Tropentag 2019:

Filling gaps and removing traps for sustainable resources management

September 18 - 20, 2019,
organised by
Universities of Kassel and Goettingen, Germany

Plenary Session addresses

Alexander de CrooAlexander de Croo
Deputy Prime Minsiter of Belgium and
Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services
As Minister of Development Cooperation, he focuses on strengthening human rights and promoting local economic growth in the partner countries.


Patrick van Damme, UGent, foto Hilde ChristiaensPatrick van Damme
Head of the organising committee of Tropentag 2018
Professor at the Department of Plants and Crops, Ghent University
The laboratory headed by Patrick van Damme, Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany, focus on applied research that bridges the gap between academic research and its application by governments, NGOs, and other actors in rural development in tropical and subtropical countries. The laboratory also lectures and provides practical training for Bio-Engineers of the faculty, specialising in Agricultural Sciences and Land and Forest Management. Outside the faculty, courses in Agricultural Development are lectured to students of the Master in Development Co-operation and to students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Prof. Van Damme also lectures at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp) and at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic.
Since 2009, Patrick Van Damme is also chairman of the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO) (UGENT)

Geert HaesaertGeert Haesaert
Departmental Administrator, Internationalization Services of the Faculty Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University


Mieke van HerrewegheMieke van Herreweghe
Vice-Rector of Ghent University
Professor Mieke van Herreweghe has been vice-rector of Ghent University since 1 October 2017.


Guido Van Huylenbroeck; Copyright: UGent, foto Hilde ChristiaensGuido van Huylenbroeck
Ghent University, Director for Internationalisation
The Director for Internationalisation sees to the development and implementation of the Integrated Policy Plan for Internationalisation and presides the main advisory board, i.e. Expert Group, on Internationalisation and the specific thematic working groups, as well as the Commission on Development Cooperation (COS) and the Interfaculty Resonance Group for Internationalisation (IFRI).


Petr SklenickaPetr Sklenička (tbc)
Rector of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic


Keynote speakers

Monday September 17

Namukolo CovicNamukolo Covic
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Senior Research Coordinator in the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, Ethiopia
Namukolo Covic works for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as Senior Research Coordinator in the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Current focus of her work is the CGIAR Research Programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). She is the country coordinator for A4NH in Ethiopia where she also provides representation for the programme in its interactions with the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Her other areas of focus include addressing linkages related to capacity for evidence informed decision making along the policy to programme continuum and multisectoral nutrition action including the promotion of best practices, mutual learning, policy review, and dialogue processes with relevant stakeholders on the African continent as well as globally. She has extensive experience with African continental policy and programme processes relevant to promoting better agriculture to nutrition and health linkages.

Ramon L. EspinelRamon L. Espinel
Professor and Dean, Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Ramon Espinel is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences in ESPOL University, associate Professor at the University of Florida, and Representative of the Republic of Ecuador to the Board of the International Monetary Fund. He has served as Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and as President of FINAGRO (Banco del Agro). He is an expert in Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Economics, Food Security and Rural Development Agroecology and Agriculture.

Bernhard FreyerBernhard Freyer
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Univ. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Freyer heads the Division of Organic Farming as well as the working group of Transdsciplinary Systems Research at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and has been a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota in the US since 2011. His research focuses on social systems theory and societal change within the context of organic agriculture and low input systems. His most recent research is on the sustainability of monasteries, farmer-consumer partnerships, ethics in the organic agrofood system, consumer behavior, climate change and smallholder farmer systems. He has organized and has headed several national and international research projects, is guiding PhD and master thesis since more than 25 years and offers lectures in a broad field of topics within organic agriculture, methods and theories in social sciences. Further more he is reviewer in several journals in the field of social sciences, ethics and ecology.

OenemaStineke Oenema
United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition, Rome, Italy
Stineke Oenema is nutritionist (Wageningen University) and agricultural economist (London University). She worked several years for FAO and UNICEF in Ghana, Vietnam and Latin America. From 2004-2015 she worked with a Dutch NGO (ICCO) being in charge of food and nutrition security policy and programme development. During this period, she was member of the editorial board of the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch. She chaired the European Food Security Group and was part of the Coordinating Committee of the Civil Society Mechanism for the Committee on World Food Security. In the Netherlands, she has been chair of the Netherlands Working Group on Nutrition, a working group of NGOs, private sector actors and knowledge institutes. As member of the Independent Expert Group, she supported the development of the Global Nutrition Reports during its initial years. Before joining the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) in 2016, she worked at Wageningen University, the Centre for Development Innovation. In her current function as Coordinator of the UNSCN, she contributes to maximising coherency of nutrition policy and advocacy; as well as to coherent and accountable delivery by the UN system.

Wednesday September 19

Emile FrisonEmile Frison
International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), Orvieto, Italy
Emile Frison is an expert on conservation and agricultural biodiversity who has headed global research-for-development organisation Bioversity International for ten years, after holding top positions at several global research institutes. Emile Frison, a Belgian national, obtained an MSc in Agricultural Sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and a PhD in Agricultural Science from the University of Gembloux in Belgium. He has spent most of his career in international agricultural research for development, starting as a researcher at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria in 1979, and working in Mauritania for USAID. He joined the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources in 1987 and became Regional Director for Europe of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute in 1992. He became the Director of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP) in 1995 and Director General of Bioversity International in 2003. He is currently the Chair of the International Scientific Committee on Sustainable Food Systems of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. His areas of expertise include the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity. He has a particular interest in sustainable food systems and the deployment of agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and the resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems.

Francois StepmanFrancois Stepman
Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD), Brussels, Belgium
PAEPARD aims to facilitate multi-stakeholder Africa-Europe partnerships in the field of agricultural research for development (ARD) with a view to contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since September 2015 have become Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since 2010, PAEPARD has been working to promote new innovation processes through partnerships Multi-actors and mediation work between research organizations, NGOs, peasant organizations And the private sector. This process allows new projects to emerge or bring added value To existing projects in different sectors.
Francois Stepman is working since 2010 as European co-manager at PAEPARD.

oral presentation sessions

John McDermott John McDermott - session Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH)
Director, CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), IFPRI-Washington, USA
John McDermott joined IFPRI in 2011 to lead the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by IFPRI. Previously he was Deputy Director General and Director of Research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi from 2003-2011. John has lived and worked in Africa for 25 years. As a researcher, John’s research career has focused on public health, animal health and livestock research in developing countries, primarily Africa. He has led projects on zoonotic and emerging diseases in Asia and Africa. John has a strong background in quantitative methods (modeling, study design, statistics). He has earned a PhD in quantitative epidemiology from the University of Guelph, a Masters Degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California – Davis, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph. During his research career, John authored or co-authored 200 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and conference papers and has advised over 30 post-graduate students, including 20 PhD graduates. He was a visiting Lecturer at the University of Nairobi and a Professor at the University of Guelph. He has also served as an advisor to FAO, WHO, OIE, and other international agencies, served as a non-executive Director of the Global Alliance for Livestock Vaccines and Medicine (GALVmed), and as a member of the advisory committee of Veterinarians with Borders in Canada.

Michael Ochieng OdhiamboMichael Ochieng Odhiambo - session Pastoralism
Director; People, Land & Rural Development (PLRD), Kenya
Michael Ochieng Odhiambo is a lawyer who founded and served as first Executive Director of the Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE), a regional policy research and advocacy NGO based in Nakuru, Kenya. He continues to associate with the Institute as a member of the Board. He was also a founding National Coordinator of the Kenya Land Alliance (KLA) and a founding member and Executive Director of the Drylands Learning and Capacity Initiative for improved policy and practice in the Horn of Africa (DLCI).
Since 1999, Michael has been actively involved in policy research, analysis, advocacy, training and capacity development with a focus on land, natural resources and environment. His main interest is the use of policies, laws and institutions to secure livelihoods of smallholder producers and to promote sustainable rural development.
He has extensive experience in working with pastoral and agropastoral communities in the Horn of Africa. In this connection, he has advised and supported UN agencies, donors, international and national non-governmental and community-based organisations on pastoralism and policy-related issues all over the Horn of Africa, with assignments in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. He has at various times conducted policy research and analysis, training and evaluations for the European Union, the African Union, FAO, the World Bank, UNDP, DFID, USAID, Oxfam, NPA, NRC, IWGIA and Cordaid. He is currently Director of the policy think-tank People, Land & Rural Development (PLRD).

Anthony WhitbreadAnthony Whitbread - session Land degradation and livelihoods for the Sahel
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Research Program Director - Innovation Systems for the Drylands, Hyderabad, India
Anthony Whitbread is the Research Program Director for Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), based in Hyderabad, India. With a PhD from the University of New England in Soil Science and Agronomy, Dr Whitbread leads a team of 30+ scientists across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in an innovation systems mode devising strategies to manage climatic risk, soil fertility and identifying market led development opportunities. This role was preceded by a 20 year research career in the crop-livestock systems of semi-arid Australia, SE Asia and Southern Africa. His team based work has received recognition with the “2006 CSIRO Learning Culture Award” and the 2013 CSIRO team medal for ‘Impact from Science’. In 2011, he became full Professor (W3) of Crop Production Systems in the Tropics at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany combining his passions of teaching and applied research. He has published widely with more than 55 journal articles, a H-index of 21 and citations exceeding 2400. His specialisations are: Agronomy and soil science, farm systems analysis, crop modelling, climate risk management, spatial analysis