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Improving rural livelihoods in the Mediterranean region

FAO/CIHEAM partnership focuses on food security, nutrition, and resilience

Photo: ©FAO/Laurent Sazy
An Algerian farmer with his sheep.

23 October 2015, Rome - The International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today signed a new strategic partnership aimed at strengthening the livelihoods of rural communities in the Mediterranean region.  

The two organizations will work together to advance solutions on issues in the region related to food and nutrition security, rural development and improved management of scarce water resources for agriculture. This will primarily be done at regional and global policy and in advocacy fora.

FAO and CIHEAM will also support policies and programmes to empower small-scale farmers and fisher folk to improve their incomes and employment opportunities, and to build their resilience to human-induced and natural shocks.

Another area of joint work will be generating and sharing well-adapted and useful knowledge targeted to the needs of small-scale farmers and fisher folk, through joint research, publications and documenting best practices.

"Today countries in the Mediterranean region are facing urgent and complex difficulties linked to agriculture, food and rural development," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said. By strengthening their cooperation, he added, FAO and CIHEAM will be in a better position to raise awareness on issues related to food security and rural development.

"One important area of our collaboration is certainly the enhancement of water productivity for irrigated agriculture," Graziano da Silva said.

For his part, CIHEAM Secretary General Cosimo Lacirignola stressed how the partnership "highlights complementarities between the two organizations; reinforces programs based on knowledge sharing and that invest in human resources."

Lacirignola noted the need to bring more visibility to existing innovative and best practices contributing to rural development in the Mediterranean region which is "full of potential". He said that CIHEAM's main objectives are providing concrete solutions, sharing experiences, investing in youth training and promoting useful knowledge to develop the region.

Today's agreement builds on more than 35 years of collaboration between FAO and CIHEAM and reaffirms the organizations' shared goals to enhance food security, nutrition and sustainable agricultural development in the Mediterranean region.

The region faces numerous challenges including the need to cope with the impacts of climate-change. However, it also possesses considerable advantages, such as a relatively high proportion of young people in its population and a tradition of healthy eating habits and sustainable agricultural practices (e.g the Mediterranean Diet and family farming).

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