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7th Annual AFED conference to convene on 26-27 November 2014

The Seventh Annual Conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) will convene on 26-27 November 2014 in Amman, on the subject of Food Security. AFED’s flagship report on Food Security In Arab Countries will be presented and debated at this high-level event.

The international conference, which will take place under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II at the Royal Convention Center of Le Meridien hotel in Amman, is expected to attract 1000 key players, including policy makers, food and agriculture industry leaders, experts and strategists. Participating organizations include FAO, UN-ESCWA, Arab Fund for Economic Development, Kuwait Fund, Islamic Development Bank, Arab Organization for Agricultural Development and ICARDA. Some 25 ministers and heads of organizations are taking part.

Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) is supporting this conference as Official Partner. H.E. Razan Al-Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, will be delivering the Official Partner Address during the opening ceremony. Also, Dr. Mohammad Al Madfaei, Executive Director of integrated environment planning & policy at EAD, will present the Water & Agriculture Strategy in Abu Dhabi during a session entitled: Initiatives to Enhance Food Security.

AFED Secretary General Najib Saab described the partnership with Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi in organizing AFED conference as an example of positive regional cooperation. EAD, Saab said, has also contributed to the contents of the report, building on its experience in developing the Water and Agriculture Strategy of Abu Dhabi, which he described as “the most comprehensive plan in the region to manage scarce resources.”

Over 100 top-notch experts have contributed to AFED report, which provides a comprehensive account of the state of food production and food security in Arab countries, and suggests a roadmap to bridge the deficit. A set of maps showing water, arable land and rangeland resources in Arab countries will be released for the first time at the AFED conference.

In addition to providing the most comprehensive overview of food status and prospects in the region, AFED conference will offer the chance to discuss developing sustainable food and agriculture business plans with renowned visionaries such as Lucas Simons, the strategist on market transformation for sustainable agriculture, Eckart Woertz, author of Oil for Food, and Hafez Ghanem of Brookings Institute.

Speakers include renowned experts and policy makers, among them, Tariq Al Zadjali, Director General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, Mahmoud El-Solh, Director General of ICARDA, Ali Al Tkhais of the Water and Public Works Committee at the Saudi Shoura Council, Khaled Al-Rwis, King Abdullah Chair on Food Security at King Saud University, Adnan Shihab Eldin, Director General of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, Rob Bailey, Research Director at Chatham House, and Abdul-Karim Sadik, Senior Specialist in agricultural economy at Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

University students from across the Arab countries meet again at AFED annual conference in the context of Future Environment Leaders Forum (FELF). Every year AFED sponsors interns from its member universities to take part in preparations of its annual report and in the debates at the conference. The students are now working on recommendations which reflect their views on how to protect the right of future Arab generations to food security, which they will present to the conference.

As part of its Green Economy initiative, AFED will be launching during the conference, in collaboration with ACWA Power, a manual on water efficiency, developed especially for Arab countries. ACWA Power is a lead developer, owner and operator of independent water and power projects and longtime AFED corporate member. AFED produced a handbook on energy efficiency in 2012, which has been widely used for training and application purposes.