EU launches programme to support rural development in Southern Mediterranean countries
The EU has launched a programme aiming to support agriculture and rural development in the southern Mediterranean, as part of its response to the Arab Spring under the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy. ENPARD, the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development, held its launch seminar in Tunis at the end of last month, in the presence of representatives of Tunisia's Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Planning and Regional Development, the Finance Ministry, as well as civil society organizations.
A press release from the EU Delegation in Tunisia said that with the launch of this programme, the EU aims to meet the needs of Southern Mediterranean countries and to further a more inclusive growth, through the identification and implementation of operations that can be funded under its new SPRING programme and that answer three objectives:
· - To improve farmers’ revenue and rural employment, in particular among young people.
· - To increase the productivity of production systems, improving at the same time the quality of products and the capacity to adapt to changes.
· - To reinforce organizational and institutional capacities and adherence to the operational principles of good governance.
To achieve these objectives, a multi-annual work programme will be set through a dialogue with national partners, and will be structured around two aspects:
· - To improve local food security and the patterns of rural development, focusing on sustainable agricultural productivity, diversifying the rural economy and accompanying the institutions created by the local communities and civil society in rural areas;
· - To improve the standards of productivity and quality, favouring an adequate environment for land and market regulations, guaranteeing the modernization of the infrastructure and the support logistics in production, investing in the methods of processing and introduction in the market of agricultural products that meet guaranteed quality standards.
The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Montpellier of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Studies (IAMM-CIHEAM) has been tasked with the mission of accompanying this initiative in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. This mission will last 30 months (January 2012-June 2014) and will be divided into two phases:
a preparatory phase to identify the initiatives to be reinforced and to prepare the countries’ action plans by June 2012; the second phase will include the starting of a national dialogue to implement ENPARD by June 2014.
The implementation of the multiannual cooperation programme for the period 2014-2020 will be based on investments on the one hand and technical assistance on the other.
ENPARD reflects the willingness to initiate new forms of intervention and cooperation that will be implemented progressively during the two coming years, and more broadly developed during the eight following years. This process is based first on the elaboration of an appropriate and shared diagnosis and on the identification of innovative local initiatives. National capacities must be then reinforced and the professionals of the public and the private sector, who will carry on the projects that they will have themselves initiated, must be mobilized. (ENPI Info Centre)