Published Date
September 14, 2022
Published by
ICARDA Communication Team
EDF technical session
Environment and Development Forum (EDF) technical session

Under the auspices of H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Egypt President-designate for the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27), and in cooperation with H.E. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment in Egypt, the Arab Water Council (AWC) organized an “Environment and Development Forum (EDF)” between 11 - 13 September 2022 to bring together ministries, governments, regional and international organizations, global corporations, and research institutions to pave the road to COP27 which the Government of Egypt will host this November in Sharm el Sheikh.  

September 12, 2022 - ICARDA, on behalf of CGIAR in collaboration with AWC and under the patronage of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, convened a plenary and a following technical session on partnerships and innovation to overcome global agriculture and food security challenges in the face of current shocks and intensifying climate change.  

The first session was a plenary co-chaired by H.E Dr. Ali ElMoselhy, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Egypt, H.E. Dr. Hussin ElAtfy, Secretary General of AWC, and Mr. Aly Abousabaa, ICARDA Director-General and CGIAR CWANA Regional Director. The session explored how improved policies for environmental protection, water management, and climate-smart actions can urgently address emerging food, energy, and input challenges for food and nutritional security in the region and beyond. 

Technical Session
“Europe has just had its worst drought in 500 years. Almost 1 billion people live in extreme poverty in Africa. Our winters are much colder, and our summers are scorching. We are here today to prepare for COP27 and incite the right climate action.”  -  H.E. Dr. Hussin ElAtfy, Secretary General of AWC 

Speakers and expert voices from the audience also discussed other important policy themes, such as ways to engage more private sector interest and how to develop enabling environments and spaces for research for development and food systems innovation. 

Aly abousabaa
“A way forward is to integrate indigenous knowledge for increased diet diversity and agri-food system change and thus a degree of security in the face of challenges. A harsh climate is not new to the CWANA region. Through this live lab, we are confiedent we can offer much innovation and adapted approaches for better South-North collaboration.”  –  Mr. Aly Abousabaa, ICARDA Director-General and CGIAR CWANA Regional Director  
“We hope to use COP27 as an opportunity to move from ‘recommendations’ and ‘directions’ to action, programs, and projects to be able to ensure food security for the whole world. It is, however, important to understand that climate-smart agriculture is not an existing magic wand but a technology that still needs to be developed and constantly updated. We cannot use simple solutions for complex problems.” - H.E Dr. Ali ElMoselhy, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Egypt  

The discussions also highlighted the importance of inclusive and collaborative development and multi-stakeholder engagement in fostering knowledge dissemination, building capacity, and improving access to technology and finance for climate-smart policies and regulations. 

“80% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is made up of smallholder farmers. Climate variability is affecting their productivity and increasing poverty levels. In sought of equitable and efficient agricultural practices, South Africa is adopting climate-smart agriculture to increase the resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation, mitigation, and food security are our three key elements to fulfil national and international obligations.” - H.E. Mcebisi Skwatsha, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, South Africa 

Other significant policy issues, such as how to attract greater attention from the private sector and how to create enabling settings and places for Research-for-Development (R4D) and innovation in food systems, were also raised and discussed by the speakers. 

“Conflicts frequently co-occur with and are linked to other shocks like economic crises and natural disasters. A common crisis response is to increase subsidies, which may help keep poverty levels down but are ultimately unsustainable because they do not foster resilience. As crucial strategies for establishing resilience, investment in the development of price information systems, climate change adaptation policies, and the development of efficient institutions will instead benefit people in the long run." - Dr. Mohamed Abdelgadir, Country Programme Manager for the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)  Collaborative Efforts for Climate-Resilient Food Systems transformation in the Arab World 



Collaborative Efforts for Climate-Resilient Food Systems transformation in the Arab World 

ICARDA, alongside sister CGIAR centers, IFPRI, IWIMI, and WorldFish then hosted a technical session to showcase important collaborative climate-smart agricultural innovations delivered within integrated packages that include the use of cutting-edge technology and capacity building.  

Chaired by Aly Abousabaa, ICARDA Director-General and CGIAR CWANA Regional Director and moderated by Roula Majdalani, Climate Change Advisor, ICARDA, the session also highlighted the importance of the early inclusion of stakeholders and partners in knowledge-sharing and design to ensure the identification of existing regional innovation and approaches. 


The session aimed to: 

  • Highlight existing and potential innovations and approaches toward climate-adapted food systems in the region  
  • Improve understanding and collaboration among the region’s stakeholders  
  • Highlight the importance of inter-country collaboration and showcase collaborative efforts in technology, resource mobilization, and policy interventions.  
  • Highlight the importance of funding for research for development


 "Growing population and slowing productivity have made Egypt one of the largest wheat importers. Egypt needs more investments in climate change mitigation areas, especially irrigation productivity  and soil fertility management." – Kibrom Abay, Egypt Country Program Leader, IFPRI  

A key topic was how partner-led research ensures the development of demand-driven solutions and policy instruments that raise adoption levels of new solutions and especially allow entry for women and youth.  

Vinay Nangia
 “Desert farming systems can support the livelihoods of more than 40 million poor and marginalized people in the region.” – Vinay Nangia, Soil, Water, and Agronomy Team Leader, ICARDA 
“I hear lots of great ideas, but we must be careful to make sure our outcomes today, translate to bold transformative approaches that work in the field.”- Melle Leenstra, Agricultural Counsellor Egypt & Jordan, Embassy of the Netherlands

The speakers, Kibrom Abay, Egypt Country Program Leader, IFPRI; Youssef Brouziyne, Egypt Representative, IWMI, & CGIAR Water Systems Lead, MENA; Vinay Nangia, Team Leader Soil, Water, and Agronomy, ICARDA, and Ahmed Ashraf, Research Assistant, WorldFish, demonstrated CGIAR collaborative efforts for food system transformation in the region followed by a panel discussion along with Melle Leenstra, Agricultural Counsellor Egypt & Jordan, Embassy of the Netherlands, and Dr. Hala Yosry, Desert Research Center, Egypt. 


Conclusions, Recommendations and/or Key Messages: 

  • Investments must address the Nexus between finance for ‘short-term mitigation’ vs early investment in long-term ‘sustainable adaptation.’ 
  • Current innovations are not a ‘magic-wand’ – they are a technology that still needs to be developed and forever updated to match changing needs.  
  • New approaches must be context-specific ‘appropriate’ technology. 
  • A true sense of collaboration is a framework where all stakeholders are not in competition. Time is running out, and self-interest must be overcome. 
  • With climate change predicted to worsen, a key development is needed not just in climate-smart ‘products’ but also in ‘preparedness’ frameworks such as early warning systems.