CIHEAM Zaragoza, CIHEAM’s Institute in Spain, was founded in 1969 and is located on the Campus of Aula Dei, one of the most prestigious agriculture and food research campuses in Spain. While the other CIHEAM Institutes (Bari, Chania and Montpellier) share the same foundational objectives and basic operational model, the Institute in Zaragoza has its own unique structural characteristics. The Institute has built an extense network of partners and experts from many countries with a small team of staff specialized in the management of training activities and projects in topics of interest for the member countries of the Organization.
Since its creation over fifty years ago, CIHEAM Zaragoza has become an international reference in the areas of olive growing and oil technology, aquaculture and fisheries, animal and plant breeding, animal nutrition, agro-food marketing, and water management and governance. CIHEAM Zaragoza’s main activities are focused on training, with 8 Masters and a similar number of advanced courses offered each year, and research and innovation projects won through competitive calls. Through this offer and by awarding scholarships to professionals and outstanding students, the Institute fulfils its mission of development cooperation in favour of the Mediterranean countries facing the most difficult challenges in agricultural and food development, as well as other developing countries.
During its fifty year history, the Institute has trained 15,000 students, with the collaboration of 10,000 lecturers, awarded 6700 scholarships, organized 400 advanced courses for professionals, participated in 40 projects and research networks and signed over 60 agreements with national and international universities and organizations. These outcomes have led to widespread recognition and an outstanding reputation in Spain and abroad.
The Institute is currently embarking upon an exciting but challenging future. The needs of the States have changed, as has the foreign agenda that serves as our frame of reference. At present, development cooperation in the Mediterranean in terms of agriculture and food should take into account the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the CIHEAM Strategic Agenda, the new EU policies in the questions addressed by CIHEAM (Biodiversity Strategy, Farm to Fork Strategy, CAP 2023-2027, development cooperation policy, Forest Strategy). Furthermore, we need to work more closely with the younger institutions of Mediterranean scope such as the Union for the Mediterranean, the PRIMA Foundation, and the Center for Mediterranean Integration.
Finally, the environmental, geopolitical and social crises in the world today have a strong impact on the Mediterranean. In this sense, we need to respond urgently to the specific issues of desertification, climate change, water management, energy, food security, capacity-building and physical and human capital, and social and economic development. In order to meet these challenges, CIHEAM is developing a new internal management model and strategic plan to make a more efficient use of resources and move towards a more ambitious cooperation orientation. This focus will allow CIHEAM Zaragoza to strengthen its position as a key player in international agricultural and food cooperation, building and developing capacities that will provide greater value to the Organization and to Spain.
Raúl Compés López
Zaragoza, 7 September 2022