The Middle East faces increasing environmental and resource‐ based challenges, such as depleting water resources and food security.

Innovation and Investment in MENA Region Food Security

How will the Middle East and North Africa region meet the growing demand for food? What are the implications of the current political environment in the region on food security? What type of planning is needed and how can better policies be implemented? To answer these pertinent questions, the Hollings Center for International Dialogue, together with the University of Central Florida and Al Akhwayan University in Morocco, recently hosted a dialogue called The Food Security Factor: Stability, Governance, and Development Choices.  The dialogue looked at food security throughout the MENA region as part of a series of dialogues that look at resource challenges throughout the Middle East.  Following this meeting, we conducted several video interviews on some of the topics of the dialogue. Links to these videos can be found below.

Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, discusses the innovation solutions that could be applied to improving food security in the Middle East & North Africa. She focuses on deploying small scale technological innovations, the importance of learning from older techniques, and the utilization of local, native crop varieties.

Martin Keulertz, Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut, discusses the challenges the MENA region faces in achieving food security and discusses possible ways to address those challenges. Most importantly, the outlook can be optimistic with attention to key issues and the development of new strategies.

Jeannie Sowers, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire, discusses some of the obstacles to food security in the Middle East & North Africa, particularly the challenge of the inclusion of rural populations in food security strategies. She further highlights good examples from the region.

Dr. Hassan Arafat of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology discusses the state of desalination in the Middle East, including problems of using this technology and recent developments in the field of desalination.

Dr. Scott Moore discusses why water is such a political issue and what conditions are necessary to resolving water conflict in the Middle East. He also offers insight on Asia as a model for water management in the Middle East and envisions the future of international cooperation on such issues.