ICARDA’s Board of Trustees recently reviewed the Center’s planned decentralization and its continued efforts to improve food security and livelihoods across the world’s dry areas. The 52nd meeting of ICARDA’s Board of Trustees, hosted by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) in Kuwait, came at a time of change and evolution for ICARDA, which is strengthening its partnerships and programs.
Opening the meeting, His Excellency, Dr. Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the AFESD, recalled the Fund’s long-standing support for ICARDA. He referred to more than three decades of cooperation between the two organizations, starting with the Center’s creation in 1977. He conveyed his appreciation for ICARDA’s research, and the CGIAR as a whole, on the difficult task of improving food security in the Arab region, which represents the most water scarce region of the world. He concluded that ICARDA will have the continued support of the Fund – both for its current work and the Center’s planned decentralization.
Speaking at the meeting, ICARDA’s Board Chair, Dr. Camilla Toulmin, commented that the Center is set to enter a dynamic new era in its life: “The world of research for development is evolving rapidly, as is the CGIAR. The increased unpredictability of temperature extremes and extended droughts will have their most severe impact on those living in dry areas and on marginal lands.” ICARDA’s integrated approach, she says, brings new solutions to this changing landscape. “With this expertise, ICARDA is particularly well-placed to provide effective solutions to countries with extensive dryland systems”.
The planned decentralization will involve the establishment of regional research platforms to strengthen ICARDA’s current regional programs and expand its partnerships with national programs, with a view to enhancing the Center’s engagement with the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) in which it is involved - including the ICARDA-led CRP on Dryland Systems.
ICARDA’s Director General, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, explained that the strategy would help the Center integrate its research more closely with national partners and provide more effective support to their food security priorities.
The Board was also briefed on developments at ICARDA’s headquarters at Tel Hadya in Aleppo, Syria, and the contingency measures taken to protect the Center’s assets and ensure the ongoing work of its research program. The Board paid tribute to ICARDA’s partnerships with national programs, which enabled the Center to implement its contingency plans. In closing the meeting, Dr. Toulmin recognized the achievements of the Center’s management and staff in maintaining the Center’s operations, and for their commitment to the Center at this difficult time in its history.
ICARDA’s Board of Trustees with Dr. Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Director General of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD)
Presentation by ICARDA Board Chair, Dr. Camilla Toulmin, to AFESD Director General, Dr. Abdlatif Al-Hamad