New solutions for troubling times


The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukrania war have revealed severe shortcomings on globalized agri-food and energy supply chains, raising questions from globalization to security, safety, risk management and resilience.

16th November 2022

17:30 – 19:00

Key words

Energy security, RussiaUkraine war, oil, gas, decarbonisation,
sustainable energy, agrofood system, sustainability, responsible business practices, farming practices, industry standard, cooperation


Europe has no choice but to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas imports, and quickly. For this to happen, Europe must take a closer and fresh look at its neighbours to the South.

Energy security is a key concern. The EU should have alternatives to diversify its supply sources, as well as manage its political and economic risks and limit its dependence on Russian gas. Recent major natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean give the EU the option it is seeking, but also pose new challenges for  governments and international players in the race to exploit the discovered wealth.

Europe and the Mediterranean region have the unique potential to transform and diversify our economy to a decarbonised future, based on resource protection, energy efficiency and renewable  energies.

The Eastern Mediterranean could become one of the main global gas supply areas.  Resources are estimated at 122 trillion cubic feet of gas, plus 1.7 million cubic meters of oil, located off the coasts of Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Palestine.

The overall quantities can justify the enormous costs of a new gas pipeline from the Eastern Mediterranean to Italy and the rest of Europe. From the South there are already pipelines transporting gas from Algeria to the EU.

This is an opportunity for development and growth both for the producing countries and for the EU.

The region’s potential is considerable. In addition to oil and gas, it has a  hydroelectric power system, wind resources and solar radiation that are among the highest in the world, as well as large tracts of  desert. Technically, the region could be a major energy player and meet the needs of part of the planet.

But discoveries of gas fields are stirring the pot of regional turmoil. The absence of a maritime boundary demarcation law and the appetite of other players make for a volatile and highly complicated situation.

Key points for discussion:


  • How can we find the best economic and strategic solutions to optimise operations, mobilise the necessary resources and promote long-term viability?
  • How can the Mediterranean region and EU join forces if they want to take advantage of their resources? 
  • Are the public and private actors in the sector aware of the advantages of a shared vision that will develop energy cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean and promote the construction of a natural gas market in the region?


Achieving a sustainable food future requires meeting three competing needs simultaneously: 1. efficiently closing the food gap; 2. preserving natural resources and climate; while 3. improving the environmental and social impact of agribusiness, also for smallholders.

“Green” and sustainable outcomes are a growing priority. The implementation of green projects requires transfer of know-how and also specific financial instruments.

Employment of skilled-labour is key in the agribusiness sector but clients are slow to adopt technological innovation and operational performance is often impaired by low labour productivity.

Rising food export surpluses and import deficits result in increasing trade polarisation, which is likely to persist. While trade is an essential part of improving food security outcomes, rising deficits create vulnerability to future price volatility.

Growth in regional trade integration and market interconnections encourages the development of comparative advantages and boosts resilience. At the same time, cross-border logistics and transport would contribute to a higher environmental footprint, if uncompensated by efficiency and technology improvements.

Transforming the world’s agri-food systems, the way we produce, process, distribute and consume food has been identified as one of the key avenues to achieve many targets of the 2030 Agenda.

The private sector plays a central role in addressing these challenges; offering innovative tools,  resources, knowledge and technologies that are critical to achieve the second SDG through agri-food systems transformation; adopting more inclusive and resilient practices in their businesses; and  investing in more efficient and sustainable technologies.

Micro, small and medium-sized agri-food enterprises (MSMEs), including start-ups, can play a critical role in achieving food security and eradicating rural poverty, with special emphasis on digital agriculture and youth and women-led businesses.

The challenges for the Mediterranean agribusiness sector will be: to remain competitive, to enhance productivity, to develop effective supply chains, to find access to finance, to foster cross-border trade and improved connectivity, and to be well-governed, resilient, integrated, sustainable and inclusive, enabling women and youth entrepreneurship.

Salvador Illa

Ministry of Health, Government of Spain (Special Guest Speaker)

Enric Mayolas

Consulting Director, World Health Management (Moderator)

Gonzalo Fanjul

Policy Director, Institut Salut Global

Chakib Abouzaid

Secretary General, General Arab Insurance Federation

European Regional Development Fund              A way to make Europe