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International Conferences on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) World’s Leading Desertification Conference Kicks Off Today from Ben-Gurion University in Israel

The International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) has emerged as an important global gathering of scientists, practitioners, industry and government representatives and decision-makers, members of CSOs, NGOs, and international development aid agencies and other stakeholders from over 60 countries concerned about land and environmental degradation in drylands and living conditions in and around them, as well as their sustainable use and development. 

Israel’s Ben Gurion University is hosting the 7th International Drylands, Deserts & Desertification Conference (DDD) Nov 16 – 18. This year’s title is “Feeding the Drylands – Challenges in Changing Environment”.  These include food, water, human and ecosystem.

World’s Leading Desertification Conference Kicks Off Today from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. 

The 2020 Drylands, Deserts & Desertification Conference (DDD) begins today and will address one of the most pressing worldwide issues, "Feeding the Drylands: Challenges in a Changing Environment." More than 40% of the Earth's landmass is considered drylands, and that percentage rises every year.

The world's largest desertification-focused conference is being held virtually from November 16-18, 2020. Nearly 2,000 people have registered from 103 countries, including new Israeli ally, the United Arab Emirates, and perennial adversary, Iran. The number of registrants has quadrupled since the previous DDD conference.

Organized by the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the conference brings together more than 160 top researchers and practitioners in the field from around the world. Registration is free.

The conference is affiliated with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw will deliver opening remarks.

The DDD Conference has become a seminal event for those interested in the techniques, policies and practices of combating desertification.

The conference will delve into key newsworthy topics unfolding today and will address some of the following topics:

1) What is the connection between the climate crisis and desertification, and are humans solely responsible for the crisis?

2) What is the connection between desertification and the COVID-19 pandemic? How does desertification affect the food on our plate, and will our nutrition change entirely in another 30 years?

3) How is the Israeli Negev producing world-class wines in a desert environment and what are its researchers doing to help the wine industry worldwide?

4) Can desertification, such as that which is expected to turn Southern Europe into drylands in just two decades, be stopped?

5) What policies, technologies, and initiatives are needed? (Source)   and Programme

Quick overview from the previous conferences: 2006-2017

In November 2006, the BIDR held the First International Conference on Desertification, co-sponsored by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More than 250 scientists, field workers and government, NGO and international agency officials from over thirty countries convened to consider a range of related issues, thereby generating collaborations, research, and policy initiatives. Continuing in the same spirit, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the international partner for the 2008 conference

  • 2nd Drylands, Deserts & Desertification 2008 December 14-17, 2008 Programme ; 

The recent Millennium Ecosystems Assessment estimated that desertification directly affects more people than any other global environemtal problem facing the international community. Degradation of drylands over vast areas of the globe has enormous economic, social and ecological implications, especially in developing countries. Recently, the Drylands Development Paradigm (DDP) has received considerable attention. This year’s conference agenda included presentation and case studies focusing on the implications of the paradigm for partnerships between developing and developed countries as well as for adaptation to climate change in drylands. About the conference in a nutshell

Many other countries were slow to understand the significance of this global crisis. Now that problems such as soil erosion, salinization, climate change and groundwater mismanagement have heightened awareness of the devastating effects of desertification, Israel is honing its expertise and offering it far beyond its own borders. Attendees discussed the public health aspects of desertification; sustainable building in desert environments; remote sensing to assess how flora are responding to anti-desertification attempts; grazing and the Bedouin community; the future of the Dead Sea; environmental education and dry-land agriculture; and soil and water restoration.

  • 4th Drylands, Deserts & Desertification 2012 Implementing Rio+20 for Drylands and Desertification 12 -15 November, 2012

The 4th DDD conference  focused on the outcome of Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development – UNCSD) and consider the science required for implementing the UNCSD recommendations relevant to drylands and desertification. Local case studies were highlighted alongside success stories from around the world with an emphasis on indicators of progress. Additional sessions were held considering a broad range of topics associated with sustainable living in the drylands and means to address desertification, as well as achieving the target of zero net rate of land degradation.

Book of abstracts ; and Special Issue on the Fourth Drylands Deserts and Desertification “DDD” Conference  in Journal of Arid Environments Edited by Alon Tal, Sharon B. Megdal, Arnon Karnieli, Samara Bel Volume 112, Part A, Pages 1-124 (January 2015)

  • 5th Drylands, Deserts and Desertificat​​ion 2014 Healthy Lands - Healthy People 17-20 November, 2014 

The International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD)  focused on the theme, 'Healthy Lands – Healthy People' considered the interactions between drylands and the people around them. The conference  included plenary lectures and panels, parallel sessions, workshops and field trips on theoretical and practical issues related to addressing desertification and sustainable livelihoods in dryland areas. Sessions were held on, inter alia: the target of zero net rate of land degradation; soil and land restoration; urban planning in drylands; and water policy in drylands. Programme; Brochure; Concluding statement; Book of abstracts ; UNCCD SPI session report

  • 6th Drylands, Deserts and Desertification 2017 Combating Desertification and Dryland Management-Theory and Practice November 6-9, 2017

The 6th DDD conference focused on the Theory and Practice of Combating Desertification and Dryland Management, with a particular emphasis on the theoretical aspects of the physical, biological and chemical processes associated with processes in drylands and the progress made to date in our quest to achieve land degradation neutrality.​  Programme; Sessions


BGU’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) is comprised of three research institutes pertaining to desert studies and dryland agriculture, water management and environmental issues with 905 scientists, 60 technical and administrative staff members and over 100 Israeli and foreign research students dedicated to the goal of sustainable development of arid lands. The Institutes balance basic and applied research related to desert science in their pursuit of sustainable development for marginal lands, a definition that applies to nearly 40% of the world's surface. These diverse research and advanced teaching activities are carried out in the laboratories, classes and other facilities on the BGU Sde Boker Campus, as well as in research stations and field research sites scattered over the Negev desert. Click here to watch a video about the BGU Blaustein Institutes. Visit our website at

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is the fastest growing research university in Israel. With 20,000 students, 4,000 staff and faculty members, and three campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sde Boker and Eilat, BGU is an agent of change, fulfilling the vision of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s legendary first prime minister, who envisaged the future of Israel emerging from the Negev. For more information, visit the BGU website.