The Board of Directors in the Center of Excellence for Climate Change in AAUP held their regular meeting to discuss the best site to establish a meteorological station in Arab American University – Jenin Campus. They also discussed the importance of smart agriculture and the ways to do it, the establishing of information database for climate change in Palestine and the future collaboration relations in the projects that the center implement with the governmental institutions and the local community.
The meeting was headed by Prof. Mohammad Asia- the VP for the Medical School Affairs and the Deputy Head of the center, with the presence of the Board members, Eng. Ibtisam Abu Haijaa- from the Ministry of Agriculture, Eng. Yousef Abu Asaad and Eng. Issam Issa – from the Palestinian Meteorological Department, Eng. Hazim Kettaneh- from the Water Authority, Eng. Hadeel Ikhmais- from the Environmental Quality Authority, Eng. Basil Yassin- from the Energy Authority, Eng. Jamal Zeitawi- an international Expert in the Geospatial Information Systems, Dr. Jacqueleen Joubran- from the GIS Department in AAUP and Dr. Iyad Yaqoub- from Arab American University.
Prof. Asia started the meeting by transferring greetings from Prof. Waleed Deeb- the Head of the Board of Directors of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change. Prof. Asia then talked about the efforts that they do to activate the center and ensured that the center provides services for all the governmental and community institutions by providing data, studies and researches that are already done in the center.
During the meeting, the members of the Board of Directors agreed to go in a field tour around the suggested sites of the university to choose the best location to establish the meteorological station that will measure the soil temperature and pH levels, and this will be important to protect the nature area in AAUP.
In this meeting, they also agreed to sign a collaboration agreement with the Palestinian Meteorological Department and to be ready to provide any technical, staff and operational support in regular bases for this new station, especially that this station will provide new information that are not being provided by any of the 15 stations in Palestine. The new station will be the only one to provide services to the agriculture areas in Jenin and to provide information about soil moisture and temperature. Knowing that the building of this station will be in short period of time and that it is now in the bidding and supply phase.
About the smart agriculture technology, the meeting discussed the idea of establishing a greenhouse that will be fully for smart agriculture technology, especially as the bid for a smart agriculture greenhouse for research is already issued. This greenhouse will be a place for researches to support the government strategy in developing the agriculture sector, especially since the donor countries require the government to provide models for research projects that are already applied on the ground before financing large projects, as stated by Eng. Ibtisam Abu Hijaa, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the meeting, they also talked about establishing a database for the center that the Information System Department will start in building, by encouraging students of the GIS department to do as their graduation project. This database will be in collaboration with the governmental institutions which approved on providing the center with the required data to establish the database in the best possible ways.
Eng. Hadeel – the representative for the Environmental Quality Authority asserted that the United Nations' international conventions on climate change, which are concerned with climate agreements, focus mainly on the smart agriculture aspect and provide the necessary funding to carry out research projects in this field. The international institutions also require seeing some research projects, the applied models and published results as a condition for financing projects in agriculture and climate change at the national level. And so, the keen of AAUP in focusing on the smart agriculture by providing the required tools, staff and devices inside the Arab American University campus will be of a great impact on achieving the goals of the UN and the governmental institutions.