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Monday, 26 Ocober 2009

With emphasis on rainfed agriculture, a three day regional information exchange and knowledge sharing workshop starts in Aleppo, Syria this evening. Some 70 staff members of IFAD, IFAD-supported projects in the Near East and North Africa region (NENA) and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) are expected to participate. The “Knowledge and Technology Exchange for Enhanced Quality of IFAD/ICARDA operations in the NENA region” workshop aims at strengthening PN’s capacity to incorporate the latest research-generated agricultural Science and Technology (S&T) packages and other up-scalable innovations in its future operations in the region.

The learning event will take place at ICARDA headquarters with several field sessions at the sites of IFAD-supported development projects and ICARDA research stations. It will provide learning opportunities for the participants to identify and discuss major needs and priority areas that could benefit the design of development projects for NENA countries. The field work should provide ample opportunity to demonstrate the technological packages in the areas of:

• improving agricultural productivity and food security
• adaptation to climate change and natural resource management
• upgrading pro-poor untilization of value chains and markets
• diagnostics for targeting pro-poor research and development investments

The workshop will reach its objectives through wide application of several KM activities & tools, including round table discussions, focus groups (World Café), informal meetings, and direct interviewing of beneficiaries from IFAD and ICARDA projects. The participants will select specific themes (out of a list of 22 themes extending from themes like rangeland rehabilitation and water harvesting to the themes like biodiversity, gene management and biofuels) as the main focus of their work during the workshop. Designated staff will facilitate plenary sessions, contribute as resource persons, lead the field visit groups, and generate success stories from the field. The event will end with a divisional PN retreat that will examine a number of deliverables including the Divisional Management and Medium Term Plans.

Besides the benefits of cross fertilization and lifting of the overall team spirit, the workshop is expected to yield concrete deliverables, including:
• 20 learning notes on available technologies and approaches in rain-fed agriculture
• 6 success stories (human stories) from the field
• validated Divisional Management Plan 2010 and a PN Medium term plan 2010-2012
• strengthened networking and systematic knowledge sharing mechanisms between the country programme and IFAD HQ
• Outlines of 2-3 specific projects that would build on ICARDA’s knowledge and expertise in areas relevant to IFAD’s thematic priorities in the NENA region