Brus­sels pro­poses first re­search part­ner­ship to in­crease Mediter­ranean’s food and wa­ter sus­tain­abil­ity

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day pro­posed a first re­search part­ner­ship of its kind in the Mediter­ranean Area to de­velop much-needed novel so­lu­tions for sus­tain­able wa­ter man­age­ment and food pro­duc­tion.

The Com­mis­sion pre­sented a pro­posal for a Part­ner­ship for Re­search and In­no­va­tion in the Mediter­ranean Area - PRIMA. The first part­ner­ship of its kind in the Mediter­ranean basin aims to de­velop much-needed novel so­lu­tions for sus­tain­able wa­ter man­age­ment and food pro­duc­tion.

Car­los Moedas, Com­mis­sioner for Re­search, Science and In­no­va­tion, said: “EU re­search and in­no­va­tion is open to the world so we can tackle global chal­lenges to­gether. This Euro-Mediter­ranean part­ner­ship is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of where pool­ing knowl­edge and money can make a huge dif­fer­ence. It will bring more clean wa­ter and food to the peo­ple, boost lo­cal economies and cre­ate jobs. Through PRIMA, re­search and in­no­va­tion will play a cru­cial role in ad­dress­ing the root causes of mi­gra­tion.”

The Com­mis­sion’s pro­posal al­ready in­cludes Cyprus, the Czech Repub­lic, Egypt, France, Greece, Is­rael, Italy, Le­banon, Lux­em­bourg, Malta, Morocco, Por­tu­gal, Spain and Tu­nisia. The par­tic­i­pa­tion of Ger­many is cur­rently un­der ne­go­ti­a­tion. As the ini­tia­tive is evolv­ing over time, more par­tic­i­pants are ex­pected to fol­low, both EU and non-EU coun­tries.

Fund­ing for the €400 mil­lion part­ner­ship will come from the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries (cur­rently around €200 mil­lion), matched by a €200 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from the EU through its cur­rent re­search frame­work pro­gramme Hori­zon 2020. The part­ner­ship is sched­uled to run for 10 years, start­ing in 2018.

In re­cent years, the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in the Mediter­ranean has been suf­fer­ing from se­vere wa­ter short­ages and de­creas­ing crop yields. To­day, 180 mil­lion peo­ple in the Mediter­ranean basin are con­sid­ered ‘wa­ter poor’. The lack of clean wa­ter and nu­tri­tious food has ad­verse ef­fects on the health and sta­bil­ity of the pop­u­la­tions.

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