The DREAM II Conference took place at Kereyu Hill Resort Hotel, Adama, Ethiopia between 15 and 18 March 2022. It was organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and supported by the GIZ SDR Support Programme. Prior to this conference, the DREAM ASAL 2019 Conference (DREAM I) was organized in Semera, Ethiopia between September 29 and October 03, 2019, taking stock of the most promising approaches in the arid and semi-arid lowlands of Ethiopia. During the DREAM I conference, a second conference (DREAM II) was planned to take place from 20-24 September 2020 in Jijiga with the theme “joint planning of activities for the arid and semi-arid lowlands.” However, due to the global COVID19 impact and internal conflict, the initial schedule was postponed until its realization in March 2022.
In the meantime, ten hybrid preconference events took place since the DREAM I conference. The Pre-conferences and the main DREAM II conference offered opportunities to develop cooperation in strengthening drought resilience and provided a platform for bringing together key stakeholders such as federal and regional government partners, national and international NGOs, and CSOs, Universities & research institutions, and international development partners active in the lowlands of Ethiopia.
The objectives of the DREAM II conference were to support the systematic coordination of Lowland Development in Ethiopia in joint programming and capacity building and to take steps forward on the agenda to launch a number of initiatives for instance educational mainstreaming of low land development and working on practical cases of coordinated development. It consisted of the main conference from March 15-16 focussing on Cooperation, Coordination, and Capacity building in Lowland Development, a highlight event on March 17 on Developing a Coordinated Education and Employment Generation in the Lowlands, and a DREAM fair on March 18 showcasing inspiring lowland development activities.
In total, more than 180 participants registered and participated in the conference. There was enthusiastic and energetic attendance and discussion throughout. A main outcome of the conference was the Joint Declaration – signed and endorsed by all participants in the conference.