The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), in partnership with the Foundation for South-North Mediterranean Dialogue, is working to highlight the needs of rural communities in the Mediterranean. The groups are hosting a series of conferences around the region focusing on how agricultural innovations can create a better future for rural communities, which are often overlooked in favor of urban development.
GFAR is a global forum and community of experts devoted to agricultural research and positive innovation. The Foundation for South-North Mediterranean Dialogue is a civil society movement formed to address the challenges that communities face in the Mediterranean region. Their mission is “a shared vision of the future, outside of state structures and current conflict.” GFAR partnered with the Foundation to integrate insights from rural agricultural communities on policy directing the future of agriculture.
Progress has already been made in highlighting the need to support rural farmers in the Mediterranean. This February, the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) hosted a seminar between the Ministers of Agriculture from its member countries to discuss sustainable agricultural development in the Mediterranean. CIHEAM described the goals of the seminar as “the strengthening of different types of family farming, the validation of the rural environment and the landscape amenities as well as their ability to improve the production of goods and services.”
GFAR and The Foundation for South-North Mediterranean Dialogue hope to expand on this work by holding a series of dialogues focusing on specific strategies to support rural agricultural communities in the Mediterranean. The first discussion will take place in Volos, Greece in June 2014. Additional dialogues will take place throughout 2014 and early 2015 in Egypt, France, and either Morocco or Algeria. These sub-regional dialogues will cumulate in a 2015 Mediterranean Regional Congress.
The aim of these dialogues is to prevent the continued neglect of rural farming communities that can produce continued rural poverty, urban migration, or new sources of conflict. Issues such as agricultural development, relationships between rural and urban communities, and potential regional collaborations will be discussed. The outcomes from the meetings will be used to inform and advocate for policy changes.
GFAR’s partnership will help participants representing civil society, farming, and youth communities to take part in each sub-regional dialogue. Interested individuals from each sub-region are openly welcome to participate. “Each meeting will be designed as a foresight reflection, to identify viable futures for these rural worlds,” reports GFAR.