Hundreds of people from around the world attended the opening ceremony of the 8th International Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification (DDD) Conference last night (Sunday, November 27) at Ben-Gurion University's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) in Sde Boker.
The 8th International Desertification Conference kicked off yesterday (Sunday, November 27) with over 1,000 participants and 250 speakers from over 50 countries. These researchers will present their work in 50 panels over five days of scientific and policy meetings, workshops, and tours in the Negev Desert. Earth observation, ecology, economics, ecosystem services, education, energy, food, health, society, and water will be among the topics covered in the various sessions.
The session that opened the conference yesterday focused on philanthropy and its impact in the context of Desertification and climate change.
"As part of the DeserTech initiative, we launched a global movement, together with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), to create international desert innovation here in Israel, which will provide technological solutions to 11 African countries," said Nicole Hod Stroh, Executive Director of the Merage foundation.
Prof. Avigad Vonshak, former Director of the BIDR, noted, "Desertification has a public relations problem. Although both have the same impact and require the same attention, climate change is a more common term than Desertification."
Avi Balashnikov, the Israeli representative of Jewish-American businessman Ron Lauder, remarked that "The Negev does not rank high on the priority list of the State of Israel or Israeli governments. We, along with the other foundations and the university, work for the students here; in other countries, the government would take care of it; in Israel, philanthropy is required."