17 June 2021. Desertification is a gradual process through which fertile land degrades over time and turns into barren soil unfit for agriculture. It is mostly driven by resource mismanagement, inappropriate agricultural approaches, and land overexploitation by fast-growing communities. It is also compounded by intensifying climate change.
Hailing from Sekem, ICARDA, IWMI, Heliopolis University, the UNCCD’s Great Green Wall and Egypt’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the experts discussed best practices to regreen the desert, explain why it is crucial to global stability, and highlight multiple challenges that come with halting, and reversing desertification. They also discussed the central roles that gender, higher education, research, and international sharing of knowledge each play in such an initiative.
- Dr. Amgad Elmahdi, Head of MENA Regional office –International Water Management Institute (IWMI) – Moderator of the Webinar
- Mr. Helmy Abouleish, CEO of Sekem Initiative and Chair of the Board of Trustees of Heliopolis University – Keynote speech: Challenges and Opportunities of regreening the desert
Panel Session 1: Challenges of regreening the desert in Egypt
- Ms. Camilla Nordheim-Larsen, Representative of the Great Green Wall Project and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNCCD)
- Dr. Eman Sayed, Head of the Planning Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
- Dr. Amgad Elmahdi – Director of MENA Region at International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Dr. Bezaiet Dessalegn, Social Science Specialist with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Integrated Water and Land Management Research Program
- Prof. Dr. Ismail Galil, former chairman of Desert Research Center (DRC) and former Head of the Agricultural Office at the Embassy of Egypt in Washington D.C.
Panel Session 2: Solutions to overcome the challenges and prospects and opportunities of regreening the desert.
- Dr. Chandra Shekhar Biradar, Research Team Leader GeoAgro for Sustainable Agroecosystems, Principal Agroecosystem Scientist and Head of Geoinformatics and Research Data Management Unit with the International Center for Agricultural Research and Dry Areas (ICARDA)
- Prof. Dr. Hani Sewilam, Professor and Managing Director, UNESCO Chair, RWTH Aachen University – SureMap, a future interdisciplinary engineering Master’s program which goal is to train the next generation of engineers to support Egypt’s “1.5 million feddan” desert reclamation project.
- Dr. Hammou Laamrani, Senior Expert at League of Arab States, and CIM Integrated Expert