The CIHEAM at the Mediterranean Pavilion to promote dialogue on agricultural and food issues
For the first time in the history of the COP, which was held this year in Egypt, a pavilion was entirely reserved for the Mediterranean. As a global hotspot for climate change, the region is already facing environmental problems (rising temperatures, drought, desertification, rising sea levels, etc.) and is now having to deal with the impact of crises (COVID-19 pandemic, Russian-Ukrainian war, etc.) that could affect the food security of certain countries. Highly climate-dependent and vulnerable due to the obsolescence of unsustainable production models, the agro-food sectors in the Mediterranean need to accelerate the transition towards more resilient, sustainable, and fair systems while meeting growing food demand.
3 CIHEAM events in the Mediterranean Pavilion
The CIHEAM's presence in the Mediterranean Pavilion resulted in the organization of three events. These meetings provided an opportunity to share work methodologies and lessons learned from the projects and to discuss future solutions and priority levers to be used.
A first event entitled "Food and Water Security: Challenges and Outlook for Smart and Inclusive Agriculture" brought together speakers from the CIHEAM General Secretariat, CIHEAM Bari, the Arab Water Council, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), the Centre for Environment and Development in the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) and CMI-UNOPS. It demonstrated the importance of implementing climate-smart solutions, and the role of cooperation between international, regional, and local actors to involve youth and women in these solutions and called for sustained investment in training and education.
The second event "Stakeholder engagement for agro-ecological practices", which was attended by CIHEAM Montpellier, the CIHEAM General Secretariat, and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), was mainly dedicated to the feedback of the SupMed project. It aims to test innovations based on agroecological practices in order to better face the challenges of climate change and water scarcity, improve the income and food consumption of farming households, and reduce the environmental impacts of agricultural activities in the regions of Luxor (Egypt) and Bekaa (Lebanon).
Finally, the third event "Mediterranean Agri-food Systems and Climate Change" brought together CIHEAM Zaragoza, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), and the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), which presented innovative solutions and approaches used in the most advanced countries concerning adaptation strategies in the wine and vine sectors.
In addition to its activities in the Mediterranean pavilion, the CIHEAM was also present at several other events. The Secretary General of the CIHEAM, Plácido Plaza, was invited by the Secretary General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) to the ministerial session "From Malabo to Sharm el Sheikh, adaptation, and mitigation of climate change in the context of achieving sustainable food security in Africa and the Arab countries", co-organized with the CGIAR. This was an opportunity for the CIHEAM General Secretariat to exchange with the delegations present and to explore the potential for Euro-Arab cooperation that was raised during the visit of the AOAD Secretary-General to the CIHEAM.
Finally, the Secretary-General spoke at the day dedicated to the 4 per 1000 Initiative during COP27. The partners of the initiative met on 16 November for the 7th meeting of the Forum on the theme "Healthy Soils for a Healthy Planet".
Egypt, an historical partner
A member of CIHEAM since 1986, Egypt is an important partner in scientific cooperation, training, and development in the fields of sustainable resource management (water, soil, etc.), agricultural mechanization and modernization, and sustainable rural and coastal development. Several hundreds of Egyptian students have followed degrees or professional training courses in CIHEAM Institutes over the last twenty years and currently, 36 cooperation projects are underway in various fields. Egypt and the CIHEAM cooperate mainly in the fields of food security, resource and energy management, irrigation, modernization, and innovation.
CIHEAM Montpellier also organized with the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture, the event "For more resilient, cleaner and more inclusive agri-food systems". The General Secretariat, the President of the CIHEAM Advisory Board, Dr. Ayman ABOUHADID (former Minister of Agriculture), and Mr. Othman Elshaikh (Director of the Egyptian Association for Sustainable Development) were able to present their ongoing projects.