Barcelona, 22 February 2017. As a clear signal in support of enhanced regional cooperation and integration in the Mediterranean, the UfM Secretariat and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) have signed a €6.5 million multi-annual financing agreement to deepen and amplify UfM specific cooperation initiatives and core activities promoting regional dialogue. Sida’s support will be focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, within the wider frame of the UfM mandate.
“The Union for the Mediterranean is an action-oriented organisation designed to build and operationalize common agendas in the region. The agreement with Sida is a concrete and substantial contribution to UfM activities and overall regional efforts towards the three strategic objectives of human development, stability and integration. Indeed an example of effective partnership”, underlined UfM Secretary General Fathallah Sijilmassi.
“The region’s social and economic development is hindered by the low level of economic and regional integration. The main focus of our agreement with the UfM Secretariat is to strengthen integration in the Mediterranean by advancing and amplifying UfM regional dialogue and cooperation initiatives on sectors of particular value for the sharing of best practices, fostering dialogue processes and advancing the regional agenda”, said Anders Frankenberg, Sida’s Director of the regional unit for the Middle East and North Africa. The Swedish Development Agency supports a number of activities in the region and has successfully cooperated with the UfM and project partners on issues related to governance and financing as well as on capacity building related to water.
On the occasion of the Second UfM Regional Forum held in January 23-24, 2017, Ministers for Foreign Affairs gave a strong political impulse to the UfM by endorsing a roadmap for action centred on strengthening regional cooperation in the Mediterranean.