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In collaboration with: The Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Injuve.
On 27th August 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a Mediterranean summit penciled for 23rd and 24th June 2019 in Marseille, France: The Summit of the Two Shores of the Western Mediterranean. This high-level meeting will bring together Heads of State/Governments from the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue countries, the European Union, Germany, Mediterranean organizations (Union for the Mediterranean and the Anna Lindh Foundation), international institutions (World Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and one hundred civil society representatives from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
It heralds a new era in the Western Mediterranean and lays down the foundations of a different policy in the region, based on transversal dialogue between political leaderships and civil society voices, paving the way towards a renewed regional cooperation and ultimately a more inclusive Mediterranean. The Summit aspires to achieve this goal through concrete projects and solutions favoring human, economic and sustainable development in the region. It builds upon a far-reaching consultative process through five preparatory fora taking place between January and mid-June 2019. These fora address the main themes of the new Mediterranean agenda and as such the Summit: “Youth, Education and Mobility” (Malta); “Economy and Competitiveness” (Morocco); “Energies” (Algeria); “Environment and Sustainable Development” (Italy); and “Culture, Media and Tourism” (France). Following each forum, a set of recommendations will be formulated and voiced during a pre-Summit forum “The Call of the 100” in Tunis, Tunisia, involving nominated civil society representatives from each of the countries concerned. These reflections and proposals will be shared at the Summit with the Western Mediterranean political leaders to identify the initiatives which require a high priority implementation.
The only mandatory condition for these initiatives and proposals is to be of a regional or multilateral nature. They can include collective actions, tangible projects, suggestions for the formulation of regional public policies. They can call for the establishment of new institutions, for the articulations of new regulations, etc.
Within the framework of the Summit and apart from the official Fora, several other regional events are being held which feed into the process. The UfM-led Regional Dialogue is one of such events.
This Regional Dialogue organized under the title “Shared Views on key Issues in the Mediterranean” gathered more than 100 representatives of civil society, youth organisations and non-state actors from the Euro-Mediterranean, to discuss regional challenges and priorities. Participants jointly proposed recommendations and scenarios to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on key issues in the region, focusing on the following themes: Economy; Energy; Environment and Sustainable Development; Employment and Education; and Women and Girls Empowerment.
The main objective of this event was to gather the valuable insights of youth representatives, civil society and non-state actors on current issues in the Mediterranean. These exchanges can contribute to the analysis of achievements and related challenges and the role different stakeholders play in promoting youth participation and opportunities to develop new projects and initiatives.
The Regional Dialogue kicked off with a presentation of the meeting and its objectives followed by thematic working group sessions presided by a moderator. The second day was dedicated to the organization of a plenary session summarizing the conclusions of the group discussions. Civil society groups from the North and the South worked on developing tangible solutions for the region.
Their reflections and proposed initiatives will be shared with leaders at the Summit of the Two Shores, a high-level Summit that will bring together, on 23-24 June 2019 in Marseille, Heads of State/Governments from the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue countries, the European Union, Germany, Mediterranean organizations (Union for the Mediterranean and the Anna Lindh Foundation), international institutions (World Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and one hundred civil society representatives from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
The conclusions drawn at the end of the Regional Dialogue will be presented as recommendations and proposed initiatives addressed to the 100 stakeholders who will meet on 11-12 June in Tunis to prepare for the Summit. The Regional Dialogue would have thus contributed to the Summit of the Two Shores’ discussion by putting forward the views of youth and civil society in the Union for Mediterranean (UfM) countries.
Operating within the framework of the recently sealed partnership, the Center for the Mediterranean Integration (CMI) has worked closely with the UfM to design, implement and lead two workshops within the Regional Dialogue on "Shared Views on Key Issues in the Mediterranean”, as a strategic partner providing technical expertise.
Workshop 1: Environment, Water, Energy and Sustainable Development
The Mediterranean holds a vast potential for renewable energy production, notably solar energy. The South of the Mediterranean enjoys a greater solar power intake compared to the rest of the region, that can be developed, not only to serve their home market, but also to competitively supply European countries aiming to meet their CO2 reduction objectives. Exploring this new economic avenue could potentially influence future models of development and steer the region towards healthier and more sustainable forms of development, compatible with the preservation and better management of the region’s natural resources.
The Mediterranean region has unique geographical, ecological, geopolitical and cultural features. It is a region particularly sensitive and vulnerable to the deterioration of the environment, due to natural as well as to man-made conditions ranging from water scarcity to growing energy needs and demand coupled with societal challenges that include significant rates of unemployment as well as the need to address migration and refugee issues which affect the whole region.
At the same time there is growing awareness that meeting these challenges presents opportunities as well to influence future models of development and steer the region towards healthier and more sustainable forms of development, compatible with the preservation and better management of our natural resources.
During this workshop, insights of youth representatives, civil society and non-state actors on ways to address these challenges were gathered during 3 consecutive rounds as follows:
Workshop 3: Rethinking Education: An Opportunity for Strengthening Youth and Women’s Empowerment
Today, the Mediterranean region is facing various challenges due to its acute vulnerability to climate change and high youth unemployment. However, vulnerability is not the only feature of the region, the Mediterranean is also full of strengths and untapped potentials. 60% of the region’s population is under the age of the 30 making youth the region’s most valuable asset to ensure stability and increase development. Empowering the Mediterranean youth population and supporting them to reach their full potential is crucial and can only contribute to advancement of the region. Recognition of the vital roles of investing in human capital, rethinking education and learning for youth inclusion is an essential step to take towards achieving this goal.
Quality education is and will remain an indispensable means for guaranteeing both the inclusive sustainable development of nations and addressing societal challenges. As the world is experiencing increasing globalization and substantial technological advances, it has never been so important to invest in people, and in particular in youth and women. In order to meet the changing labor market demands and to compete in the economy of the future, youth need to be equipped with advanced cognitive and socio-behavioral skills as well as professional and vocational training. How can we rethink teaching and learning systems to meet evolving skills demand and rightly prepare Mediterranean youth and women to the regions’ needs of today and tomorrow, empowering them to be fully integrated in society?
This workshop gave the floor to youth representatives, civil society and non-state actors to discuss and propose recommendations addressing the following challenges:
Giulia Marchesini, Senior Partnership officer, Center for Mediterranean Integration, and Emmanuelle Gardan, Head of Sector Higher Education and Research, Union for the Mediterranean will moderate the session
The CMI contributeed to the conclusion of the regional dialogue, alongside key Mediterranean organizations.