ICBA is an international, non-profit agricultural research center established in 1999 through the visionary leadership of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Originally focused on the problems of salinity and using saline water for irrigated agriculture, ICBA has evolved over the years into a world-class modern research facility with a team of international scientists conducting applied research and development to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability in marginal and saline environments.
In 2013, the Center developed a new strategic direction that takes innovation as a core principle and the Center's multi-pronged approach to addressing the closely linked challenges of ensuring water, environment, income, and food security, includes research innovations in the assessment of natural resources, climate change adaptation, crop productivity and diversification, aquaculture and bio-energy and policy analysis.
Currently, ICBA is working on a number of technology developments, including the use of conventional and non-conventional water (such as saline, treated wastewater, industrial water, agricultural drainage, and seawater), water and land management technologies and remote sensing and modeling for climate change adaptation.
Improving the generation and dissemination of knowledge is an important strategic objective of ICBA and the Center is focusing on establishing itself as a knowledge hub on sustainable management and use of marginal resources for agricultural production and environmental protection in marginal and saline environments. With the help of its partners, ICBA innovates, builds human capital, and encourages learning that is fundamental to change.
A series of expert consultations initiated by the IDB in 1992 outlined the objectives and activities of the new institute and in November of that year, the IDB Board of Executive Directors approved financing for start-up operations. Subsequent consultations between the Bank and the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council led to the selection of the UAE as a host country for the new center.
In 1996, an agreement was signed between the IDB and the Government of the UAE, establishing ICBA as a formal entity. AFESD and the OPEC Fund also provided financial support for the establishment of ICBA. In 1997, the Municipality of Dubai donated 100 hectares of land at Al Ruwayyah, where ICBA's head office is still based.