NRD - Desertification Research Centre

NRD image

NRD, founded in 2000 by prof Giuseppe Enne, is focused on developing and managing research and cooperation projects in different areas of research directly or indirectly related with desertification.

In particular, NRD researchers have been involved in the study of physical, biological and socio-economic aspects of desertification and land degradation in the Mediterranean, with particular reference to the impact of agricultural policies and agropastoral activities.

Networking and training initiatives are also an important part of NRD work. The NRD group has promoted several events and activities aiming at favouring the exchange of data and experiences at the international level and at promoting scientific training of young researchers from European and non-European Countries.

UPEACE and UNISS sign MoU to collaborate on research and academic programs

UPEACE and UNISS sign MoU to collaborate on research and academic programs

A high-level delegation from the University for Peace (UPEACE), led by Rector Prof. Francisco Rojas Aravena, has arrived in Italy and signed an MoU with the University of Sassari, represented by Vice Rector Prof. Andrea Fausto Piana.

The two universities will collaborate on research and academic programs, starting with a PhD in Land Degradation and Desertification, in collaboration with its Desertification Research Centre (NRD), DesertNet International (DNI), and the Global Network of Dryland Research Institutes (GNDRI). The first scholarships were funded by H2020-SFS-2018-2020 in the framework of the of the EWA-BELT project, coordinated by NRD-UNISS.

UPEACE plans to expand this program globally, beginning with Africa and starting with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Somalia as the first countries.

"La Rasgioni (The Reason): the court of change" in Arborea

La Rasgioni

On Monday 27 June (4:30 p.m.), THE REASON: the court of change will be held at the conference room of Le Torri hotel in Arborea (Sardinia). Streaming on and The Rasgioni was a practice of peaceful dispute resolution (in the field of inheritance, trespassing of livestock, etc.) that existed in Gallura until the early 1960s. Two alligadori (lawyers) represented the interests of each party in front of three rasgiunanti (judges): two appointed by each side and the omu of mezu, the arbiter, chosen by both. The alligadori were famous in the area for their oratorical skills, which is also why people flocked from far and wide to hear them harangue. Having examined the matter and heard the witnesses, the omu de mezu  invited the parties and the public to the community lunch, after which he pronounced the verdict: dizisa if the request of one of the parties was accepted, arrangiu when a compromise solution was suggested. The Rasgioni scheme, already used by the Desertification Research Center of the University of Sassari in the processes of stakeholder engagement, proved to be useful in bringing out the problems in the agro-environmental field and in facilitating the opening of learning spaces (

The Rasgioni, scheduled in Arborea on June 27, will focus on the conflict between climate change and sustainable development, and hence not between “parties”, in one of the most important agro-industrial realities in the Mediterranean basin. Inspired by a survey conducted among the most important national and international projects on sustainable development and adaptation to climate change, carried out in the framework of the MITE Sustain adapt project, representatives of the Institutions (e.g. Regional Agriculture Department, Municipality of Arborea, Regional Agencies of the Hydrographic District, Environmental Protection and Laore, Sardinian Water Authority, Land Reclamation Consortium of Oristano, University of Sassari and Cagliari), local production realities (3A, Coop. Producers Arborea, Livegreen, Bonifiche Ferraresi, Cooperative Fishermen Sant'Andrea), environmentalists and citizens will be invited to "reason" about future scenarios. As Emina di mezu, the lawyer Veronica Dini, expert in environmental mediation, Alligadori, Professor Pier Paolo Roggero, Director of the Department of Agriculture Sciences of the University of Sassari, Rasgiunanti the researchers of the international Sustain Coast project, engaging in Oristano and Arborea in a summer school on the mediation of environmental conflicts at Consorzio Uno. La Rasgioni is organized in collaboration with Menawara and Medwaycap ENI Cbc Med projects.


ACQÙA: Sustain-COAST Summer School on Environmental Conflict Mediation


>> Acqua (water) - The etymology of the italian word  (from Latin aqua) is linked to the Indo-European root ak- = to fold. So: water as a substance that bends, infiltrates, assuming the shape of what contains it.       >> Cùa, Acùa - In the Sardinian language: what is hidden, secret.

ACQÙA Summer School on Environmental Conflict Mediation, will be held in Oristano (Sardinia) on 27-30 June 2022. The school will be organized by the Desertification Research Center (NRD) of the University of Sassari within the framework of WP4 – Innovative Governance of the Sustain-COAST project.  The School will be focused on water-related conflicts (with case studies from the Mediterranean Region) and aims to: explore and promote environmental mediation conflict technique; inform participants about the effectiveness and validity of mediation in environmental disputes; train participants on the specificity of the environmental conflict and on the particular modalities that distinguish this type of conciliation path from those usually used in the civil and commercial field. School will be organized in Oristano, Sardinia, which is 20km from Arborea, one of the four case studies of the Sustain-COAST project. This is the first time that a school on conflict mediation, with a specific focus on environmental conflicts, is organized in the Region. 

>> REGISTRATION PROCEDURE: If you are interested in participating, send a mail to or  by Sunday 19th of June 2022. Participants will receive further information upon acceptance. The registration fee is € 250,00. 
Environmental conflicts present particular characteristics that distinguish them from other types of social conflicts, such as their high level of complexity and the plurality of actors involved (citizens, economic actors, institutions). These aspects require adequate modes of resolution that differ from those generally adopted for other conflicts. However, the use of environmental conflict mediation in Europe and in the Mediterranean Region is still limited. Within Sustain-COAST the use of environmental conflict mediation will be promoted, with a view to promoting innovative governance processes based on transparency, dialogue and participation. Indeed, environmental mediation procedures require widespread and constant information on the technical and legal aspects of the conflict; this is ensured through seminars, social meetings and debates that promote transparency and foster social awareness paths. In particular, the application of environmental mediation can have the following benefits:
  • reducing time compared to judicial and administrative procedures;
  • reducing costs compared to judicial and administrative procedures;
  • improving the effectiveness and duration of the agreements;
  • increasing the flexibility and adaptability of the agreements, as they can be reviewed and adapted to new environmental conditions, needs and changed social conditions;
  • promoting social cohesion and learning experiences, as well as enhancing community values by implementing new forms of sharing and discussions among actors in relation to the management of common resources like water.

SANAI SA TERRA Summer School

SANAI SA TERRA è una summer school che nasce con l'obiettivo di far conoscere gli aspetti chiave della contaminazione del suolo e le diverse strategie atte a migliorarne la funzionalità ed i servizi ecosistemici attraverso lezioni frontali, attività pratiche e visite presso i siti minerari di Montevecchio e Argentiera. Le lezioni e le prove pratiche di laboratorio saranno tenute da diversi docenti universitari partner del progetto Prin Rizobiorem presso il Dipartimento di Agraria (Aula Pampaloni) giorno 15 giugno. Le visite presso i siti minerari si svolgeranno il 16 a Montevecchio-Guspini e il 17 giugno presso l'Argentiera. Inoltre, è previsto il webinar internazionale "Desertification & drought day" in occasione della giornata mondiale contro la desertificazione e la siccità il 17 giugno (9:00-13:00) aperto a tutti in modalità mista.
Ai dottorandi del Dipartimento di Agraria verranno riconosciuti 2 CFR.
Per maggiori informazioni :

EWA-BELT presented at the 25th Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) at the Palais des Nations in Geneve

EWA-BELT presentation

From March 28 to March 31 OCCAM, the Observatory on Digital Communication was invited to participate and intervene at the 25th Commission on Science and Technology for Development held in room XVIII at the Palais des Nations in Geneve.

The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) discusses how the digital revolution affects development and offers new strategies in view of a sustainable future for all. The forum analyzes and frames the critical issues influencing the fields of science and technology at multilateral and governmental levels. The 25th edition of the Commission addressed two important topics: Industry 4.0 and Science, technology, and innovation for sustainable urban development in a post-pandemic world. At such a prestigious stage and inspiring context, Arch. Saporito, President of OCCAM, had the opportunity to present the results and Digital Best Practices achieved so far within the EWA-BELT EU-H2020 Project framework.

The EWABELT Project was cited as an example of how technology and science could be applied to achieve sustainable intensification pathways in the African farming systems. Attention was devoted to the integrated participative research innovative tools developed in the Six African Countries of the consortium as well as the importance of addressing gender issues and women empowerment in such contexts. The multi-actor approach, the field experimentation, and the development of ICT- based tools for detection and quantification of plant pests and pathogens through a PlantHealth Platform were introduced during the second day of the Commission’s work.

The main pillars of the EWA-BELT Project have been endorsed throughout the four days of the Commission’s work and debates. On this matter, eminent speakers and high-level experts manifested their interest in the EWA-BELT Project. Among others, Mr. Benson Kinyagia, Principle Scientist at the Governmental National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation in Kenya; Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU; Angel Gonzalez Sanz, Chief of Science and Technology and ICT Branch at UNCTAD.

President Saporito and H.E. Mr. Muhammadou M.O. Kah, Vice-Chair of the CSTD The occasion also called for the announcement and presentation of this year's XXII Infopoverty World Conference theme “Digital Citizen: duties and rights to build a fairer and more inclusive Future Society” where an entire session will be devoted to EWA-BELT.

MENAWARA, MEDISS and MEDWAYCAP projects celebrate the World Water Day in Sardinia, Italy

The playbill of the event

"Groundwater: making the invisible visible" is the theme of the 2022 World Water Day, established by the UN in 1993 to draw attention to the global water crisis, raising awareness of the population in view of achieving the sustainable development goal (SDG) 6, an indispensable goal to smooth out socio-economic inequalities and guarantee the dignity of all human beings.

The MEDISS, MENAWARA and MEDWAYCAP projects organize an event on 19 March in Santu Lussurgiu (Sardinia, Italy) that will see primary and secondary school pupils as protagonists in a “journey” through the resource of water. The event is organized in collaboration with the Municipality and the Comprehensive School of Santu Lussurgiu, CRENOS (North-South Economic Research Center) of the University of Cagliari, the NRD (Desertification Research Center) of the University of Sassari, 'ENAS (Sardinia Water Authority).

Throughout the world, groundwater represents a huge and very important resource. Right in the subsoil of central-western Sardinia there is the largest reserve of fresh water on the island: a treasure out of sight - held back by the geological formations of rock, sand and gravel - which is important to "make visible" to ensure its sustainable management and prevent the introduction of harmful substances into the subsoil.

The event is organized as part of international projects financed by the European program ENI CBC Med, which see Sardinia cooperating with some countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean in the research and experimentation of innovative methodologies for the use of treated, desalinated wastewater in agriculture and drainage to reduce fresh water use and supply costs, as well as guarantee the resource in countries at risk of water scarcity.

It is in some of these areas (Tanzania, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Algeria) that the activity of prof. Giorgio Ghiglieri, protagonist of the research and international cooperation projects of the two Sardinian Universities for the improvement and protection of water resources. To prof. Ghiglieri, who passed away last year, is dedicated to the event.

MEDWAYCAP project: kick off Meeting in Thessaloniki

Medwaycap kick off meeting
Two day Kick of Meeting in Thessaloniki to present the MEDWAYCAP project, meet partners and discuss activities. 
Presentations and round tables clarified which strategies could be used to disseminate best practices, key results and lessons learnt on the use of Non Conventional Water in the Mediterranean area. A strong consortium has been built (9 partners and 12 associated partners) to foster cross-border dialogue towards the establishment of a Capitalization Mediteranean Alliance beyond borders for challenge-driven cooperation, synergies and mutual learning. 
The participants showed great enthusiasm and motivation in working together welcomed by a coordinator who showed a great hospitality.
The MEDWAYCAP project will last 2 years and is led by Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH, EL). Desertification Research Center of Sassari University (NRD-UNISS, IT) is partner of the Consortium together with National Agricultural Research Center (NARC, JO), International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Bari, IT), Centre for Water Research and Technologies (CERTE, TN), Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (PWEG), PS), The Energy & Water Agency (EWA, MT), Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations (CEEBA, EG) and Euro Mediterranean Center for the Sustainable Development (SVI.MED., IT).  We World GVC Onlus (WW-GVC, PS), already partner in the MENAWARA project, will participate as associated partner.   

MENAWARA project at the 5th Arab Water Forum

Menawara at 5th Arab Water Forum
The fifth edition of the Arab Water Forum began in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) under the slogan "Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development". The Forum - the most important meeting for the Arab community to discuss and update water management - addresses issues such as water security in Arab countries, cross-border cooperation and water for sustainable development.
The partners of the Menawara project, funded by the European program ENI-CBC Med, organized the panel "Water Security in Mediterranean Region: Sustainable water reuse Strategies in Agriculture": strengthening water governance through innovative actions and technological solutions for the sustainable use of non conventional waters in agriculture.
Abdelmajid Bettaieb (ONAS, Tunisie), Nizar Haddad (NARC, Jordan), Roula Khadra (CIHEAM-Bari, Italy), Naem Mazahrih (NARC), Adel Yasin (PWA), Amgad ElMahdi and Nisreen Lahham (IWMI), Giovanni Pedron (WW-GVC), Ahmed Ali (CIHEAM Bari), Isabel Martin (CENTA), Thameur Jaouadi (ONAS), Hammou Laamrani (LAS), Quirico Migheli, Alberto Carletti and Alessandra Paulotto (University of Sassari – NRD, Italy) participated in the panel, carried out in collaboration with the International Water Management Institute, who shared the important experiences of cooperation between the partners of Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Spain and Italy. As an introduction to the discussion topics, a video of the project - with the testimonies of farmers, researchers and policy makers from the partner countries - was shown.

MENAWARA project will participate in the 5th Arab Water Forum

5th Arab Forum preparatory meeting
The 5th edition of Arab Water Forum will be convened by the Arab Water Council during the period 21 - 23 September 2021 in Grand Hyatt, Dubai under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure and supported by the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt (MWRI), in collaboration with national, regional and international partners. 
Under the overarching Slogan “Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development”, the AWF will address three main priorities: Arab Water Security; Cooperation across Borders and Water for Sustainable Development including more than 14 different topics as well as cross cutting Means and Tools.
By connecting over 800+ relevant stakeholders, the Forum provides a unique platform for communication, and it is considered the stage where Arab water community leaders and key decision-makers thoroughly discuss water challenges that the Arab region is facing.
MENAWARA, in collaboration with IWMI, will actively contribute to responding to the real-time challenges of water resources management by organizing a panel session on Water Security in Mediterranean Region: Sustainable water reuse Strategies in Agriculture - Case studies & Regional Perspectives, in line with the aim of the project to strengthen the non-conventional water governance by disseminating and capitalizing innovative and technological solutions and the B4.1 objectives of the ENI action to implement water sustainable initiatives to encourage use on NCW supply.
On 29th July, 2021, Quirico Migheli, Alberto Carletti and Alessandra Paulotto from Desertification Research Centre - University of Sassari), Italian lead beneficiary of the MENAWARA project, participated in the preparatory meeting where the agenda and logistics arrangements where shared. The meeting was also the occasion to deepen the topics to be discussed during the Forum.

Dipartimento di Agraria dell'Università di Sassari ed NRD sul Tg2 e TgrSardegna

"La scienza contro i cambiamenti climatici", servizio di Stefano Fumagalli, Tg2 25/07/2021, TgRSardegna 03/08/2021

"La scienza contro i cambiamenti climatici", servizio di Stefano Fumagalli, Tg2 25/07/2021, TgRSardegna 03/08/2021


Il borsista dovrà svolgere le seguenti attività:

• Supporto alla progettazione delle attività di stakeholder engagement e mapping e alla definizione di linee guida per i partner;

• Raccolta dati anche tramite i partner di progetto Sustain Coast relativi alle azioni di stakeholder engagement e mapping nei casi di studio (Sardegna, Turchia, Tunisia e Creta) con particolare approfondimento nell’area di studio in Sardegna (zona vulnerabile da nitrati di Arborea) e sulle problematiche agroambientali associate alla gestione sostenibile delle risorse idriche in agricoltura;

• Supporto alla elaborazione preliminare dei dati; • Supporto all'attività di analisi bibliografica e alla redazione di report tecnici di progetto;

Scadenza 29 luglio 2021 ore 12:00



Nell’ambito del progetto Ager-iGRAL Innovative beef cattle Grazing systems for the Restoration of Abandoned Lands in the Alpine and Mediterranean mountain è indetta una selezione pubblica, per soli titoli, per l’attribuzione di n.1 borsa di studio post lauream dal titolo: “Effetti di diversi sistemi di gestione del Pascolo sulla biodiversità vegetale nei siti di studio del progetto IGRAL” da svolgersi presso il centro Nucleo Ricerca e Desertificazione, Via De Nicola 9 – 3° piano, 07100 Sassari.

Scadenza 29 luglio 2021 ore 12


Desertification and Drought Day 2021

DDay2021 playbill

On the occasion of the 2021 Desertification and Drought Day (June 17th) the Desertification Research Centre of the University of Sassari organized two webinar sessions.

During the first session – From degradation to soil recovery (in Italian) - various representatives of Italian institutions and experts taked stock of the reclamation of Italian industrial and mining areas, in light of the results of research works that demonstrate the feasibility of targeted, widespread and low-cost interventions. Among these, the Rizobiorem project has been illustrated: through a transdisciplinary approach, Rizobiorem aims to develop new protocols for the sustainable management of contaminated soils that are environmentally friendly, socially acceptable and economically feasible, thus restoring the ecosystem services of areas that are now completely degraded.

The second session (in English) – Science meets the Great Green Wall Initiative - bringed together a panel of international experts to discuss the potential contribution of scientific communities to land restoration and “green recovery”. Experts illustrated examples of interdisciplinary and international scientific cooperation and research actions aimed at responding to global challenges: climate change, water and food insecurity, poverty, conflicts, forced migration. Among these, panellists illustrated the Great Green Wall Initiative, the 8000-km-long green wall that crosses Africa’s Sahel region, representing a symbol of the global fight against environmental degradation; the EWA-BELT project, linking East and West African farming systems into a belt of sustainable intensification ; the International PhD on Desertification and Land Degradation, which promotes the exchange of experiences among young researchers from the University of Sassari (Italy), two Universities in Burkina Faso and a University in Ethiopia.

video recording of the first session

video recording of the second session


Bando per l’affidamento di un incarico di lavoro autonomo per la posizione di supporto alle attività progettuali del centro NRD.


È indetta una procedura comparativa pubblica, per titoli e colloquio per l’affidamento di un incarico di lavoro autonomo per la posizione di supporto alle attività progettuali del centro NRD. Il Collaboratore dovrà svolgere le seguenti attività:

• Gestione delle email e della posta cartacea in entrata e in uscita;

• Supporto all’organizzazione di riunioni, appuntamenti, eventi ed eventuali trasferte del personale di progetto (pratiche relative ai viaggi e missioni);

• Supporto all’espletamento delle partiche di acquisto di beni e servizi del progetto;

• Catalogazione e archivio di documenti dei progetti. 

Scadenza 2 luglio 2021


Prof. Quirico Migheli is the new Director of NRD

Quirico Migheli

Elected by the General Assembly, Prof. Quirico Migheli is the new Director of NRD. "Thanks for the trust you have placed in me - he said -. I am confident that all together, we will be able to proceed along the right track, which has allowed us to achieve the important research and international cooperation objectives that characterize the mission of NRD".

Menawara project: in Tunisia call for tenders for the recruitment of the design office

Menawara Tunisian Call

The Tunisian National Sanitation Office "ONAS" launches a consultation for "An execution study of works to improve the quality of treated wastewater and irrigation systems at the level of purification stations: CHOUTRANA II , GOA SIDI AMOR, KORDA AND KELIBIA ".

NRD-UNISS is hiring!

Bando Moodle

Desertification Research Centre - University of Sassari, Italian lead beneficiary of the MENAWARA project, is looking for an expert on the design, installation and maintenance of the Moodle platform of the project.
The deadline for sending applications is → 9th February 2020.
For more information, please see the vacancy announcement(in Italian):

EWA-BELT project on "La Nuova Sardegna" newspaper (in italian)

EWA-BELT project began!

EWA-BELT kickoff
A good project starts with a good kick-off meeting! The journey of the EWA-BELT project officially started with the first day of virtual kick-off meetings between the twenty partners, coordinated by Giovanna Seddaiu for NRD-UNISS. Partners got the chance to know each other better and to briefly present themselves, after a comprehensive overview of the project’s framework, contents and financial aspects. A special thanks goes to our European Commission spokespersons, Alina Kozacenko from the Research Executive Agency and Marta Iglesias from DG AGRI, who presented respectively on the project management and monitoring aspects from REA’s perspective and on the role of EWA-BELT within the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). Last but definitely not least, a big thank you goes to our guest speaker, Fabrizio Lobasso, Deputy Director at the Sub-Saharan Office at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who offered an interesting point of view, arguing that food insecurity has serious political consequences and, in general, is a very transversal issue. Food security and food sustainability projects, such as EWA-BELT, are of great help in the area also in terms of gender equality and inclusion, and are perfectly coherent with the Food Coalition, an initiative recently launched by FAO. The kick-off meeting will go on for two more days in the coming week, with the grand finale at the 20th Infopoverty World Conference, live on the UN WebTV on December 4.

NRD-UNISS is hiring!

Bando 2 Tecnologi

Desertification Research Centre - University of Sassari, Italian lead beneficiary of the EWA-BELT and MENAWARA projects, is looking for a Project Manager/Technologist.

The deadline for sending applications is → 25th December 2020.

For more information, please see the vacancy announcement(in Italian):

تحقق من أحدث الوظائف #job الشواغر في إطار مشروع


Bando per PROJECT ASSISTANT del progetto EWA-BELT

Project assistant EWA-BELT
Bando per PROJECT ASSISTANT del progetto EWA-BELT

[MENAWARA] Ziad Abdul Jalil, Palestinian farmer, needs high quality treated water

Ziad Abdul Jalil, Palestinian farmer
Ziad Abdul Jalil is 35 years old farmer, father of six children. He lives in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan located East of Nablus, Palestine: “Water is really important for agriculture in our area - he says -. We do lack to drinkable water generally, we were forced to purchase high priced tankered water for agriculture”. See more:
MENAWARA project supports Palestinian partner WeWorld Onlus in targeting Beit Dajan wastewater tratement plant which serves most of the residents (total inhabitants 4,460), through rehabilitation of the treatment technical components, and installation of innovative irrigation trains and networks for reuse of Treated Waste Water.

NRD compie vent'anni: il servizio di Videolina

foto gruppo nrd20

Servizio di Videolina a cura di Franco Ferrandu sui vent’anni del Nucleo Ricerca Desertificazione