Socio-environmental shocks assessment and resilience empowerment in Mediterranean agri-food heritage systems: Italy, Morocco, Algeria FAO GIAHS sites

Project coordinator:
Dr. Antonio Santoro, University of Florence, Italy

Partner countries:
Morocco, Algeria


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Scientific abstract
Traditional agri-food systems are increasingly receiving attention at international level. This is thanks to their multifunctional role and as examples for alternatives to agricultural models based on maximizing productivity. Traditional agri-food systems developed through the centuries by local communities and are still actively supporting the livelihood of local farmers, providing solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as contributing to the preservation of agro-biodiversity, traditional knowledge and cultural identity. The importance of traditional agri-food systems is recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the establishment of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme. The GIAHS Programme has the aim to identify and preserve worldwide sites characterised by agricultural systems created and managed over time by local communities, that today represent examples of local adaptation and mitigation towards global challenges, contributing to food security and sustainable development of rural communities.

The project will focus on studying three GIAHS sites (in Italy, Morocco and Algeria) applying a multidisciplinary approach to identify the possible social and environmental shocks impacting agri-food heritage systems in the Mediterranean area, linking together landscape structure, climatological studies, social role and biodiversity assessment. Over the centuries, local communities have adapted to challenging environmental conditions such as a dry and hot climate, water scarcity and steep slopes. The selected systems produce for a Mediterranean diet and are still fundamental for the food security of local communities. They have demonstrated to be more resilient towards possible shocks than modern and intensive food systems. The results of the project will lead to the identification of the best practices to be replicated in other GIAHS sites and in other traditional agri-food systems to increase the adaptation and resilience to social and/or environmental systems shocks.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet, traditional agriculture, agricultural heritage, FAO GIAHS, olive oil, date palm, argan

This project is funded by the 2021 joint call of FOSC and SUSFOOD2.


Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Ben Guerir, Morocco

The University of Mohamed Khider Biskra, Biskra, Algeria

Centre de Recherche Scientifique et Technique sur les Régions Arides (C.R.S.T.R.A), Biskra, Algeria

Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco