8 January 2009, Rome - The International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) based in Paris and FAO will strengthen their cooperation under an agreement signed at FAO's Rome headquarters today.
The Agreement of Cooperation was signed by Bertrand Hervieu, Secretary General of CIHEAM and Hervé Lejeune, FAO Assistant Director-General and Directeur de Cabinet.
In it, both organizations agreed to intensify their partnership in the areas of traditional foods, the protection of forests, the modernization of irrigation techniques and the management of plant diseases and quarantine. Other areas of cooperation include fisheries and aquaculture, animal production and plant genetic resources.
For the biennium 2009-10, the two organizations will undertake research programmes and organize workshops and the exchange of scientists and students to promote local, mountain and quality agricultural and food products that often contribute to the sustainability of mountainous and less-favoured areas.
FAO and CIHEAM will also undertake research on the sustainable management of forests in the Mediterranean, with a particular focus on the prevention of forest fires, reforestation and biodiversity.
In the area of irrigation, the collaboration aims at building a more comprehensive package of tools to improve the capacities of irrigation professionals with regard to modern irrigation management techniques.
A free trade area in the Mediterranean is envisaged in 2010 for the exchange of agricultural products which could increase the risk of disseminating pests.
The joint CIHEAM/FAO activities will aim at developing research and training activities to improve fruit crops and the control of pest entrance and spread in the Mediterranean region or among Mediterranean countries, through the application of harmonized protocols of pest monitoring and of the certification of propagation material of fruit crops. Also, research programmes are foreseen to be developed in the Integrated Pest Management field for diseases, pathogens and pests that are important to the Mediterranean region.
CIHEAM is a regional intergovernmental institution that provides training, conducts research and promotes international cooperation in agricultural and rural development in the Mediterranean Basin through its four Mediterranean Agronomic Institutes located in Bari (Italy), Chania (Greece), Montpellier (France) and Zaragoza (Spain).
FAO and CIHEAM started their collaboration in 1977.