This year's edition of the European Development Days saw CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI) and its global agricultural equipment brand, New Holland Agriculture, present a three-year sustainable water management project that was launched in Tunisia in 2016. Organized by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium since 2006, the European Development Days event is Europe's leading forum on sustainable development and growth issues.
The water management initiative is part of a cooperation agreement signed with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and benefits the Governorate of Kebili, one of the country’s most arid areas. The project's numerous objectives include building and repairing traditional water collection systems, creating vegetable gardens for families, improving pastoral activity, and developing orchards and new wooded areas. The overall aim is to ensure the fully sustainable management of water, a resource that is especially valuable in an area at risk of desertification.
CNH Industrial and New Holland Agriculture are contributing USD $50,000 of funding per year for the duration of the project, which is running from 2016 to 2018, on top of some USD $200,000 allocated by the Tunisian government and smaller sums donated by other patrons. At the same time, the active involvement of the local population is a key aspect of the initiative, which is intended to benefit not only infrastructure but also education, social and community services.
The project's latest developments were presented at the European Development Days by Hassen Chourabi, General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia; Daniela Ropolo, Sustainable Development Initiatives Manager for the EMEA region at CNH Industrial; and Lars Skjoldager Sørensen, New Holland Agriculture's Head of Harvesting Product Line.
Also in attendance was special guest Elisabetta Lattanzio Illy, a freelance journalist and photographer who has been compiling a photographic record of the initiative. Her high-impact images, which were previewed in Brussels, underline the project’s importance to the local population and document the positive changes that are taking place.
The first results from this project have been made possible thanks to close cooperation between the public and private sectors, an approach that has always been at the core of CNH Industrial's sustainable strategy and is in line with the United Nations’ 17 Goals to Transform Our World, which include "clean water and sanitation", "sustainable cities and communities" and "responsible production and consumption". Even in the most arid parts of Tunisia, these aims can be achieved thanks partly to the crucial support of CNH Industrial and New Holland Agriculture.