COVID-19: What has the CIHEAM done so far?
The 13 Member States of the CIHEAM (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey) have been facing a very serious pandemic due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) for several weeks since February 2020. The host countries of the CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institutes located in Bari (Italy), Chania (Greece), Montpellier (France) and Zaragoza (Spain) are amongst the most affected in the Mediterranean region.
The CIHEAM has obviously implemented the preventive measures taken by the host countries, including lockdown.
The CIHEAM fully supports these preventive measures, such as washing hands regularly and physical distancing measures.
They should be strictly respected by the entire CIHEAM community to help defeat the coronavirus.
In addition, the CIHEAM has decided to set up a new corporate working group composed of representatives of the General Secretariat and of its 4 Institutes to tackle this issue.
MISSION OF THE COVID-19 WORKING GROUP
- To closely monitor the situation in host countries and in the Institutes and to report main updates to each corresponding Director.
- To strengthen internal communication and share procedures and good practices related to working conditions, sanitary equipment, continuity of service, by adopting a common approach on detection measures and the best ways to deal with the situation.
- To keep updated and informed on the new measures implemented to protect both the staff (including those working remotely) and the students, while maintaining close contact with them, i.e. dealing with issues such as online training courses, internships, life in the campus (accommodation, food, sanitary measures); follow-up on the research and/or cooperation activities as well as personnel abroad.
Measures taken by the CIHEAM Headquarters (Paris, France) against the spread of COVID-19
At the CIHEAM General Secretariat headquartered in Paris, the following measures have been enacted against COVID-19 to protect the staff and guests and to respect the decisions made by the French authorities:
The headquarters have been closed and remote working has been implemented for all since Friday 13 March.
Exceptionally, few members of the staff are allowed to go to the headquarters once or twice a week to carry out the tasks that cannot be accomplished at home.
A prior written authorization by the Secretary General is required.
CONTINUITY OF ACTIVITIES AND TEAM SPIRIT
The continuity of activities is ensured by video call meetings with all the staff members on a regular basis. Several times per week, staff members meet online to follow the progress of the main activities and to maintain the team spirit during lockdown.
TELEWORKING AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE
To support employees working at home, good practices on teleworking have been shared and arrangements have been made to facilitate balance between private and professional life.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff members have been regularly provided with information about COVID-19 in the Member States of the CIHEAM as well as recommendations and tips to minimize risks.
Some good news including signs of hope and solidarity around the Mediterranean have also been shared every two days.
Moreover, regular information on the effects of the pandemic of COVID-19 on agriculture and food in the Mediterranean is shared among the CIHEAM community via the Scoop it Press Review