The challenges facing the camel sector in the modern era will thoroughly discussed during the third edition of the International Conference of the Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD 2012) that ends on Wednesday at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). \"The livestock sector is important due to its extensive contribution to the national economy,\" Dr. Hamed Bin Sulaiman Al Saalmi, a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the SQU, said in his speech at the opening of the conference on Sunday. \"The camel is closely associated with the culture and livelihood of the people in the Arabian peninsula,\" he pointed out while addressing 200 participants from 39 nations. He said that the university was looking forward to the discussions on the challenges that face the camels around the world, especially during this period of the climate changes. Article continues below Dr. Al Saalmi observed that the camel sector is facing many challenges in the modern era due to drought, desertification, low rainfall, and the climate changes, growing proportion of salinization and animal diseases, stiff competition from imported animal products. \"Therefore, he added, \"the organization of this conference is a valuable opportunity to meet with scientists from around the world who are specialized in the production and health of camels, in order to exchange ideas, and expose the latest results of scientific research for wide discussion.\" The SQU Vice Chancellor hoped that the conference would contribute substantially towards strengthening the basic and applied scientific research portfolio in the field of camels. \"Hopefully their contribution would help the authorities concerned to give due care to this vital sector (camel),\" he hoped. The conference - ‘Challenges Facing Camelids in a Changing World\' - is hosted by the Department of Animal & Veterinary Sciences (AVS) of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at SQU. In his welcome speech, Prof. Dr. Isam T. Kadim, Head of the Department of AVS and Chairman of the Conference Organising Committee, said that although the population of Camelids worldwide is small compared to many other domestic animal species, their importance is disproportionately high in arid and semi-arid lands and in the highlands, which together represent one third of the earth\'s landmass. \"Small and large camelids are a fantastic model for biologists with a remarkable potential of production in the remote areas of the world,\" saidProf. Ghaleb Al Hadrami, Chairman of ISOCARD.