April 19, 2018

The Global Dryland Alliance (GDA) signed a host agreement with Qatar’s Foreign Ministry making Doha the alliance’s new headquarters.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi, signed the agreement on behalf of the State of Qatar and GDA Executive Director Ambassador Bader Al Dafa signed on behalf of the Alliance.

The GDA initiative was put forward by the Emir H.H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at a speech he gave at the 68th UN General Assembly in 2013.
Doha hosted on October 15, 2017 the GDA Founding Conference, where 11 Member States signed the foundation treaty.

GDA aims to provide support to researches and new innovations of member states and to implement the results. The alliance also aims to provide the best practices that can be shared with dryland countries around the world.

After the signing, Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Lolwah Al Khater said the 11-state alliance seeks to achieve food security for dryland countries, which results in further stability and peace around the world.

The GDA also aims to cooperate with local, regional and international partners to find solutions and spread and implement them in order to face challenges related to agriculture, water and energy in dryland countries, the spokesperson added.

Al Khater said the alliance aims to engage in joint research and technological innovation relevant to the alliance members’ agricultural, water, and energy use needs. It also aims to coordinate with the private sector to implement and spread innovative solutions related to food security, exchange the benefits of new technological and research innovations with least developed dryland countries in an effort to reduce hunger and poverty, she added.

The spokesperson added that some land will be allocated to set up storage for cattle, a farm and laboratory to conduct research on desert and dryland.

For his part, Ambassador Al Dafa said the alliance is not an alternative for the organizations that work in this field, but complements their efforts and will work in full coordination and consultation with them in the area of food security for dryland countries.
Al Dafa added that there is an urgent need to intensify the efforts in developing food security programs, as the world population increases by 200,000 per day, with a gap between consumption and agriculture investment, as well as climate challenges that impose a difficult reality on dryland countries.

He said that if the alliance’s member states cooperate, challenges and threats may lessen. He called on the private sector to play its role in projects that develop food security in member states.

The GDA executive director said these challenges are more acute and serious in dryland countries, who are mostly developing with limited means and more vulnerable to hunger and epidemics.