The year 2022 ended with the 9th plenary meeting of the MED-Amin network, which it was finally possible to hold face-to-face after two years during which the pandemic had prohibited it. Hosted by Spain and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the two-day meeting took place on 22 and 23 November 2022 at CIHEAM Zaragoza.
Once again, we would like to thank the partners involved for their organisational and financial support. These days not only allowed us to take stock of the work carried out over the past year, but also to share the challenges to be met in order to set up a genuine early warning system for cereal markets in the Mediterranean.
The significant participation of experts who have long been associated with the work of MED-Amin, whether they are within AMIS, the IGC, the FAO or the EU, testifies to the interest that many of the partners mobilised by the CIHEAM have in this project, which augurs very well for the future.
As for the work already carried out within MED-Amin, this new initiative on early warning would have no future without the assiduous participation of all the focal points who have been working within the network since its creation in 2014. We would also like to thank them warmly for their commitment to this new year. Under the presidency of Spain, which will also hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2023, the MED-Amin secretariat will also be responsible for organising the training courses and webinars that mark the year and enable the network's skills to be consolidated.
The importance of this network was reiterated at the last CIHEAM Council, which was held on 16 December 2022. Several delegates intervened to underline its role in a context where unfortunately, for more than a year, the climatic, agricultural and geopolitical news in the region has only confirmed the need for such a tool to contribute to guaranteeing food security, in particular in the most fragile States in this respect. MED-Amin therefore remains a priority action of the CIHEAM for the coming year, which will be marked by a change of governance, since the Minister of Agriculture of Albania will take over the presidency of the CIHEAM from April 2023.
As Mr Miranda, the Spanish Secretary General for Agriculture and Food, pointed out in Zaragoza, the coordinated work of the MED-Amin network, the exchange of knowledge and experience, and the strengthening of mechanisms for anticipating unfavourable situations must contribute to resolving more effectively the new challenges posed by climate change, conflicts and geopolitical and commercial tensions.
Unfortunately, the year 2023 is not starting under the best of auspices: in a context of persistently high energy prices, agricultural production costs remain on an upward trend, while inflation is affecting household consumption, including food. And unfortunately, the beginning of the winter cereal season is marked by a persistent water deficit in several Mediterranean regions. Let us hope that the spring will be more clement and will allow us to hope for generous harvests throughout the basin in 2023.