- A high-level mission on Agriculture, Agri-food, and Food Security to Egypt was held in January 2023, as a follow-up on the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Crisis of December 2022, co-chaired by Italy, Turkey, and Lebanon, at the margins of the Rome MED Dialogue. It was led by the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani, and the Minister of Universities and Research, Anna Maria Bernini. A meeting was also organized with Egyptian President Abdel Fatha El-Sisi as well as Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly.
- The goal was to support the PRIMA initiative, by scaling up a high-profile mission aimed at delivering the “last mile” of research in terms of impact on economic development. This event brought visibility to scientific and business communities of the recently launched Mediterranean initiative of Horizon Europe, which builds on the UfM Research & Innovation Roadmaps (climate change, renewable energy, health).
- Discussions on the regionalization of the bilateral initiatives on food security were held, inscribing it in a regional context fully anchored in the UfM framework.
13-16 January 2023, Cairo – In a context of rising food insecurity brought on by climate change, of agricultural hardships resulting from the war in Ukraine, along with the need for intensifying economic growth and youth employment, a joint response through regional partnerships is needed. As such, Mediterranean cooperation, as embodied by the Union for the Mediterranean, aims at directing its actions and that of its partners toward strengthening the resilience of agri-food value chains. Against this backdrop, research and innovation are essential tools for providing tangible solutions, and scientific cooperation between the two rims of the Mediterranean has already produced many concrete outcomes, such as the Mediterranean Initiative of Horizon Europe, and the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA).
The UfM Secretariat was invited to join a high-level mission to Egypt on Agriculture, Agri-food, and Food Security, in representation of the international organizations part of the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Crisis. This regional dialogue was led by the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Universities and Research.
Aiming at discussing scientific and cultural partnerships between Italy and Egypt, and hence upscaling existing PRIMA projects into innovative economic opportunities on agri-food, the mission was structured around high-level meetings between the Italian Ministers, the Egyptian President, and Prime Minister. A series of working meetings between the Italian and Egyptian delegations, accompanied by the UfM Secretariat, the PRIMA initiative, and CIHEAM Bari, were also organized.
On 16 March, UfM Secretary General, accompanied by UfM Project Manager Giuseppe Provenzano, then met with the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister and presented the outcomes of the occurred interactions.
Prominently, a Roundtable discussion on research and innovation and PRIMA projects was held, during which the UfM Secretary General Kamel highlighted the important contribution of PRIMA to the UfM framework, and the need to upscale research projects at the Mediterranean level, building on bilateral initiatives and expanding them to further countries. He also gave political recognition to the saliency of Research and Innovation for addressing Mediterranean challenges, and, as he stressed: “for providing tangible solutions to these challenges, meaning new ways of getting food more efficiently and sustainably from our land, or from our close neighbors, following a philosophy of near-shoring, friend-shoring or regional value chains.”.
UfM Secretary General shed light on the fact that partnerships between the public and business communities are key to supporting innovation and sustainability in the Mediterranean. As he also mentioned, upscaling existing PRIMA research projects could support job creation, productivity, and the uptake of new technology in agriculture. Thereupon, he proposed that the UfM could support the expansion of the existing initiative to further UfM Member states, contributing to its regionalization.
PRIMA Co-chairs acknowledged the strong support given by the UfM Secretariat since its inception, and proposed a few successful projects for follow-up.