DDD Conference

Greetings & Session: Philanthropy, SDGs and Combating Desertification

The goals of the DDD Conference are both scientific and policy orientated:  to try and promote understanding and solutions for the problems caused by the degradation of drylands for the international community.   The success of the conference is based on collaboration from leading scientists and policymakers from both Western countries and from the developing countries most affected by desertification.  One of the Conference’s main objectives is to illustrate that only by working together can we solve the problems of poverty, famines, decimation of biodiversity, masses of refugees, and even health crises caused by desertification.

As more and more philanthropic organizations focus on goals that are less short-term and are more systemic and long-term, they too are becoming part of the conversation. One example of such long-term goals are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which call on all sectors to strive for a world “free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive”. In this session we will explore and discuss the positive influence that philanthropy and foundations can have on SDGs in general, and in preventing and addressing desertification, in particular. The COVID-19 pandemic is a living example of why organizations, governments and scientists need to work together to come up with solutions to the global challenges we are facing, yet it is by no means an easy cooperation.   Thus, the session will also explore the undeniable complexity in achieving the SDGs while working hand-in-hand with other sectors and offers a glimpse into the dilemmas and decisions taken by some of the leading philanthropists in the field. 


  • Mr. Avi Balashnikov, Chairman of College of Management Academic Studies and the representative of the American businessman Ronald Lauder in Israel
  • Prof. Avigad Vonshak, Professor Emeritus at the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), BGU & Special Advisor to the Bona-Terra Charity Foundation
  • Dr. Itay Greenspan, Senior Lecturer, The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Ms. Nicole Hod Stroh, Executive Director of the Merage Foundation


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