Innovations for sustainability and food security in arid and semiarid lands
Dryland salinity, deforestation, decreasing productivity of rangelands and reduction of soil productivity are widespread phenomena and primary causes of desertification in the Central Asian region. The government of Uzbekistan is currently implementing effective measures to step up the production of food, draw foreign investments into the sphere, introduce cutting edge technologies, and boost export potential. These activities will ensure food security as a component of socio-economic development and create needed conditions for the dynamic development of a domestic agricultural industry complex that has an enormous production potential, and thus facilitate steadfast enhancement of the well-being, stability and prosperity of the country. To further the effectiveness of these activities, the ICAL2 conference is bringing together a group of internationally recognized experts, senior scientists from international research organizations, industry representatives, international development aid agencies, governmental leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders to share novel knowledge and experience in combating desertification and innovations in agriculture for ensuring food security and ecosystem resilience in arid and semi-arid regions. The participants will also address a number of research and development opportunities for marginal water resources and lands to prevent salinization and promote sustainable management of natural resources, including conservation of indigenous traditions of the desert and semi-desert zones. It is anticipated that the conference will highlight novel tools for evaluation and utilization of phytogenetic resources of saline dryland ecosystems and suggesting biological approaches and strategies for soil/water reclamation and sustainable use for improving food security and livelihood of people in these less favourable areas around the world. The overall expected outcome of the ICAL2 conference is increased awareness of the major challenges for agriculture and food security posed by climate change and the establishment of a platform for future international research collaborations in the area of combating desertification and degradation of natural and cultural environments in the desert and semidesert areas.