Food systems transformation – Processes and pathways in the Mediterranean: A stocktaking exercise


As in many parts of the world, food systems across the Mediterranean are not on track to deliver on food security, nutrition, and sustainability outcomes: food systems are the main drivers of environmental degradation, and they are failing to provide decent livelihoods to large parts of the population in a context of increasing disparities and the advent of climate breakdown.

These unprecedented challenges are complex and deeply interrelated, affecting the food security, health, nutrition, sustainability, and thus the livelihoods of all people across the Mediterranean. Food systems, therefore, require solutions that are systemic and dynamic, and which go beyond single disciplinary approaches to actively engage the voices of all food systems stakeholders. However, countries do have a common precious heritage, such as the Mediterranean diet, which constitutes a powerful lever for bridging food consumption and production to accelerate food systems transformation in the whole region.

Food systems are a key entry point for achieving the 2030 Agenda

Globally, food systems have been recognized as being a key entry point for achieving the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is against this background that the United Nations Secretary-General convened the Food Systems Summit (UNFFS) on 23 September 2021 to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnections within food systems to address global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty, and inequality.

The Summit and its preparatory process have set the stage for food systems transformation across the globe, which was also reflected in the Mediterranean region. In this context, a number of Food Systems Summit Dialogues (FSSDs) were organized across the Mediterranean, allowing a broad and diverse range of stakeholders to explore the challenges faced in food systems, reflect on the Summit’s objectives, and learn from the perspective of other participants in order to make change happen.

🌍Tackling food systems transformation in the Mediterranean region

Tackling food systems transformation in the Mediterranean region requires considering sustainable food systems as a whole, rather than their separate parts, and going beyond disciplinary approaches and silos. Policy-makers have to take into consideration a web of interconnected and interdependent components within a decision-making environment concerning food systems that is very fragmented, and where there is a wide range of voices from different interest groups and agendas, with diverse institutional and agro-ecological constraints in countries and territories on all shores of the Mediterranean.

Within this setting, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have joined forces to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation on food systems transformation in the Mediterranean through a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean (SFS-MED) Platform.

This initiative aims to foster the sense of community needed to engage countries and stakeholders across the Mediterranean, including post-Summit efforts, offering a forum for dialogue and multi-stakeholder exchange, and promoting flagship projects, investments, and regional cooperation on data sharing, science diplomacy, and innovation.

As part of this effort, this publication takes stock of common challenges, priorities, and opportunities specific to the Mediterranean context, as reflected in the great number of FSSDs that took place in the region, as well as national pathways, and the statements delivered by the Member States during the Pre-Summit, the UNFSS and other related events.

Areas of collaboration between regional stakeholders and next steps

The stocktaking exercise concludes by suggesting potential areas of collaboration between regional stakeholders and proposing possible next steps to move towards the implementation of pathways to transform agri-food systems. The recently developed SFS-MED Platform is also set to play a key role in assisting countries in this process.

It is crucial that the momentum generated between 2020 and 2021 by the Food Systems Summit does not come to a halt. This publication is part of the follow-up process and aims to help countries and stakeholders to maximize their efforts toward food systems transformation in the Mediterranean region, ultimately accelerating progress on the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaving no one behind.


Copyright: FAO, CIHEAM and UfM, 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Threats on food security in the Mediterranean region

This report was written as CIHEAM’s contribution to understanding the short and mid-term consequences of the COVID-19 crises on the food security of selected Mediterranean countries, in a bid to anticipate desirable steps that could be taken by all actors to mitigate its impact. It is a result of a collective effort that mobilized all the components of CIHEAM

Migration and Inclusive Rural Development in the Mediterranean


Today, migratory phenomena are an essential part of political agendas. Little known, their effects on territories of origin and destination have an impact on the socio-economic balance in an already preoccupying climate context.
As a major component of population movements, migration from countryside to cities is a strategy to improve household living conditions thanks to migrants’ tangible and intangible transfers and is a lever for local development. However, it also undermines the attractiveness of rural territories, especially for younger people. Besides, it deprives them of the human resources required for the agricultural and agro-food sectors.

At a time when food crises are resurging and natural resource tensions in the Afro-Mediterranean region are worsening, migration may also weaken food and water security of the poorest regions.

What have been, and what are, the migratory trends in the Mediterranean? How can internal and international mobility be integrated as a territorial development factor? How can youth and female migration be addressed? What are the links between migration and the environment? What roles do innovation and the private sector play? What answers can be provided by actors of cooperation and development?
Co-directed by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the Agence française de développement (AFD), the new edition of the Mediterra report gives the floor to experts and partner institutions to better understand this complex theme, and identify sustainable solutions.

English version

Table of contents





Chap 1/ Migration to and from Mediterranean Countries

Chap 2/ Overview of Internal Migration in the Mediterranean

Focus 1 The Grdr “migration-citizenship-development”

Chap 3/ West African Migration to Mediterranean Countries and Agricultural Work

Chap 4/ Migration Agriculture and Rural Territories in the Mediterranean

Focus 2 The “Agricultural and Livestock Support for Syrian People” Programme led by the CIHEAM-Bari

Chap 5/ Rural Development and Migration: An Environmental Dimension

Chap 6/ Fishing and Fishing Communities

Chap 7/ Youth Migration from Rural Areas in the Mediterranean

Focus 3 How Social Entrepreneurs Transform the Journey of Migrants

Chap 8/ Rural Under-Development and Internal Migration

Chap  9/ Gender and Climate-Induced Migration in the Mediterranean

Focus 4 Unaccompanied Minors, Different Realities and Support Methods

Chap 10/ Innovation at the Service of the Prevention of and Adaptation to Migration

Focus 5 The Role of ICT in Regufee Empowerment

Chap 11/ The Euro-Mediterranean Process and the Root Causes of Migration

Chap 12/ Migration, Asylum: The Role of Development Agencies

Chap 13/ Mobilisation of Syrian Investors and the Private Sector

Focus 6 Refugee Assistance Through Financial Inclusion

Forum on Agriculture, Rural Development and Migration in the Mediterranean (29 May 2018)


Table of documents

Zero Waste in the Mediterranean

Zero Waste in the Mediterranean

The 2016 FAO-CIHEAM joint edition of Mediterra offers an innovative and prospective approach on the issues of triple waste reduction including agricultural losses, waste of natural resources and waste of knowledge and knowhow. This Report features a collection of shared expertise and local experiences in the Mediterranean region. It provides the keys to understanding and presents solutions for action targeting policy-makers, development operators, professionals and researchers.

Agriculture and food security are two major global challenges. Situated at the heart of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they raise several strategic issues for countries and international cooperation. ‘Produce more and better’, such is the equation to help address the challenges related to population growth, changing consumption patterns and scarcity of natural and financial resources. In this context, the reduction of agricultural losses and food waste has become a priority.

Download MEDITERRA 2016 (English)

Download MEDITERRA 2016 (French) 



Table of documents


Foreword by J. Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General and C. Lacirignola, CIHEAM Secretary General


Natural resources in the Mediterranean

Chapter 1: Global perspective of natural resources

Chapter 2: Management of living marine resources

Chapter 3: Management of water resources

Chapter 4: Sustainable development of land resources

Chapter 5: Forests: facing the challenges of global change

Chapter 6: Plant and animal resources diversity

Chapter 7: Energy and agri-food system: production and consumption

Chapter 8: The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in the Mediterranean

Food losses and waste

Chapter 9: Food losses and waste: global overview from a Mediterranean perspective

Chapter 10: The Mediterranean diet: a sustainable consumption pattern

Chapter 11: Innovative postharvest technologies for sustainable value chain

Chapter 12: Innovation for the reduction of food losses and waste

Chapter 13: Consumer behaviour with respect to food losses and waste

Knowledge and knowhow

Chapter 14: Waste of knowledge and human resources

Chapter 15: Saving traditional knowhow in agriculture

Chapter 16: Family farming to bolster human knowhow and resources

Chapter 17: Enhancing knowledge for food security