In the context of increasing conflict and instability in the Near East and North Africa (NENA), ICARDA attended a meeting hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) earlier this month, convened to explore strategies with the potential to strengthen the resilience of the region’s agriculture and food security.
The gathering provided an opportunity for regional humanitarian, development, and research partners to exchange information on the opportunities and challenges of working towards a ‘resilience agenda.’ FAO has made resilience a corporate priority, helping people, institutions, and states to absorb, adapt, and transform when confronted with threats to food security and production.
This is in line with the strategic focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems, led by ICARDA, on resilience and vulnerability management in marginal dry areas. Representing ICARDA, Dr. Marwan Owaygen, Regional Coordinator of the Center’s Nile Valley and Sub-Saharan Africa Program, contributed to a panel that discussed how regional partners could better work together. His presentation focused on the importance of science and research, emphasizing that investment in this area was a proven means of reducing vulnerability. Dr. Owaygen referred to the development of improved germplasm and crop varieties capable of withstanding shocks and stress: rising temperatures, drought, and new diseases that spread with climate change.
Reference was made to the strategic partnership between ICARDA and FAO to scale-up ‘technology packages’ - tested, validated, and disseminated to small-scale farmers – as a good example of regional collaboration.