Maintaining our objectives

March 31, 2020
Published by
ICARDA Communication Team

A message from ICARDA Director-General Aly Abousabaa


As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic I want to inform you of the steps ICARDA is taking to protect the health of our stakeholders, partners, and staff, and to reassure you that we are continuing to operate at the highest standards possible under the unprecedented measures being implemented around the world.

First and foremost, ICARDA staff in the thirteen offices in the African and Asian drylands are actively monitoring the latest COVID-19 developments and implementing official health guidance given by authorities:


  • Even before measures were announced, most of our staff and stakeholders were implementing social distancing and working from home.


  • We are maintaining skeleton crews in offices where full lockdowns have not yet been implemented, and they have put in place structures to support home teams, in order to maintain ICARDA’s administration, management, and logistics activities to help ensure our research-for-development continues.


  • Most meetings are as planned but in the ‘virtual’ space.


  • We are doing our best to support our teams and projects in their operational field duties and have contingency ready in case of further restrictions.


  • All staff are now under full travel bans.


  • As safety is a priority, fieldwork projects where social distancing is not possible are temporarily halted.


  • Delivery of gene bank accessions and international nurseries are temporarily halted but requests for the 2020-2021 season can still be posted on our website.


Your ICARDA point-of-contact is available to discuss any concerns you may have.



For Genebank and International Nurseries contingency

please click HERE


These are uncertain times. We know the restrictions are hard, but they are necessary, and we fully support them. We are ready for a long and difficult wait if the crisis escalates, and frameworks are in place to continue our ability to deliver on objectives and ensure readiness to get back up to full speed when restrictions are lifted.

Our focus is on the people we serve, and personally as ICARDA Director-General, on the safety and well-being of my staff. Until the virus is under control, I will maintain these critical measures. I know you have a lot to think about, and loved ones to care for, but social distancing doesn’t mean we are not together. More than ever our website and social media provides a link to remain in touch with the ICARDA community.

I thank you deeply for your patience and support. Please rest assured that our team will endeavor to maintain the highest possible standards of service during this difficult time.


Aly Abousabaa, Director-General, ICARDA


Aly Abousabba, Director General, ICARDA