The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Dr. José Graziano da Silva, and Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, signed two landmark agreements today, expanding existing cooperation between the two institutions on plant genetic resources, biosaline agriculture and climate change adaptation in the world’s marginal environments.
The first agreement was signed during an awards ceremony of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in Abu Dhabi in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance of the UAE, within the framework of Article 15 of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Under this Article 15 agreement, the crop germplasm collection stored in ICBA’s gene bank will officially become part of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing, adding to the world’s largest global gene pool of plant genetic material, available to farmers, plant breeders and scientists for the sustainable production of food from plants.
The parties signed the second agreement to collaborate in biosaline agriculture, water scarcity, and climate change adaptation, among other things, during an open day at the ICBA head office in Dubai in the presence of Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food Security; His Excellency Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group; and Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Chairperson of the ICBA Board of Directors.
The open day was held as part of year-long celebrations to mark 20 years since ICBA’s establishment by the visionary leadership of the UAE Government and IsDB.