new fouryear project to streamline the use of affordable watersaving technologies in the Near East and North Africa (NENA). The initiative – "Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Water Efficiency/Productivity and Water Sustainability in NENA Countries" – is led by FAO and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. ICARDA will contribute to the development and dissemination of new technologies to help tackle the region's chronic water scarcity.

Speaking at the initiative's launch in Cairo, ICARDA's Director General, Mr. Aly Abousabaa, said: "As a world leader in assessing and improving water productivity in dry areas, ICARDA will deploy its experience in the region to promote sustainable water use technologies in target sites to enhance water productivity and reduce water loss through unproductive evaporation."