27) Brainstorming Session on Desertification in Asia (June 2000)

Continuing the current momentum in natural resources management partnerships with our host country, India, ICRISAT organized a 2-day "Brainstorming Session on Desertification in Asia" at the Patancheru campus on 8 and 9 June. Scientists from diverse Indian research institutes and ICRISAT have come together to form what Dr. Barry Shapiro, NRMP Program Director, in his opening remarks, described as a "coalition to address the serious problem of desertification". Distinguished participants included Dr. James Morton, Director, Natural Resources Systems Programme, of the Department for International Development, UK.

Welcoming the participants, Director General Dr. William Dar introduced the gathering to the chief elements of the New CGIAR Vision and Strategy extensively discussed during the recent Mid-Term Meeting in Dresden, Germany. Dr Dar concluded by exhorting the participants that "We must win this war against desertification". Dr. Dar's address is attached to this issue of Happenings.

Dr. D P Rao, Director, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, also made a presentation during the inaugural session, g iving valuable statistics on the extent of the problem in India. He also gave a comprehensive overview of the role of remote sensing in assessing and combating desertification.

Dr. G B Singh, Deputy Director General (NR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi discussed the extent of desertification in Asia and highlighted the various initiatives taken jointly under the UN Convention on Combating Desertification in Asia. He briefed the participants on thematic programs network to fight against desertification in Asia.
Dr. Shapiro detailed the objectives of this brainstorming session, and outlined the structuring of these consultations so that the meeting could achieve its dual objectives: suggest directions for joint ICAR-ICRISAT research in combating desertification in India; and provide input into a draft proposal on combating desertification in the desert margins of Asia for a Project Development Fund grant to be submitted to the Asian Development Bank.

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