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150th Meeting of the CIHEAM GB: Call for reinforced solidarity and cooperation in a serious context of crises

150th Meeting of the CIHEAM GB: Call for reinforced solidarity and cooperation in a serious context of crises

CIHEAM Chania, Greece (18-19 July 2022)

Chaired by M. Mohamed Sadiki, current Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests in Morocco, the 150th CIHEAM Governing Board Meeting was held in Greece in Chania, from July 18 to 19, 2022, as part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and in a Mediterranean context marked by a succession of crises (COVID19, Russian-Ukrainian war, severe droughts). Crises that weigh on food and nutritional security and that have a strong impact on the living conditions of the most fragile populations. An emergency context that, as recalled by the President and the delegations present, calls for greater food sovereignty of countries, Mediterranean solidarity, and strengthened cooperation for sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems.

Chaired by Mr. Mohamed Sadiki, current Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests in Morocco, the CIHEAM Governing Board met for two days to discuss the many projects carried out and the future directions in a Mediterranean context impacted by numerous crises.

Pictures: President of the Governing Board, Mr. Mohammed Sadiki; CIHEAM Legal Cousellor Mr. Terry Olson, CIHEAM Secretary General M. Plácido PLAZA, GB Vice-President and Delegate for France Ms. Valérie Baduel, CIHEAM Advisory Board President Ms. Lamiae Ghaouti ; CIHEAM Chania Director Mr. George Baourakis, CIHEAM Montpellier Director Mr. Thierry Dupeuble; CIHEAM Bari Director Mr. Maurizio Raeli et CIHEAM Zaragoza Director Mr. Raul Compés; delegates for Spain Ms. María José Hernández Mendoza and for Morocco Mr. Bilal Hajjouji with the team of the CIHEAM General Secretariat.

In turn, the General Secretariat, the CIHEAM Institutes of Bari, Chania, Montpellier and Zaragoza presented their new training, research and cooperation activities to meet the agro-food challenges of the region.

Discussions also focused on the activities developed in the priority themes of CIHEAM, namely empowerment and socio-economic inclusion of women and youth, support to sustainable food systems, sustainable management of coastal areas and fisheries as well as Mediterranean forests ravaged in recent days by violent fires.

These areas are considered priorities by all the member states present and are in line with the priorities of the international organizations invited such as the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the International Olive Oil Council (IOC). These convergences highlight the importance of scientific diplomacy in the service of necessary agricultural transitions and the need to pool and optimize resources for greater impact.

Pictures: Mr. Alvaro ALBACETE, UfM Deputy Secretary General in charge of water, environment and blue economy; Mr. Abdellatif GHEDIRA, IOC Executive Director; Mr. Pau ROCA, OIV Director General, Ms. Ismahane ELOUAFI, FAO Chief Researcher and CIHEAM et al. group picture.

To close this important moment of dialogue and regional cooperation, the guests inaugurated the "Garden of Peace" hosted by the CIHEAM Chania Institute in the presence of Mrs. Dora BAKOYANNIS, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Panayotis SIMANDIRAKIS, Mayor of Chania, Mr. Nikos KALOGERIS, Vice-Governor of the Region of Crete and Mr. Vasilis DIGALAKIS, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education. Composed of a collection of olive trees from Mediterranean countries, this garden is a symbol of peace and dialogue between peoples. A message that the Secretary General of CIHEAM, Plácido PLAZA wished to pass on by describing it as a beacon for the region and future generations.



Picture: Opening of the "Garden of Peace" at the CIHEAM Institute of Chania by Ms. Dora BAKOYANNIS, Member of the Parliament and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and CIHEAM Secretary General M. Plácido PLAZA.

According to the Secretary General, this garden, which carries within it thousands of years of collective history, should remind us that what unites us will always be stronger than what separates us. Moreover, at a time when hunger is reappearing in the world and food insecurity is resurfacing, the nourishing symbolism of the olive tree is a salutary reminder that agriculture is of vital importance and that more sustainable agri-food systems are essential conditions for prosperity and peace.