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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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5 December 2016

Side Event FAO – CIHEAM

Launch of the joint CIHEAM-FAO publication,
MEDITERRA 2016. Zero Waste in the Mediterranean.
Natural Resources, Food and Knowledge


It is my pleasure to welcome you to the launch of Mediterra 2016: the first joint flagship publication between FAO and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, CIHEAM. 

This is an important milestone in the longstanding collaboration of the two Organizations. Spanning more than 35 years of partnership.

FAO and CIHEAM share the same vision and values to enhance food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agricultural development in the Mediterranean.

Mediterra 2016 aims to contribute to addressing urgent and interconnected challenges in a region that is at the nexus of three worlds: Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The publication looks at integrated approaches and policies to tackle different forms of waste, and hamper efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

These various forms of waste encompass natural resources, food and knowledge.

And they have common roots, such as social inequalities, the impacts of climate change, inadequate management of natural resources, and significant flows of distress migration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the CIHEAM Ministerial Conference held in Tirana last September, FAO strongly supported the creation of a platform to address the pressing issue of distress migration.

As you know, in 2017 FAO will be part of the troika that coordinates the Global Migration Group. And in 2018, FAO will be the chair of this group that gathers together UN system agencies. 

FAO and CIHEAM have also decided to join forces and seek solutions.

The flows of distress migration we have seen in the Mediterranean have strong links to poor working conditions in the region and elsewhere.

And this strongly affects coastal fisheries communities.

In this regard, FAO, CIHEAM and other partners are developing the Blue Hope Initiative, in order to strengthen livelihoods in these coastal communities in the Mediterranean particularly affected by migrant flows.

We have also been developing together other successful projects at country and regional level.

A good example is the fight against the Xylella fastidiosa and Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS). This has affected millions of hundred-year old olive trees on each side of the Mediterranean.

FAO and CIHEAM have worked together to build the capacity of national stakeholders in the region to prevent and fight this plague.

CIHEAM have significantly contributed to this effort through the dissemination of innovative, sustainable and cost-efficient technologies.

We have also joined forces to promote sustainable food systems and healthy diets around the Mediterranean diet.

This aims to link the support to family farmers, including fisher folks, to the consumption of nutritious food.

Another area of collaboration concerns a dangerous transboundary disease affecting palm trees, the Red Palm Weevil. 

FAO and CIHEAM are collaborating on the organization of a Scientific Consultation and High Level Meeting on this issue to take place in FAO Headquarters next March.

The meeting will review the current situation and develop a strategy for effective management of the Red Palm Weevil.

In light of these important initiatives and achievements, I am pleased to announce that, next year, FAO will make available an office space for CIHEAM here in FAO Headquarters.

This symbolic gesture will help us foster and maintain consistency and efficiency in our ever-growing collaboration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The strong and multi-dimensional collaboration with CIHEAM is a perfect example of the strategic partnerships that FAO strives to develop with key partner organizations.

This is essential for putting commitments into action and supporting countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Mediterra 2016 is a valuable contribution in this common effort to provide solutions, particularly for policy-makers, development operators, professionals and researchers.

Before concluding, I would like to once again congratulate the Kingdom of Morocco for having successfully held the UN Climate Conference in Marrakech last month, COP 22.

The Conference put strong emphasis on the links between climate change, agriculture and food security.

And alerted all of us that we are in a race against time to protect our planet and people‘s lives.  

Thank you for your attention.