On the opening day, Prof. Angelo Riccaboni, Chair of PRIMA Foundation, illustrated the initiative, describing it as a virtuous example of partnership and a model of scientific diplomacy, also pointing out the role of innovation as a tool to keep sustainability and development together. Moreover, Riccaboni highlighted the strategic role of the partnership with FAO, with a view to creating a joint plan of actions to promote the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda in the Mediterranean region and produce concrete impacts on the challenges linked to the agri-food sector. On the sidelines of the “Agribusiness and Innovation” session, Riccaboni also presented the prize promoted by UNIDO and the Future Food Institute for innovative ideas in the agri-food sector.
The participation of PRIMA at EXCO2019 continued with B2B information activities at the dedicated booths and with three important moments that followed one another on the final day. In particular, on Friday 17 May an auction floor was set up, during which some PRIMA projects participating in the 2018 calls were described, in the presence of the Director of PRIMA Foundation Octavi Quintana and two project coordinators. The event registered a large and interested participation and the six projects presented, collected in a dedicated report, will remain at disposal of international investors for the next twelve months. Furthermore, PRIMA organized a side event, “Funding Opportunities and Solutions for the Med Area: The PRIMA Initiative”, where the main information on funding mechanisms and projects already funded was provided to a wide audience.
In parallel, “Hack for SDGs” started, being it the first Hackathon on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, jointly organized by FAO and Future Food Institute with the collaboration of the Italian PRIMA Secretariat. The initiative involved about 70 participants (including university students, researchers, teachers, and innovators) from all over the world, distributed on six thematic tables corresponding to as many Sustainable Development Goals (2, 4, 5, 11, 12 and 13) and committed to proposing innovative and concrete ideas in response to the challenges of sustainability.
The awards, given in the presence of the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Emanuela Del Re, the Director General of International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi, and the Deputy Director General of the FAO Technical Cooperation Department, Roberto Ridolfi, were assigned to three projects related to Objectives 2, 4 and 13*, selected by the members of a jury composed of a representative of the Italian PRIMA Secretariat. The rapporteurs of the three winning projects were also granted three scholarships to attend the Future Food Institute “Future Food for Climate Change” learning program, developed together with FAO e-learning center and supported by UN and Youth Climate Leaders Network among others. The related Summer Schools will train “climate shapers” in New York (USA), in Tokyo (Japan) and in Iceland.
The three days at EXCO2019 have confirmed the role of PRIMA as a leading player in research, innovation and sustainable development and emphasized the specificities of the partnership: the focus on the Mediterranean region, the constant commitment in the agri-food sector and the mission to establish more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies.
* Mwape K. Mubukwanu, Objective 2, who presented a project focused on sustainable nutrition in Zambia; Manfredi Valeriani, Objective 4, with a digital storytelling platform named “Luisa” (in honor of Luisa Guidotti Mistrali, missionary and doctor who died in Zimbabwe) to learn about Agenda 2030 through a storytelling process, and Eliot Gee, Objective 13, who illustrated a digital platform that connects farmers with scientists with the aim of fighting climate change.
The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area will devise new R&I approaches to improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in a region heavily distressed by climate change, urbanisation and population growth
The PRIMA programme is an Art.185 initiative supported and funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.