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2023 Enrico Fermi Lecture: Agriculture in the Climate Crisis: Facts, Trends and Systemic Solutions


The renowned Italian scientist Prof. Donatella Spano delivers the lecture

The adaptation options that need to be implemented locally for sustainable management and planning of agronomic practices, was tackled on Thursday, 22th of June 2023, in a lecture by renowned Italian research scientist, Prof. Donatella Spano. The lecture was jointly organised by The Cyprus Institute and the Italian Embassy in Nicosia for the 7th consecutive year, as part of the Enrico Fermi Lecture series.
The lecture entitled “Agriculture in the Climate Crisis: Facts, Trends and Systemic Solutions” was addressed by CyI President, Prof. Stavros Malas, who highlighted the fruitful and long-term cooperation with the Italian Embassy. The lecture was introduced by CyI Prof. Salvatore Carlucci, who is leading the Sustainable Built Environment Group and is currently directing the Environmental Sensing Laboratory, and attended by H.E Federica Bravo, Ambassador of Italy in Cyprus.
In her lecture, Prof. Spano focused on the different tools that are available to provide information at different spatial and temporal scales to offer operational, tactical, and strategic decisions to support different users and the adaptation options need to be implemented locally for sustainable management and planning of agronomic practices.
“Rising temperatures, reduction in total rainfall, and intensification of extreme events, such as floods, heat waves and droughts, emerging pests, and diseases, will enhance yield variability and instability over time with a reduction of food quantity and quality. Crops respond to climate change with changes in the duration of the growing season, early appearance of phenological phases, and potential shifts of cultivation areas toward more suitable locations for better-growing conditions”, she added.
In addition, she noted that several countries that did not previously consistently rely on irrigation systems, may now see a likely and strong expansion of irrigation water demand, especially where precipitation is projected to decline and more frequent and prolonged drought events are expected.
The “Enrico Fermi Lectures” are a series of talks co-organised by The Cyprus Institute and the Embassy of Italy in Nicosia with the aim of bringing to Cyprus leading Italian scientists to speak about cutting-edge scientific developments, thus contributing to the scientific and technological cooperation between Italy and Cyprus - a testimony to the long historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
Donatella Spano is a Full Professor at the University of Sassari and representative of the University in the National Doctorate on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. She is a Member of the Strategic Council of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change Foundation, a Member of the scientific committee of the National Center on Biodiversity, and Co-Leader of Spoke on Ecosystem Function, service, and solutions. She served as Regional Minister for the Protection of the Environment – Sardinia, Italy (2014-2019), President of the Italian Society for Climate Sciences (SISC) (2013-2015), Vice-Rector for Research and Technology Transfer, University of Sassari (2011-2014).
She is a Member of the Italian Academy of Forest Sciences and of Accademia dei Georgofili. She is actively involved in several international, national, and regional projects on the adaptation of agricultural and forestry systems to climate change, the development of methodologies and support systems for the sustainable management of water resources, and fire risk assessment.
Since 2017, this Series of prestigious talks has brought to Cypriot audiences the work of eminent Italian scientists, such as Prof. Massimo Inguscio (President of CNR), Prof. Ettore Fiorini (Emeritus Professor at the University di Milano-Bicocca and National Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei), Prof. Antonio Sgamellotti (Università di Perugia, Accademia dei Lincei), and Prof. Federico M. Butera (Professor Emeritus at Politecnico di Milano), Prof. Piero Formica (Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation Value Institute in the Maynooth University in Ireland, and Professor and Mentor in the Contamination Lab of the University of Padua in Italy), and last year Dr Nicola Armaroli (Research Director of CNR).
The Cyprus Institute counts over 200 collaborations and partnerships with prominent Italian research Institutions and is home to a large community of Italian researchers and students, contributing to its diverse fields of activity.
This event contributed to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:





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