During his lifetime, Professor Scarascia Mugnozza contributed significantly to the field of population genetics, his research ranging from wheat breeding in arid and semi-arid regions, to the conservation of forest ecosystems. He promoted regional networks across the Mediterranean, linking science and policy at national and international levels, focusing on the conservation and sustainable use of genetic diversity. In addition, he worked intensely on improvement of knowledge bases, raising awareness on how research could inform international agreements, and thus lead to evidence-based policies. The loss of biodiversity and the resulting implications for environmental, socio-economic, political, and ethical management of plant genetic resources were of major concern, and he highlighted the absolute necessity for conservation of genetic diversity, stressing the importance of building positive feedback linkages among ex situ, in situ, on-farm conservation strategies, and participatory approaches at the community level. His work emphasized the importance of access to diverse plant genetic resources by researchers and farmers, and promoted equitable access to genetic resources through international frameworks. Farmers’ rights, especially those in centres of origin and diversity of cultivated plants, were a key concern for Professor Scarascia Mugnozza, as their access to germplasm needed to be secured as custodians of diversity and the knowledge of how to use these vital resources. Consequently, he promoted the development of North-South cooperation mechanisms and platforms, including technology transfer and the sharing of information of how to maintain and use genetic resources sustainably.
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