Promoting food systems transformation in the Mediterranean towards 2030

FAO, CIHEAM and UfM join forces to boost progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda across the Mediterranean, ahead of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit

22 January 2021, Rome - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at accelerating progress on the 2030 Agenda through food systems transformation in the Mediterranean region.

The agreement which was signed on 14 January marks a new step in collaboration between the three partners to jointly develop and adopt an innovative and science-based framework of actions to support the transition towards more sustainable food systems, while addressing the disruptions and fragilities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and contributing to build back better.

The development of a multi-stakeholder platform (SFS-MED Platform) to leverage the existing knowledge, experience and skills of institutions across the Mediterranean is also foreseen

Capitalizing on their technical, scientific and political mandates, FAO, CIHEAM and UfM will support the SFS-MED Platform to develop a 10-year transitional work plan that, through a substantial scientific base, will inform policy dialogue and transformative decision-making in the region, directly contributing to the preparatory process of the UN Food Systems Summit and, ultimately, to accelerating progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown that an urgent change of route is needed in the way we produce, process, distribute, consume and dispose of food worldwide. The three partners believe that such transformation needs to consider each specific context and will inevitably involve trade-offs for countries and stakeholders. Sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems are the key for better production and consumption, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life.

The Mediterranean region is no exception to this: population growth, demographic changes, urbanization and globalization are changing consumption and production patterns, in a context of climate change and decline of ecosystems. Today, more than ever, the region is facing unprecedented and interdependent environmental, economic and social challenges that affect food security, health, nutrition, sustainability, and, thus, the livelihoods of all people across the Mediterranean.

The MoU comes with a detailed work plan of concrete actions, to be jointly carried out between 2021 and 2024, that will span across several technical areas, such as sustainable management of land and water resources, sustainable fisheries, climate-smart and organic agriculture, food environments and healthy diets, sustainable value chain development, food loss and waste reduction, and expanding interdisciplinary collaboration in all aspects related to health care for humans, animals and the environment.

Photo: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti / FAO
A food market in Agadir, Morocco