Passing away of Cosimo Lacirignola, Secretary General of the CIHEAM and dedicated advocate of cooperation in the Mediterranean
(31st May 1957 – 2nd January 2018)
Staunch advocate of cooperation in the Mediterranean and of North-South dialogue, since 2013 Cosimo Lacirignola was Secretary General of the CIHEAM, an intergovernmental organization founded at the behest of Ramón Esteruelas Rolando in 1962 and headquartered in Paris (France). Cosimo Lacirignola graduated as an agricultural engineer and began his professional career in the European Commission before becoming head of the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari from 1987 until 2016. This institute is one of the 4 CIHEAM Institutes which, together with those in Zaragoza (Spain), Montpellier (France) and Chania (Greece), make up one of the main agro-food cooperation networks in the Mediterranean.
In the words of Graziano Silva, FAO Director General, Cosimo Lacirignola was a “strong advocate of peace and the fight against hunger”, as well as the sharing of knowledge between both sides of the Mediterranean, particularly among the younger generations, always striving to foster multilateral cooperation, agricultural and scientific diplomacy and political dialogue at the service of the Mediterranean.
Today, his vision, his vocation and his enthusiasm are reflected in the CIHEAM Action Plan for the Mediterranean (CAPMED 2025), an ambitious plan which aims at reinforcing the capacity of all the actors in the agro-food sector and the development of rural areas. He considered CAPMED a priority at a time when natural hazards and food crises, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and scarcity of energy, land and water are threatening the Mediterranean region, home to 10 % of the world’s population.
Convinced of the importance of food and agriculture for the achievement of peace and stability, he was actively involved in improving the sharing of knowledge and good practices through the building of open knowledge platforms. Furthermore, he was a tireless ambassador of the “Mediterranean Diet” and of the struggle against waste, particularly the kind which affects traditional agricultural knowhow and human talent. As an author, researcher and lecturer, Cosimo Lacirignola constantly focused his attention on the challenges of agriculture, food and fisheries in the Mediterranean, working hard to involve young people in these sectors.
Born in San Pietro Vernotico, in the Apulia region of Italy, Cosimo Lacirignola was married and father of three children. He was appointed Commander of Merit of the Italian Republic, Commander of the Cedar National Order of the Republic of Lebanon and Laurea Honoris Causa of the Agricultural University of Tirana, Albania.
His colleagues at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza will always remember his smile, his dreams, his vision and his perseverance in enhancing dialogue and cooperation between the North and South of the Mediterranean. Rest in peace.