OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

MOU between Oregon, Qatar heightens international impact of OSU research

10/07/2010

Editor's note: The following release was distributed Oct. 6, 2010, by the U.S. Embassy in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. A recent visit to Oregon by a high-level delegation from Qatar included meetings at Oregon State University, where faculty shared research on dry-land agriculture, agronomics, desalination, irrigation and more. OSU will be a leading participant in activities covered in the memorandum of understanding detailed below.

U.S. EMBASSY DOHA

Office of Public Affairs

October 6, 2010

Historic Memorandum of Understanding Signed Between State of Oregon and the State of Qatar

The State of Qatar and the U.S. State of Oregon have signed a historic memorandum of understanding on food security and sustainability.  It is the first such MOU between a U.S. State Governor and the Government of Qatar.

On Friday, October 1st, 2010 the Governor of the U.S. State of Oregon, the Honorable Ted Kulongoski, signed the MOU following a series of meetings in Oregon between Oregon authorities and a delegation from the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP), led by the Programme’s Chairman, Fahad Al Attiya. Chairman Al Attiya signed on behalf of QNFSP. With this MOU, Qatar and Oregon have made clear their intent to collaborate via government, university, non-profit, and private sector entities to share best practices and to coordinate efforts on food security and sustainability, not only in the benefit of Qatar and Oregon, but in the benefit of other countries and regions, too.  

QNFSP Chairman Fahad Al Attiya commented, "On behalf of His Highness the Emir of the State Qatar, His Highness the Heir Apparent, and the people of Qatar, we are very grateful to the Governor of Oregon, the Chancellor of the Oregon University System, and all the academics and private-sector individuals who contributed to this historic result. We look forward to quick and effective implementation of this MOU between Qatar and Oregon, and to the global effects that will result, enhancing food security in dry land countries world wide. "

According to Governor Kulongoski, “This historic agreement represents a tremendous opportunity for both Oregon and Qatar.  Oregonians’ deep expertise and experience in developing sustainable agricultural and infrastructure technologies offer the chance to enhance the relationship between our two countries while achieving our mutual goals.”

In Doha, U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron said, “The signing of this historic MOU on Oct. 1 is an important watershed with lasting economic and societal significance.  I am confident the MOU will enable both Oregon and Qatar to make the most out of their common interest in dry land agricultural production and in building more sustainable societies for the wellbeing of the generations to come.  This deepening relationship between Oregon and Qatar is important to the entire United States; it helps bring the United States and Qatar more closely together in common cause, with benefits to many beyond our two countries.”

Following the signing of the MOU, both sides met to shape the initiative’s action plan. The Oregon and Qatar representatives discussed near term collaborative projects in the areas of new desalination technologies, irrigation and monitoring procedures and agronomic methods.  They also discussed a multi-institution, multi-state effort to establish a "next generation" irrigation management program based largely on using brackish water and reclaimed waste water to optimize agricultural use of water.

The parties agreed to quickly name representatives in each of these areas of endeavor. 

The two sides also explored ways to facilitate international public-private collaboration, academic exchanges in different formats, and the concept of a Middle East regional agricultural university based in Qatar.  The two sides pledged to develop an overarching organization for academic and private institutions from organizations from around the world to collaborate on technologies dedicated to food security in dry land areas. This organization would be based on the successful model currently in operation in Oregon.

Oregon is renowned for its expertise in sustainability, agriculture and renewable energy.  For its part, Qatar has exhibited a growing commitment to innovation in food security.  Just last week, Qatar, in partnership with the UN, at a Side Meeting at the United Nations General Assembly initiated a Global Dry Lands Alliance to develop technologies based on renewable energy, best agronomic practices in arid lands and other innovations to address the problem of food and water shortages in dry land countries.