Qatar to host an International Conference on Food Security in Dry lands

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Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the International Conference on Food Security in Dry Lands (FSDL) will be held in Doha, Qatar, on 14th and 15th November 2012.
Organized by the National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) together with a consortium of national, regional and international partner institutions, the conference will take place on the campus of Qatar University. More than 400 participants from 50 nations will take part in the event. Some 40 high-level officials including ministers and undersecretaries; heads of regional and international organizations; and national public institutions are registered to participate in the discussions. The Conference President and Executive Chairman of QNFSP, H.E. Fahad bin Mohamed Al-Attiya described the international meeting as “a groundbreaking event that seeks to address some of the most daunting challenges dry land countries face in their search for food security.”

The conference will be inaugurated by H.H. the Heir Apparent of Qatar and will focus on three thematic areas: Food Security; Demand and Management of Water Resources; and Responsible Agricultural Investments. The deliberations over the two days of the conference will cover 12 parallel technical sessions and a “Ministerial Dialogue on Dry Land Agriculture in a Changing Climate.” The events will shed light on current trends and strategies to boost food production and improve food security in dry lands countries. FSDL will culminate with a “Doha Declaration” reflecting the basic consensus of the participants.

Some 30 conference papers, analytical studies and presentations will be tabled throughout the various sessions. Participants will include a diverse blend of stakeholders across all sectors including ministers, government officials, policy-makers, development experts, scholars, researchers and representatives from financial institutions, farmer associations and civil society organizations from throughout the world.

“The FSDL Conference is an ideal prelude to the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8) that will bring 194 nations to Doha from 26th November to 7th December 2012,” said Executive Chairman Al-Attiya. “The global challenge of climate change is already amplifying water and food production stresses for the dry land regions of the world.

Qatar, a desert peninsula–a coastal dry land country mostly dependent on desalination for freshwater and trade and technology for food–it becomes absolutely clear that we must take seriously our responsibility to innovate, collaborate and lead on the issues of food and water security as well as climate change.

“These are not ideological or political issues for us,” added Executive Chairman Al-Attiya. “We stand committed to joining with any who share our vision for practical and decisive action and look to gatherings such as the FSDL Conference to help set priorities and momentum for the broader discussion of global climate policy.”

In addition to setting the stage for discussions on climate, the synergies generated through the conference deliberations are expected to contribute to boosting support for the establishment of the Global Dry Land Alliance (GDLA). This Qatar-led initiative aims to establish a platform for collaboration among dry land countries working to overcome the challenges of food and water insecurity by collectively harnessing their science, technology and finance capabilities.

The conference is supported by 10 international organizations, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank (WB) and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Progrmme (CCAFS) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The thematic sessions are organized by conveners from 10 partnering organizations, including IFAD, WB, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) of Georgetown University, the Kings College London (KCL) and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) of Qatar Foundation.

The Opening Ceremony, the Plenary Panel Discussion, the Ministerial Dialogue Sessions and the Closing Session will be held at the Ibn Khaldoun Conference Hall of Qatar University. The 12 parallel thematic sessions will be held at the auditorium of the QU New Library building. Press conference will be held on 14th of November 2012 from 9 to 12 noon, attended by the conference participants and the media.

Registration is available online on the official conference website at http://www.fsdl.qa. Live video streams of the conference will also be available through the site.

ILQ NEWS