Kickoff Aleppo Syria – University of Copenhagen

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Kickoff Aleppo Syria

Kick-off Meeting


ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria, 1-4 July 2008

Water scarcity, deteriorating water quality, and multiple abiotic stresses have major impacts on agricultural productivity in dry areas of the Mediterranean region. There is a need to use the available freshwater resources in agriculture more efficiently. Abiotic stresses, such as drought and salinity, are becoming even more pronounced with changing climate (drier conditions, higher temperatures), leading to desertification. There is a need to select, introduce, and test cereals, grain legumes and new crops and cultivars with improved abiotic stress tolerance. Similarly, it is imperative to assess the environmental impact of using marginal-quality water resources in agriculture, and to develop environmentally feasible interventions aiming at the efficient use of these resources.

A multi-partner project proposal addressing these aspects has been approved by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme. This 4-year project will be led by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Other partners are: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria; Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal; Institute for Agricultural and Forest Mediterranean Systems, Napoli, Italy; Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK; Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe, Cairo, Egypt; Institut Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco; Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey; and Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.

The project will work mainly in farmers communities to improve farming systems, by strengthening a diversified crop rotation and using marginal-quality water for supplemental irrigation, aiming at:

  • Introduce and test new climate-proof crops and cultivars with improved stress tolerance, selecting promising varieties of cereals, grain legumes and new crops. Climate-proof traits will be identified for breeding programmes using advanced physiological and biochemical screening tools. Supplemental irrigation will be performed as deficit irrigation by different sources of water.
  • Investigate the sustainable field applicability of the farming systems, such as environmental effects related to irrigation water quality assessed by monitoring groundwater and soil quality. Financial implications for the farmer and economic costs and benefits in the food sector will be analysed.
  • Develop a research synthesis in dialogue with food sector, based on experimental results and advanced simulation modelling to improve farming systems management, utilizing dynamic tools that ease adaptation to the effects of a variable and changing climate. The approach is participatory, involving the farmers community and the market and political level.

The expected outcome is improved productivity and sustainable use of agricultural lands by developing a more diverse farming system, supporting economic development in non-European Mediterranean countries while ensuring mutual interest and benefit with the EU. It will accelerate adoption of improved agricultural practices and technologies to meet future constraints imposed by climate changes.

Meeting Venue

ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria

Organising Committee

Sven-Erik Jacobsen, UCPH, Denmark

Manzoor Qadir, ICARDA, Syria

Sara Jani, ICARDA, Syria

Draft Programme

Tuesday 1 July 2008

08.30-09.00 Arrival and registration at ICARDA Headquarters

Opening session

09.00-09.30 Statements from

  • Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General, ICARDA
  • Dr Sven-Erik Jacobsen, Project Coordinator, UCPH
  • Dr Maarten van Ginkel, Deputy Director General (Research), ICARDA

9.30-10.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 1 - UCPH, Sven-Erik Jacobsen

10.00-10.30 Group photo and tea

Theme 2: Beneficiaries reports

10.30-11.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 2 ICARDA, Manzoor Qadir

11.00-11.30 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 3 - ITQB, Manuela Chaves

11.30-12.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 4 - ISAFOM, Riccardo dAndria

12.00-12.30 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 5 - NERC, Ragab Ragab

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 6 - CEDARE, Omar El-Bedawy

14.00- 14.30 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 7 - IAV, Ouafae Benlhabib

14.30-15.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 8 - CU, Attila Yazar

15.00-15.30 Coffee

15.30-16.00 Status and prospects for work of Beneficiary 9 - UWA, Kadambot Siddique/Sven-Erik Jacobsen

17.00-19.00 City tour Aleppo

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Theme 3: Work package discussions

9.00-10.30 WP0 + WP1

10.30-11.00 Tea

11.00-12.30 WP2 + WP3

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 WP4 + WP5

15.00-15.30 Coffee

15.30-17.00 WP6 + WP7

17.00-17.30 Discussion and closing of the day

19.00 Dinner

Thursday 3 July 2008

9.00-10.30 Visit of ICARDA research facilities and field experiments

10.30-11.00 Tea

11.00-12.30 Remaining subjects within WPs

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 Remaining subjects within WPs

15.00-15.30 Coffee

15.30- 16.30 Discussions, conclusions, recommendations

16.30 Closing statements

Friday 4 July 2008

7.30 Departure from hotel

8.30-09.30 Visiting part of Jaboul Lake that receives mix drainage/wastewater from a drainage channel; visit to the salt harvesting site in the lake

09.30-10.30 Meeting with the farming communities relying on rainfed agriculture or using different sources of water for irrigation [Hagla Village] (Tea/coffee)

10.30-13.00 Travelling from Hagla village to Raqqa

13.00-14.00 Lunch in Raqqa

14.00-15.30 Visiting salt-affected and waterlogged area and Raqqa experimental station; Meeting with the farming communities

15.30-18.00 Travelling from Raqqa to Aleppo

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