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Dry Lands Conference Focuses on Links Among Climate Change, Food Security and Water Management

15 November 2012: The International Conference on Food Security in Dry Lands aimed to develop recommendations in areas related to policy strategies and investments to boost agricultural production, enhance food security and increase resilience to price shocks. Conference participants focused on issues related to food security, water management and responsible investment.

The Conference, which took place from 14-15 November 2012, in Doha, Qatar, brought together representatives from government, academia, development agencies, civil society and the private sector.

In his address to the Conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the particular vulnerability of dryland inhabitants to climate change impacts and food insecurity. Noting that drylands occupy 40% of the planet's land area, he pointed to the 2011 Horn of Africa famine and the 2012 Sahel drought, as well as the interlinkages among climate change, development, peace and security. Ban called for action on reducing land degradation and improving water security through reforming agricultural practices and making food systems sustainable. He noted that such an approach is at the center of the Zero Hunger Challenge that will promote efficiency through the food chain, reduce impacts and waste and nurture soil. He added that these efforts will manage risk by improving the ability to forecast weather and develop climate-resilient crops.

In his address, Jose Graziano da Silva, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General, stressed that land degradation in dryland countries threatens over two billion people. He highlighted that the views of the conference would feed into the Committee on Food Security's efforts to develop principles for responsible investment in agriculture.

The Conference was held under the auspices of the Heir Apparent, His Highness, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thaniin, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank, FAO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), and the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) of Qatar Foundation, among other partners. [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [FAO Statement] [International Conference on Food Security in Drylands Website]