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The project WATDEV - Climate Smart WATer Management and Sustainable DEVelopment for Food and Agriculture in East Africa is funded by the DeSIRA initiative of the European Union and aims to develop an in-depth understanding of small and large-scale water and agricultural resource dynamics and management while boosting people’s resilience to climate, through innovative research, modelling, and capacity building approaches.
The scarcity or limited availability of water resources and climate conditions are severely compromising agricultural production and food security in many East African countries. WATDEV project targets Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, all of which score poorly on the Human Development Index. They need to improve water and soil management and agricultural production methods. However, ensuring long-term and long-lasting individual and institutional capacity for the management of water and natural resources requires multi-actors’ involvement and engagement, as natural resources provide ecosystem services to different communities, particularly in the agriculture sector. The complexity of global issues and the need for developing and implementing appropriate ways to manage water resources are evident in many East African catchments, including the Nile River Basin and other smaller basins like Tana River Basin in Kenya.  

The Italian Agency for the Development Cooperation (Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo – AICS) is the Executive Body and assures the overall project coordination and monitoring, whereas the CIHEAM Bari is the technical and scientific project lead partner. 
The project brings together academia, policy, and private sector to create an environment conducive to agricultural innovation and modern transformation. 
Reliable data and knowledge management tools are needed to make informed decisions about natural resources management, investments, and policies. Therefore, WATDEV will collect, analyse, implement available best practices/innovations in study areas and simulate their impact scenarios with the use of models and knowledge achieved in regional water studies. WATDEV will extract lessons from experiences with water resources best management practices and match them with specific local situations in study areas. The project will integrate knowledge already present from recent and ongoing research and operational projects, but also related databases, modelling tools, technologies, and operational frameworks.

WATDEV partners will also exchange information and knowledge within DeSIRA initiative and beyond in view of food systems transformation.

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