International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) 2006


                        Opening Ceremony Speech on Behalf of the

ISCO Board of Directors



ISCO is Still Relevant to the Global Conservation Movement



Samir A.  El-Swaify


Founding Member of the ISCO Board of Directors and Emeritus Professor

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

University of Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii



Honorable Commissioner and Guests

Chairman Badrawi

ISCO President Professor Sabir

Fellow Participants in ISCO 2006


It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome you to ISCO 2006 on behalf of ISCO’s Board of Directors.  I have been fortunate to help form ISCO when we met in Hawaii in 1983, and to advocate its growth into the respected organization that it is today.  By now, ISCO’s meetings have been held on every continent, at least twice. Beginning with the first conference at Gent in 1978; I have been very fortunate to attend all ISCO conferences so far.


ISCO’s format of rotating among different countries and continents has been successful not only for allowing us to share valuable scientific knowledge and professional experience, but also to enjoy wonderful friendships with their peoples and to learn about their cultures.  All along, we have been unified by a strong commitment to the sustainable use of global natural resources while meeting essential human needs.


This is the 14th Conference for ISCO and we are grateful for our Morocco colleagues for selecting a very relevant conference theme and for organizing a strong program that promises to be a great success. Special thanks go to all members of the Local Organizing Committee with the able leadership of ISCO 2006 President, Professor MOHAMED SABIR.


ISCO remains the most successful, relevant and committed global soil and land conservation organization because of the many challenges posed by ever-increasing human populations and ever-shrinking productive resource base. Per capita grain producing lands now stands at about 0.10 ha and human-induced land and soil degradation continues to be rampant on every continent.  In addition to food production concerns, degradation is instrumental in damaging the earth’s life support system. Soil protection concerns must be central to the success of global efforts for sustainable development, including the three global “conventions” that emerged from the UNCED, namely the Convention for Combating Desertification (CCD), the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  Let us renew our resolve to work together to assure the sustainable use of precious global soil and water resources and to combat their ongoing degradation. 


On behalf of the ISCO Board of Directors, I again thank our hosts for their hospitality and wish you all a productive conference and an enjoyable experience in wonderful Morocco.


I also invite you to make early plans for attending the future conferences of this wonderful ISCO organization, beginning with ISCO 15 in 2008 which will be held in Budapest, Hungary.