The Sahara Forest Project was presented to the world at the UN Climate Negotiations COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009. Following the warm reception from global leaders combating climate change, Joakim Hauge was crucial in establishing the Sahara Forest Project Foundation in January 2010 as its first President.
After almost 9 years of leadership, Joakim Hauge has decided to leave the Sahara Forest Project Foundation.
"Leading the Sahara Forest Project has been a privilege that I am very grateful for. Together with a team of highly talented individuals I have been allowed to see the powerful vision of The Sahara Forest Project become reality on the ground. All the way from a systematic approach to science, innovation and business development to the realization of actual facilities we have demonstrated the potential for Restorative Growth. I am proud and thankful for the opportunity to have spent so many years working to realize such a terrific and unique Water-Energy-Food Nexus project," Joakim Hauge said.
Joakim Hauge mentions the way the Sahara Forest Project has moved the international debate on sustainable Water, Clean Energy and Food production in dry areas over the past nine years as one of his personal highlights.
"When we started Sahara Forest Project, it was a lot of people who thought we were crazy when we told them that we could green the deserts through sustainable production of food, freshwater, biomass and clean energy. The results from the pilot model in Qatar and the results from the first year of operations in Jordan confirm that the Sahara Forest Project concept work. The attention we receive from governments, business and media demonstrates that The Sahara Forest Project is seen as a pioneer inside the world of Water-Energy-Food Nexus solutions today," Hauge says.
Joakim Hauge brought a little bit of The Sahara Forest Project to his TEDx Talk in Maastricht in 2013. Algae, freshwater, barley and cucumbers from the pilot facility in Qatar were served on stage. Photo:TEDx Maastricht
Bringing “Restorative Growth” to the world
"On behalf of the SFP team, I want to thank Joakim for all his hard work and great efforts these past 9 years. It is a great achievement from Joakim and the team that The Sahara Forest Project in this period has developed from a bold vision in a power point presentation to become a reality on the ground both in Qatar and in Jordan," said Kjetil Stake, Managing Director of the Sahara Forest Project Foundation.
The Sahara Forest Project Foundation Board will now start a process to look for Joakim’s predecessor. Kjetil Stake will continue as Managing Director and be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Foundation and lead the staff in Oslo and Jordan.
"For me, Joakim will be the remembered as the person bringing the SFP vision of 'Restorative Growth' to the world. That’s still why we go to work every day – to enable revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater and clean energy”, Stake said.
Some of the highlights during the SFP career of Joakim Hauge includes overseeing the establishment of the successful 1 hectare Sahara Forest Project Pilot in Qatar from 2012-2014, and the realization of the 3 hectare Sahara Forest Project Launch Station in Aqaba in southern Jordan. The latter was inaugurated with patronage by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway on September 7th 2017 in front of 250 guests from four different continents and 40 journalists.