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International conference in Cairo, October 7, 2019: Towards a common path for sustainable land management in Egypt

par Marco Di Donato,

In an article dated December 2017, FAO recognized that despite improvements in agricultural productivity, Egypt still faces major constraints on water and land use, which limit its domestic food production. The UN estimates that Egypt’s population will soar by 60 percent to over 150 million by 2050.

Productive land resources in Egypt are under multiple natural and human pressures and factors that are leading to soil degradation and desertification, as recognized three years ago by the ILHAM-EC project which is now coming at its end after having implemented its activities in the countries.

Funded by Erasmus + KA2, Capacity building action, on 7th October 2019 ILHAM-EC celebrated its final conference in Cairo through an event in which professors, teachers, students and business community had the opportunity to share views and set the path for project results sustainability.

In 2016, local authorities endorsed the Sustainable Development Strategy (Egypt Vision 2030) and implemented by the Ministry of Planning is constantly implementing it. However, FAO recognized last October, despite Egypt’s efforts and commitment to the 2030 Agenda, a number of challenges still required action.

The same can be said for ILHAM-EC project: despite all the efforts in implementing a new Master in Sustainable land management, a huge capacity building action for both Egyptian professors and teachers performed in Europe and the provision of equipment for Egyptian laboratories (laptops and other laboratories facilities) the real challenge for Egyptian universities is starting now.

Some data from scientific articles (have a look at A Typology-Based Approach for Assessing Qualities and Determinants of Adoption of Sustainable Water Use Technologies in Coping with Context Diversity: The Case of Mechanized Raised-Bed Technology in Egypt), can help us in better framing the problem: Water scarcity for agriculture in Egypt has been, and will continue to be, a profound problem. Average water availability per person has declined below the threshold value of 1000 m3/capita/year, and is estimated to fall to 500 m3/capita/year in 2025 if there is no significant improvement in management. Moreover, negative effects of climate change on agricultural production introduce further problems for water allocation to agriculture. Recent projection suggests that Egyptian agricultural production could decrease by 8–47% by 2060, with employment losses of up to 39%. Thus, the current and future challenge in Egypt is producing more food with less water resources. The benefits of each drop applied could be maximized by adopting appropriate and suitable irrigation scheduling and adapted irrigation practices.

This means that ILHAM-EC graduated students will have a crucial role in the country’s future being able to deal with one of the foremost important and urgent problems on Egypt. This means that the capacities that the University of Sassari (project coordinator) built in the Egyptian Universities will hopefully contribute in supporting the academic world in finding solutions for the benefit of the society at large, but this also means that more support is needed in the forthcoming future from donors and EU partners in order to upscale ILHAM-EC capacities.

The ILHAM-EC project at "UNIMED WEEK", Brussels, March 19th, 2019

par Alessandra Paulotto,

Prof. Luciano Gutierrez will present the ILHAM-EC project at the fourth edition of the UNIMED WEEK IN Brussels. The event seeks to propose a political reflection by the Euro-Mediterranean academic community on the relationships between European Institutions and the Mediterranean region, offering an opportunity for evaluation and revaluation of regional policies. Concurrently, this event allows to improve the knowledge and use of EU-supported programmes in this field, facilitating the identification of further support needs. The fourth edition of the UNIMED WEEK IN BRUSSELS is an opportunity to reinforce our common platform for dialogue, raise questions, develop our skills and ability to deal with issues of common concern, and identify steps for future cooperation in a constructive and positive atmosphere

Start of the 2nd year of the ILHAM-EC Master

par Alessandra Paulotto,

The second year of the ILHAM-EC Master have started today at the Universities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damanhour and Zagazig. During the second year, students will attend specialization courses choosing between: Land Use Planning and Assessment, Environmental Soil and Water Resources Management, Farming System Modelling in Land Management. Each specializa?on module contains 5 courses, in which the student will select only 3 of them. After discussing a Master thesis, and having reached 120 ECTS, students will be graduated in SLM.

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