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Local and regional actors on both sides of the Mediterranean need to act for a new Green Deal  

​​​A call for action by Agnès Rampal for resilient agricultural practices, the promotion of the Mediterranean diet and support for food sovereignty in the Mediterranean

​The Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) plenary co-chaired by Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EL/EPP), President of the European Committee of the Regions, governor of the region of Central Macedonia took place virtually on 22 February with contributions of Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Nasser Kamel , and Olivér Várhelyi , EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement.

In a roundtable on "A new Green Deal for the Mediterranean: the Agenda 2030 for a Greener Med", Ms Agnès Rampal (FR/EPP), Deputy Mayor of Nice and President of the Euro-Mediterranean Commission of the Grand Sud Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region, presented her report on " Agriculture and food security in the context of climate change in the Mediterranean" that was then adopted by the ARLEM members.

Ms Rampal said:“In the face of global warming, which will exacerbate tensions in the Mediterranean area, we must act to maximise the beneficial effects of sustainable agriculture. I call for true resilient food sovereignty, thanks in particular to an upgraded Mediterranean diet, adapted to climatic conditions, respectful of natural resources, vigilant with regard to health and able to ensure proper remuneration for farmers.”

This report covers one the five policy areas highlighted in ​the EU's New Agenda for the Mediterranean published by the European Commission on 9 February, namely the green transition.

Key political messages of the report are first that the European Union and the Union for the Mediterranean should consider developing a macro-regional strategy for food security and food sovereignty in the Mediterranean, promote an agro-ecological transition towards practices that preserve soil and agro-biodiversity, and consider introducing a 'Mediterranean products' or 'Mediterranean diet' label; second, regions and cities should seek to become a driving force behind efforts to develop agricultural approaches that are more resilient to dramatic changes in the climate in the Mediterranean region.

Nine operational proposals were also made on how local and regional authorities could bolster Euro-Mediterranean cooperation for sustainable and resilient agriculture and guarantee food security in the context of climate change, notably:

- Organise a meeting of Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) agriculture, environment and health ministers focusing on food security and adapting Mediterranean farming systems to changing climate conditions and establish a project forum where international donors and creditors, enterprises, local and regional authorities and agricultural and agri-food stakeholders could exchange.

- Draw up a Charter for Euro-Mediterranean food sovereignty with a common policy declaration and targets for signatory countries and local and regional authorities (LRAs) to enable the UfM, states and LRAs to adopt a long-term integrated approach to coordinated management of agricultural natural resources (water, soil, agro-biodiversity) and Mediterranean food sovereignty.

- Lay the political groundwork for the creation of a common Euro-Mediterranean Response to food system crises with an Emergency Plan and an Agricultural Solidarity Fund to help countries hit by natural disasters (drought, destructive insects, fires, etc.), along the lines of the European common agricultural policy's reserve for crises in the agricultural sector.

- Develop a "Mediterranean products" or "Mediterranean diet" label with a specific set of criteria and a broad communication plan and organise festivals or Mediterranean gastronomy weeks promoting labelled products on a yearly basis, moving from one host city and/or country to another each year.

- Include sustainable/resilient agriculture, agronomic R&D (agritech), bioeconomy and food security/sovereignty in the Mediterranean region within the European programmes and funds (Structural Funds, thematic programmes, Interreg, EIP-AGRI Agriculture and Innovation and the European neighbourhood policy, etc. like the PRIMA23 programme). ​

Background information:

ARLEM was established by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in 2009 to bring a local and regional perspective into the work of the Union for the Mediterranean , created in 2008, and of the EU.

More information on the ARLEM Plenary session, including its recommendations for 2021.

At last year's ARLEM plenary on 23 January 2020, local and regional leaders called for a Green Deal for the Mediterranean . In this regard Ms Rampal's report is one important piece of work following up on the 2020 ARLEM's recommendations.

Contact:
Marie-Pierre Jouglain
Tel. +32 473 52 41 15
mariepierre.jouglain@cor.europa.eu