Barcelona, 2 December 2014 – The UfM Secretariat participated in the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Agriculture held in Palermo, Sicily on 28 November 2014. The event was organised by the Italian Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Forestry in collaboration with CIHEAM. The UfM Secretariat was represented by its Deputy Secretary General in charge of Higher Education and Research, Professor Ilan Chet.
The meeting was chaired by the Italian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Maurizio Martina, and the Egyptian Minister for Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Adel El-Beltagy. The Conference followed the dialogue set out at the First Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Agriculture, which took place in Venice on 27 November 2003.
The UfM Member Countries and several representatives from international and regional organisations such as the EC, FAO, ICARDA, CEJA and SWG RRD attended the Conference. The discussion focused on the role of younger generations in developing agriculture and on the importance of research, cooperation and the exchange of experiences for developing sustainable agriculture. The debate on the need for a Mediterranean agricultural policy and whether to back up collaboration and cooperation initiatives between the EU and its member states with Balkan, North African and Middle Eastern countries was relaunched.
The UfM Deputy Secretary General for Higher Education and Research, Professor Ilan Chet, held bilateral meetings with the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr José Graziano da Silva; the Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, Mr Wolfgang Burtscher; and the Diplomatic Adviser to the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Mr Gianluigi Benedetti.
The Declaration of Palermo was adopted unanimously by the delegations at the end of the Conference.
The Union for the Mediterranean project “Higher Education on Food Security and Rural Development” is promoted by CIHEAM, which gave its scientific and technical support to prepare this conference.