Watch Letter #41: Youth Commitment to Sustainable Food Systems – A Mediterranean overview
Climate change, the Covid19 pandemic and recent conflicts are disrupting our Mediterranean societies. These crises particularly threaten rural and agricultural communities that are already vulnerable as a result of poor development, environmental degradation, drought and the gradual abandonment of the peasantry. They undermine the food supply systems of these communities and affect their livelihoods more severely, thus putting them at increased risk of poverty.
This situation particularly affects young people, especially in terms of training and employment opportunities. Many young people today have neither the skills nor the capital or land to access or create gainful employment in rural and agricultural areas. All these difficulties strengthen socio-economic inequalities, which in turn fuel distress and radicalisation of all kinds.
Representing a significant part of the Mediterranean population, young people must be considered as allies and above all actors of sustainable development, green agriculture and the blue economy. These desired transitions towards more sustainable and fairer models cannot achieve their objectives without strengthening the capacities of young people, allowing them to decide and act in agri-food systems. Their creative potential and dynamism are unavoidable realities. They just need to be more recognised, valued and supported.
This joint publication by the CIHEAM, the UfM and CMI-UNOPS gives voice to young researchers, entrepreneurs and activists with ideas and projects for a different kind of rural and agricultural development. It contributes to the debate on their role in the drafting of new paradigms and presents promising avenues to respond to the pressing challenges of the region.