In the margins of the speech made by the FAO Director-General, Graziano da Silva, to the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, a bilateral meeting with the Secretary General of the CIHEAM, Cosimo Lacirignola took place in Brussels. This meeting was the occasion to discuss new areas of collaboration on South-South Cooperation to improve rural livelihoods and for the future of food and agriculture in the Mediterranean and Africa. These are main regions faced with major climate change impacts, distress migrations and rural exodus and food security in a context of scarce natural resources. These issues are at the heart of the CIHEAM Action Plan for the Mediterranean (CAPMED2025).
During the meeting, the FAO DG and the CIHEAM SG agreed on the necessity to strengthen South-South cooperation in order to build resilient sustainable and inclusive agricultures and fisheries. Mediterranean and African countries have much to gain from increased cooperation and from a better sharing of ideas, experiences and analyses. The CIHEAM has a long-standing experience in technical assistance projects, training and building capacities projects and in knowledge production in most Maghreb and Middle-East Countries. In collaboration with the FAO, new projects could be launched with African countries.
During this meeting, discussions were held on the organisation of a joint conference at the European Parliament under the theme “Building a common future: Zero Waste in the Mediterranean” in presence of European Commissioners Phil Hogan (Agriculture), Karmenu Vella (Environment), Johannes Hahn (Neighbourhood)... This will be an occasion for the FAO, European Commission DGs and the CIHEAM to draw attention on Mediterranean issues in the fields of agriculture and rural development especially in relation to zero waste and to highlight common objectives. In 2016, the FAO and CIHEAM published a joint publication “Zero waste in the Mediterranean: Natural Resources, Food and Knowledge” that offers an innovative and prospective approach on the issues of triple waste reduction including agricultural losses, waste of natural resources and waste of knowledge and knowhow.
The FAO Director-General, Graziano da Silva and the Secretary General of the CIHEAM, Cosimo Lacirignola
Migration from rural areas is one of the most crucial current issues and the concern is particularly acute in the Mediterranean as most countries are either faced with migration or are transit or destination countries. This is the reason why during the last CIHEAM Ministerial meeting (Tirana, September 2016), the member countries of the CIHEAM asked for the launch of a multi stakeholder platform on rural migration. This Platform is aimed at a better understanding of the phenomenon of rural migration and propositions of actions to be taken in the field of agriculture and rural development in order to address root causes of distress migration. In cooperation with the Migration Policy Center (MPC) of the European University Institute of Florence, and with the FAO, the CIHEAM is currently preparing an event in Rome, to initiate discussions between experts.
A Round table on “Coastal development programme of the Mediterranean region: analysis, strategy and perspectives” has been organised by the CIHEAM-Bari in Tricase (Italy) on 6-7 October 2016. This initiative on family and coastal fishing is aimed at promoting the outcomes of the regional project NEMO (Cross-border rural coastal communities’ development in Libya and neighbouring countries). During the round table, the FAO presented the Blue Hope Initiative, a project launched after the discussions held between the Director General of the FAO and Pope Francis, seeking to transform Southern Mediterranean coastal zone communities into drivers of stability and growth, in particular by supporting the activities of small-scale fisheries. Given that sustainable fisheries are central for the region and given the partnership between the FAO and the CIHEAM, the FAO DG and the CIHEAM SG agreed on the opportunity to join the two projects.
The CIHEAM and the FAO have been collaborating on various projects since 1977. Their cooperation was strengthened in the framework of an agreement signed at the UN Agency’s Headquarters in Rome on 8 January 2009 and renewed in October 2015. Several common projects and events in the fields of traditional food, protection of forests, modernisation of irrigation and plant disease management (Red Palm weevil, Xylella Fastidiosa) are ongoing.
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