Concept

The 2014 Conference will mainly focus on the following topics:

Efficient Use of Resources in Agriculture
Transformative Changes in Technologies and Policies in Agri-food Sector
New Business Models for Agriculture

Special Sessions will be planned to present:

Solutions for Agri-food Sustainability proposed by MED Solutions members
Solutions for Agri-food Sustainability proposed by students.

THE UNITED NATIONS SDSN INITIATIVE

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. SDSN is chaired by Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University (for more details see unsdsn.org).

University of Siena coordinates the SDSN Regional hub for the Mediterranean.

CONFERENCE CONCEPT

Agriculture and food will play a prominent role in the post-2015 agenda, for all countries in the Mediterranean and beyond. A sustainable development path for future food systems will require transformative changes in technologies, policies and behavior of all actors along the whole food chain. Many interventions are needed and not all can be done at once and in every country. Changing diets towards more healthy, less resource-intensive food is likely to be a slow, uneven process. On the supply side, a critical issue is to increase production on existing crop land by  closing yield and efficiency gaps and thus utilizing natural resources more widely, but all this needs to be done in the context of meeting consumer demands for safe, high-quality food. Wide access to state of the art knowledge and technology is a prerequisite for achieving a sustainable intensification of agriculture.

Many of the solutions exist or could, with wise investments, become available in the next 10-20 years. The Mediterranean region has a long history of food production and food culture in an environment that presents many socioeconomic and biophysical challenges. New technologies and new business models for farming and food processing will need to play a major role in the region’s future development. This conference will explore possible pathways and solutions for the region to become a showcase for sustainable agro-food culture, with responsible business development as a key driver for rural development and sustainable use of natural resources for high-quality food production.

The conference will provide a platform for debate and exchange of information for network partners, policymakers, scholars and stakeholders who have an interest in agro-food sustainability in the Mediterranean region. The outcome of the conference will be an advancement in the definition of a Mediterranean perspective on agro-food sustainability within the post-2015 era, as proposed by SDSN. Outputs of the Conference will include a position paper summarizing a discussion of specific challenges facing Mediterranean societies, an exchange of views on relevant regional indicators and targets for sustainable agriculture, as well as the adoption of possible solutions.