Arab American University and its partners the Palestinian Meteorological Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Energy, the Environmental Quality Authority and the Water Authority celebrated the launching of the two projects of “the Meteorological Station” and “the Smart Agriculture” in Jenin Campus.
Prof. Mohammad Asia- the Deputy Head of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change and Environmental Technology and the VP for the Medical School Affairs in Arab American University said that “the launching of the two projects came as a result of the continuous support that the Board of Directors and especially the Chairman of the Board Dr. Yousef Asfour provided, and the efforts of the Center’s Board of Directors Headed by Prof. Waleed Deeb”.
Prof. Asia also mentioned that the Center of Excellence for Climate Change and Environmental Technology was established in Arab American University and the Board of the center contains representatives from other universities, governmental, private and community organizations. The center aims to provide services for the different organizations and for the local community through collecting data and conducting studies and researches.
Prof. Asia also explained that the Meteorological Station is the first perfect station between the other 15 stations in Palestine as it provides data on the weather, temperature and humidity. What makes this station special is its location in an empty area away from buildings and trees, and this will lead to having accurate data on weather. Also the station will provide specific measurements for the soil as this technology will calculate the moisture, water, soil dryness and PH levels, and that this information will be sent to the Ministry of Agriculture to benefit other farmers in the northern area of the West Bank to help them improve their crops.
Additionally, Prof. Asia talked about how the Center will start in a third project which is a laboratory for the Center during the coming three months. This lab will provide the interested parties with the scientific researches and information related to agriculture and environment such as the smart greenhouses or other agriculture related projects from all over the West Bank. He clarified that the center will be equipped with modern technologies and devices and will be a center for advising that the different sectors of agriculture, energy, water and environment will benefit from.
Eng. Yousef Asaad- the Chairman of the Palestinian Meteorological Authority and one of the Board members of the Center said “the Meteorological Station that was established here will be a big supporter to the other 15 stations in Palestine”, he added, “the importance of the station is in providing accurate information to the researcher in AAUP and in other universities in addition to providing information to farmers as well”.
Eng. Asaad also said that the station will be connected to the meteorological stations in Palestine and this will enhance the prediction for the weather forecasting and hence, will provide information for people in the agriculture and environment sectors and for the research purposes.
Eng. Asaad expressed his pride of the achievements of Arab American University and said that the Palestinian Meteorological Authority is working on establishing 7 new stations in the coming 6 months and will be distributed in the different areas.
Eng. Ibtisam Abu Haijaa- the Director of the Climate Change Department in the Ministry of Agriculture talked about the importance of the projects that the university launched, and said that the Smart Agriculture is a unique project and one of its kind in Palestine. She expressed how proud she is to build partnership relations with AAUP and said that the Arab American University is the first university that is interested in the climate change issues and the first to establish a center for this topic.
Eng. Abu Haijaa explained that the smart agriculture is the main methodology for the advanced world nowadays, especially under the current climate change of less rain and high temperature, and said: “We are so proud that the Smart Agriculture project has started to be used here in Palestine in this great edifice through the Center of Excellence for Climate Change and Environmental Technology, this will provide new opportunities to new technological experiments that will be applied in Palestine. Moreover, the center will benefit the university students and researchers as well.”
She added that the project of smart agriculture will save lots of money on farmers who will be using cheaper technologies that will improve their crops and so will reduce the exporting of stuff from outside.
Ms. Hadeel Khamis- the representative of the Environment Quality Authority said: “the authority is the national connection between the climate change projects in Palestine, as it works with other local partners to develop and support projects in Palestine. Arab American University is one of the first universities to support and develop projects related to Climate change, and we are glad to be part of this project.”
After the opening of the Meteorological station and the Smart Agriculture projects, the Board of Directors of the Center of Excellence for Climate Change and Environmental Technology held a meeting to discuss the future projects to serve the Palestinian organizations in the agriculture, environment and energy sectors.