Getting started and thriving despite the obstacles: ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM kick-off meeting
On last Wednesday, 3rd June 2020 we held ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM online kick-off meeting. One of the big highlights of the session was the high level of attendance: 85 people, which manifested how important is the agriculture for the region and also emphasized how easy it is to spread the word and connect with stakeholders in digital spaces.
The opening remarks were made by His Excellency Dr. Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, Minister of Environment and Agriculture and Mr. Omar Abu Eid, representative of the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Jordan, both highlighted the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation over the years, putting a special emphasis on the influence of having solid regional economic clusters to endure the virus’s impact and to create long term prosperity for all.
After, Eng. Natheer Al-Bdour from the Organic Agriculture Division of the Ministry of Agriculture of Jordan, Lead Partner, welcomed us all to the meeting. Followed by Dr. Esmat Al Karadsheh, ENI CBC MED Programme Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office Coordinator and representative of the Managing Authority, who made a review about how the ENI CBC Programme has adapted to the pandemic scenario and its strategic role in regards employment creation and economic relief in the Mediterranean region. Then, Dr. Esmat covered other aspects of different procedures and administrative rules on procurement, communication, and accounting.
Thereafter the programme elements were revised, we all jumped into the technical aspects of the project. The project management (WP1) and the communication (WP2), which were presented by Hala Al-Twait from the Ministry of Agriculture of Jordan and Diana Truyol from the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce respectively. Here, we highlight the importance of having consistency in communications and getting stakeholders involved in the ecosystem.
Stakeholders such as press, researchers, SMEs, etc.. were invited to join after the morning break. The attendance succeeded our expectations, 160 people joined the meeting in the first place, but after having some technical issues we ended up with 85 attendees. In this session, we learned more about the project’s expected outcomes and discovered the roadmap to achieve these goals.
During the afternoon session, we enjoyed the presentation by Lina Albitar from CIHEAM Bari who explained the steps on the establishment of the cross-border Organic Ecosystem, secondly Said Gedeon from the Chamber of Commerce, industry, and Agriculture of Zahle and the Bekaa talked about WP4 and the creation of innovative value chain, and Abdelrahman Ghaith from the Jordan Exporters and Producers Association for Fruit and Vegetables discussed the importance of the business alliances for the success of the project and the organic ecosystem.
Then, we had the chance to hear from other European cooperation projects with shared approaches like MOAN (Mediterranean Organic Agriculture Network) in which ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM is based, Apulia Region-BioBank, and FISH MED NET. After these presentations, we opened up the floor to stakeholders’ questions and comments which made the session particularly interesting for all, as it helped us to understand their interests and concerns much better.
At the end of the meeting, we were pleased to present the “ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM Executive Agreement”, a document signed by the project partners as proof of their commitment and willingness to fostering an organic agriculture business environment across the Mediterranean region. It is expected that throughout the project’s years many other stakeholders will sign the “ORGANIC ECOSYSTEM Executive Agreement” building up an extensive and long-lasting frame for organic agriculture to flourish in the Mediterranean.