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WORLD FOOD DAY 2017

Rome, FAO, 16 October 2017

 

Change the future of migration in the Mediterranean

Agriculture and Rural Development can help

 

READ THE CIHEAM's SG ARTICLE "Rural Migration: Agriculture and Inclusive Development for a Resilient Mediterranean" 

 

The Mediterranean has long been a major migratory region, but the factors responsible for this mobility have gradually become more diverse. It is simultaneously a region of origin, destination and transit for Mediterranean populations and the populations of peripheral regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mostly internal to each country, migration generally takes place from inland rural areas to cities. Although the migratory dynamics of the Mediterranean are historical and polymorphic, they have become increasingly complex at a geopolitical level in due to the region’s current context.

Several million people have been displaced or have migrated to the region in recent years, driving large populations into Mediterranean countries that are themselves experiencing social, economic and environmental difficulties.

Increased social and economic disparities within and between countries, demographic growth, the uneven development of territories, the inherent tensions caused by the scarcity of vital resources such as water, land and food, and even the growing constraints due to climate change have all contributed to intensify the migratory phenomenon.

The instability in the agricultural sector, especially concerning land, food insecurity, malnutrition, extreme climate deregulation and underemployment are among the factors, which compel populations to leave their territories. Consequently, food security, protection of natural resources, sustainable rural development, and social cohesion must be included in the strategies that mitigate distress mobility in the Mediterranean region.

In the face of these multiple and interdependent challenges, agriculture seems to provde keys for better understanding, but also for action. It is important to consider the role of agriculture and rural development in preventing the exodus to cities, but also to address some of the challenges posed by migration.

It is also important to reclassify rural regions and agriculture as major determinants for the stability of the Mediterranean region’s countries.

Agriculture and rural development should therefore be considered as a lever of social and economic development and, consequently, as a means of reducing the number of people seeking to leave the countryside or their countries due to the lack of attractive prospects.

Although far from being a miracle solution, agriculture holds enormous potential as a tool for development, resilience and peace.

What does the CIHEAM ?

Since 1962, the CIHEAM strives for improving sustainable agriculture and fisheries, ensuring food and nutrition security and for the development of rural and coastal territories. The activities of the Organisation contribute to the development of a global, innovative and engaged vision for the Mediterranean. The main fields of action are:

  • Education and training (More than 40,000 people have been trained by the CIHEAM in 55 years)
  • Research, networks and open knowledge platforms (Scientific diplomacy and making knowledge available to all, feature among the CIHEAM's main missions)
  • Projects and technical assistance (In order to support countries in their public policies and to strengthen the capacities of vulnerable groups such as small farmers, fishermen, young and women. More than 100 projects are currently conducted by the CIHEAM)
  • Political dialogue and partnerships (11 Ministerial Meetings have been organised by the CIHEAM. They promote a multilateral approach of political dialogue and cooperation on agricultural and rural issues in the Mediterranean)

The CIHEAM Action Plan (CAPMED2025), aimed at supporting the implementation of the United-Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in the Mediterranean in specific fields, is structured around 4 pillars:

  • Protecting the planet “by struggling against triple waste"

(Food Waste; Natural resources and energy waste; Knowledge and traditional knowhow Waste)

  • Food security and nutrition "by boosting sustainable agriculture and food"
  • Inclusive development "by investing in new generations and fragile territories"
  • Crises and resilience "by contributing to tensions management"

The CAPMED 2025 proposes solutions to back up transition and encourage multilateral initiatives able to bring countries, private and public stakeholders together around themes, which are at the core of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By promoting the inclusion of food, rural and climate challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean strategic debate and by contributing to the inclusion of agricultural and fisheries communities into the national and local communities, the CIHEAM indirectly addresses factors that compel people to move.

The CIHEAM is convinced that the interfaces between migrations and agriculture present several disadvantages as well as opportunities which deserve adequate understanding and critical analysis towards better-informed policy-making and more significant investments. A comprehensive framework is today needed to integrate the different perspectives and challenges associated to rural migratory dynamics. As such, the CIHEAM is in relation with the G7 Italian Presidency and participated to the G7 Ministerial meeting in Bergamo (14-15 October). The CIHEAM also strongly supports the work of the Global Forum for Migration to give agriculture and rural development due consideration.

The CIHEAM is determined to give its contribution to the complex phenomenon of migration, through better-coordinated approaches to agriculture development and rural growth, best practices sharing, training, research and innovation, implementation of national development strategies, and of scientific and cultural diplomacy.

In this regard, the CIHEAM strives to implement a Mediterranean Platform for Dialogue on the Drivers of Rural Migration to make progress towards the understanding of phenomena, the identification of solutions enabling a better living for both indigenous and immigrants, economic growth in rural areas, and adaptation strategies to environmental constraints.

 

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