The Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research & Studies (PMBF) has matched funds awarded to UCF Political Science Professor Peter Jacques to conduct a research project looking at sustainable development, water, and food security in Morocco. Jacques, who is partnering with the Marrakesh-based High Atlas Foundation (HAF), won a competitive grant offered by the Hollings Center for International Dialog.
The project, which will be launched this fall, includes both field research and an international workshop on the relationship between sustainable development practices (SDPs) and food security in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The interdisciplinary field research will provide biophysical and social science assessments and involve local participation. In addition to Jacques, the research team includes University of South Florida water expert Thomas Crisman, Dr. George Zalidis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Yossef Ben-Meir of HAF. The project also includes a number of other Moroccan experts, including local farmers, government officials, and scientists.
Yossef Ben-Meir, HAF
After conducting field research, Jacques and HAF will host a two-day workshop in Marrakesh to share ideas and findings. The team will then produce a policy brief, academic paper, and a short film on the relationships of sustainable development practices and food security.
“Our project attempts to build and strengthen food and water security in the MENA region. We will specifically investigate, discuss, and communicate links between sustainable development practices and food and water security. Typically, these SDPs advance social, ecological, and economic wellbeing now and into the future. I look forward to working with our partners and research team on this meaningful project,” noted Jacques.
The PMBF Program, which has an ongoing resource initiative, has sponsored a series of conferences, roundtable discussions, lectures, and fact finding trips on issues related to water, food, and energy security in the MENA region. PMBF has partnered with the Hollings Center on three regional dialogue conferences in Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Casablanca over the past several years.
“Like UCF more broadly, the PMBF Program is committed to promoting sustainability. We are happy to support Dr. Jacques and his impressive team as they dig deeper into these issues. It is also important that they will work with locals in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the challenges in Morocco – and how they could be applied more broadly to the region,” added PMBF Director David Dumke.
Jacques chose Morocco because it has many notable tools in place – including institutions that facilitate SDPs, a robust civil society, and an ideal partner in the High Atlas Foundation. HAF organizes SDPs to assist agriculturally dependent local people in different parts of the country. There are also several obstacles to sustainable food and water security in Morocco that are instructive to environmental security challenges broadly. The project is organized to study and report on the details of these SDPs in different locations of Morocco to better understand how food security can emerge from SDPs, as well as to provide technical advice on resource management. The project’s total budget is $30,000.
For additional information about the Moroccan project, or the PMBF Program, please contact Kinda Haddad at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (407) 823-2510.