News Release 

"Feeding the Drylands" -- 2020 UN Virtual Desertification Conference at Ben-Gurion U. in Israel

November 16-18 - More than 100 experts will discuss all this and more with an eye on the practical: strategies, technologies, information sharing, and partnership building

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Scientific Meeting Announcement

NEW YORK...November 16, 2020 - American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) is proud to sponsor the 2020 Drylands, Deserts & Desertification Conference (DDD) organized by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel that will address one of the most pressing worldwide issues, "Feeding the Drylands: Challenges in a Changing Environment." More than 40% of Earth's landmass is considered drylands, and that percentage rises every year.

According to Doug Seserman, AABGU chief executive officer, "The DDD Conference has been one of the rare events that the United Nations holds in cooperation with Israel. Renowned researchers from many U.S. institutions will address key topics of interest concerning climate change and arid regions. AABGU has been a sponsor of this conference since its inception and is proud of BGU's leadership in addressing one of the planet's most significant challenges."

This year, the world's largest desertification-focused conference will be held virtually from November 16-18, 2020 at no charge. Organized by BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, the conference brings together the world's premier researchers and practitioners in the field from the U.S., Israel, Europe, and many other countries facing desertification, including Brazil, India, China, Kenya, and more.

Registration is free and participants can sign up here:

More than 1,000 participants from 60 countries have registered to date.

The DDD conference is affiliated with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). DDD has become a seminal event -- generally held every other year -- for those interested in the techniques, policies and practices of combating desertification.

"The DDD conference has grown to be the most important and influential conference in the world addressing sustainability, environmental issues, water scarcity, and food security in drylands," says Prof. Noam Weisbrod, director of the Blaustein Institutes. "In light of the severe global changes the world is facing and their dramatic influence on drylands in general and on developing countries in particular, DDD is more significant than ever before."

More than 100 experts will discuss all this and more with an eye on the practical: strategies, technologies, information sharing, and partnership building.

Among the American universities and agencies presenting are: Bennington College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Penn State, United States Department of Agriculture, University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois, Utah State, University of Texas, University of California, and Vanderbilt University.

The conference speakers will delve into newsworthy topics under four tracks: Challenges in Food, Water, Human and Ecosystem: They will address such issues as:

  • What will it take to contain desertification?
  • How are BGU researchers helping the worldwide wine industry as they develop world-class wines in the Israeli Negev desert?
  • New desalination and water treatment research and technologies.
  • What is the connection between the climate crisis and desertification, and the human component in the crisis?
  • How is desertification and the COVID-19 pandemic connected?
  • How does desertification affect the food on our plate, and will our nutrition change significantly?

According to Prof. Shimon Rachmilevitch, DDD conference chair, "The causes and consequences of desertification affect every creature, plant and human on the planet. The importance of researching and understanding desertification is part and parcel of understanding climate change. This international conference, sponsored by the UN, is the most important stage in the world to hear, be heard, learn, and draw conclusions that will benefit humanity and the planet."


About the International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD)

The 7th DDD conference, being presented by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Sde Boker, Israel, will focus on Feeding the Drylands. Additional sessions will be held on a broad range of topics associated with meeting this challenge in our changing environment, including food, water, energy, ecosystems, and societies. The conference 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. For more information, visit

About the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

The BGU Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research 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.
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About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU's academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU's main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion's vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.
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