Strengthening institutional capacity to address challenges for food and sustainable agriculture in the Mediterranean

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva and Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) - Francisco Matte Bon, President. ©FAO/Pier Paolo Cito

FAO and the Mediterranean Universities Union partner to promote knowledge-sharing and policy dialogue

14/06/2019 - 

Rome – On the opening day of the Future of Food Symposium, FAO and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) signed a partnership agreement that will facilitate an exchange of expertise between the two organizations on a range of issues related to FAO’s mandate.

Specifically, the partnership aims to strengthen knowledge-sharing in the areas of food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, water and soils management and rural development in the Mediterranean region, including through the uptake of e-learning and Research4Life resources. The collaboration will promote policy dialogue and information exchanges between academia and other stakeholders, including parliamentary alliances, on food and nutrition security, sustainable food and agriculture and the SDGs, Joint activities with UNIMED will also support the UN Decade of Family Farming through awareness raising and knowledge exchange.  

UNIMED is an association of 118 universities located in 23 countries around the Mediterranean basin. Founded in 1991, the union contributes to scientific, cultural, economic and social cooperation in the Mediterranean area through research and education. UNIMED will benefit from access to FAO’s technical expertise and knowledge resources on food and agriculture, which will in turn contribute to member universities’ projects and research activities in the fields of food security, sustainable water and soils management, and combat against desertification. 

Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO’s Partnerships Division, welcomed the chance for closer collaboration with UNIMED: “UNIMED is a strategic partner which can extend FAO’s efforts to develop the capacities in the Mediterranean region, in order to better address the challenges related to food and agriculture and sustainable management of natural resources.” 

“The signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between UNIMED and FAO is an important step that can contribute to the work of both parties towards improving the quality of life of many people,” Francisco Matte Bon, President of UNIMED, agreed. “The issues of mutual interest FAO and UNIMED share are numerous and extremely relevant to our current societies. Indeed, FAO’s priorities need particular attention in the Mediterranean region where UNIMED operates. Joining efforts for FAO and UNIMED means to remarkably increase our ability to promote accurate knowledge, develop skills and capacities, boost local development, foster academic cooperation and involve local stakeholders as well.’’