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2nd International Seminar on Drought and Agriculture "Counting crops and drops: let’s grow the future together"

A celebration of the World Day to combat Desertification and Drought - #2019WDCD

17 June, 2019, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

FAO, in collaboration with the Government of the Netherlands, is organizing the 2nd International Seminar on Drought and Agriculture “Counting crops and drops: let’s grow the future together”.

The seminar will present and discuss tools, policies and best practices to support countries and farmers to be better prepared and resilient to drought. It will showcase how water resources assessment and monitoring, through the use of novel technologies, can reduce the vulnerability of rural communities.

The event is aimed at representatives from governments, international organizations, NGOs, academic and research institutes, and the private sector.

Objectives of the seminar:

  • Showcase and share knowledge on novel technologies and best practices to increase farmers resilience to drought.
  • Promote multi-stakeholder partnership and capacity building for integrated management practices for both drought preparedness and addressing land degradation in agriculture.
  • Promote enabling environments to support accessibility of farmers to actionable information for improved resilience and sustainability.
  • Demonstrate WaPOR, FAO’s portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data.

Interpretation in English, French, Spanish and Arabic will be provided.

The event will be webcasted at http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/5011/icode/

View photos from the day

Download the Programme and Concept Note

Agenda, Monday 17 June 2019

Agenda, Monday 17 June 2019

Download the Programme and Concept Note

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09:00 - 10:10 
High Level Opening Ceremony

Moderator, H.E. Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to FAO

Welcoming address, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO

Remarks, Sarquis José Buainain Sarquis, Vice-President for Economic Research, Strategy, Partnerships and Chief Risk Officer, New Development Bank (via video-conference)

Video message, Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Opening address, Bekhit Mohamed Bekhit, Minister's Assistant of Transboundary Water, Studies and Research Improvement, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Arab Republic of Egypt


10:10 - 10:30
Setting the scene 'Water resources assessment for drought preparedness"

Keynote Speaker, Wim Bastiaanssen, Professor of Global Water Accounting, IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education


10:30 - 11:00 
Coffee / Tea break and demonstration of WaPOR, FAO’s portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data


11:00 - 12:00 
"Water resources assessment: counting the drops, making them count"

Introductory remarks by Moderator, Jippe Hoogeveen, Senior Land and Water Officer, Land and Water Division, FAO

The present and future of Earth observation for agriculture
Benjamin Koetz, Exploitation Engineer, European Space Agency

Launch of the Water Productivity Open-access Portal version 2.0
Livia Peiser, Land and Water Officer, Land and Water Division, FAO

PlantVillage application and WaPOR
David Hughes, Associate Professor, Penn State University

Questions and answers


12:00 - 13:30 
Lunch break and demonstration of WaPOR


13:30 - 13:45
Outcomes of the Near East and North Africa Land and Water Days 2019

Jean-Marc Faurès, Regional Programme Leader, Regional Office for Near East and North Africa, FAO


13:45 - 15:00
"Improved policies and practices for drought resilience"

Moderator: Patricia Mejias Moreno, Technical Officer, Land and Water Division and Strategic Programme 3, FAO

On care for our common home and drought: perspective of teh Holy See
H.E. Monseigneur Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO

National drought plans and integrated drought management
Daniel Tsegai, UNCCD

Saline agriculture: country experience
Arjen de Vos,
Director Operations Saline Agriculture, Saline Farming

Kenya’s way forward in addressing drought
Paul Kimeu, Manager, Drought Resilience, National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Kenya

Drought policies and practices in Egypt
Ismail Abdelgalil Ismail Hussein, Former Chair of Desert Research Center, Cairo, Egypt

Questions and answers


15:00 - 15:30 
Coffee / Tea break and demonstration of WaPOR


15:30 - 16:30
"Strengthening farmers' resilience to drought: from the sky to the ground" 

Moderator: Astrid Agostini, Senior Natural Resources Officer, Sustainable Agriculture Programme, FAO

Satellite data for seasonal monitoring at World Food Programme (WFP)
Giancarlo Pini, Geospatial Analysis Unit, WFP

Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS)
Mario Zappacosta,
Senior Economist, Trade and Markets Division, FAO

Waterwatch Cooperative
Ad Bastiaansen, Chairman
, Waterwatch Cooperative

Fostering communities' knowledge for better drought - forest management in dryland
Fidaa Haddad,
Forestry Policy and Resources Division, FAO

Questions and answers


16:30 - 17:00 
Closing session

Key messages by Moderator, Eduardo Mansur, Director, Land and Water Division, FAO

Closing remarks, Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, FAO

Closing remarks, H.E. Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to FAO


17:00 - 19:00 
Cocktail reception