PRIMA and UfM together call for greater attention to innovation and sustainability for rebuilding the region
16 July 2020. New Challenges, emerging trends and need of transformations: PRIMA and Union for the Mediterranean have promoted an online debate, discussing the first results of the survey on the agrifood sector, as well as concrete solutions and initiatives to address the challenges that are affecting the Mediterranean area.
At the presence of UfM Secretary General and PRIMA Co-Chairs, the focus of the conversation has been from the very beginning on how to promote a rebound for the region after the pandemic has exacerbated the already existing problems from an economic, social and environmental point of view. To debate these challenges and the potential solutions ahead is even more relevant if framed in the 25th Anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration that opened an era of dialogue and cooperation for the region.
“The main result of the survey shows that food security, e-commerce, technological and organizational innovation will become more relevant. While consumers will put more attention on traceability, businesses will be induced to give more importance to risk management activities. As PRIMA, we are honored to have contributed to the debate and we are committed to promote concrete solutions for a sustainable Euromed agrifood system”, said Angelo Riccaboni, Chair of PRIMA Foundation.
The different speakers have underscored the critical phase the world and the region are facing as well as the urgent actions that need to be taken at local, regional and international level. Institutions have a great role to play in gathering relevant stakeholders, sustaining and strengthening partnerships, involving also the private sector. The survey confirms that a broader governance is needed in order to have more effective controls on sustainable production of food.
“Fostering Regional cooperation on innovation, water, environment while responding to climate action is our methodology for consolidating the cooperation spirit launched 25 years ago with the Barcelona Process. The many ecosystems supported politically by UfM and financially by PRIMA are the latest incarnations of this spirit, which has adapted continuously to cope with new challenges, realities and opportunities”, said Nasser Kamel, UfM Secretary General.
Reacting to the presentation of the first results of the survey and the thought-provoking questions of the moderator, the different Institutions’ representatives have shown how their Institutions are responding. The FAO (Morrison) and the European Commission (Lutzeyer) have detailed some framework actions and strategies on which the two institutions are particularly active, while EIT Food (Zynga) and FACCE JPI (Rivera Ferre) have highlighted respectively the valuable role of start-ups in shaping the future scenarios of the agrifood, and the importance of collaborative projects and pilots.
Giuliodori (World Farmers Organization) and Abou Hadid (Ain-Shams University) have, on the other hand, underscored two perspectives which are seminal to foster an harmonious development: firstly, the attention to farmers which are very often at the forefront in the agrifood sector and; secondly, the need to work cooperatively on an equal foot basis. This not only because the major challenges do not know borders, but also because specific knowledge, expertise and traditional practices are already proven in some Countries (e.g. of the Southern shore of the Med), thus confirming again the need for scaling up processes.
With more than 350 people registered from 27 different Countries in view of the event, the panel debate will give impulse to the activities of the PRIMA and its main findings will enrich the report prepared in view of the event, thanks to the insights of more than 185 experts. A final publication will be available soon and disseminated in the relevant networks. The debate, held last on July 15, represented only one step in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 as well as of the newly designed European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy. Much more needs to be done, in relation to sustainability, transformative innovation and adaptation to climate change. PRIMA and the Union for the Mediterranean are hand in hand in this endeavour.