- The 2nd UfM Ministerial Conference on Transport took place online on 9 February 2023. A new Regional Transport Action Plan was endorsed by the UfM Ministers, that will reinvigorate multilateral cooperation in this sector until 2027 and unlock an important potential in the economic and social development in the region in the years ahead.
- Transport is a vital “enabler” in sustainable development, with transport-related targets included in eight out of the seventeen SDGs. Transport is also a multiplier in the economic development of any country and an important component of regional integration in the Mediterranean.
Barcelona, 9 February 2023. On the occasion of the 2nd Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Transport, Ministers reaffirmed their continued collective political support to developing a safe, secure, sustainable, efficient and connected transport system based on harmonized transport rules and standards, as well as an integrated multimodal trans-Mediterranean transport network. Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of the connectivity among the Southern Mediterranean countries, between these countries and the EU and towards inner Africa and Asia.
The Ministerial Declaration on Transport, the Evaluation Report of Regional Transport Action Plan 2014-2020 and the new Regional Transport Action Plan 2021-2027 adopted at the Ministerial Conference, will provide collective political momentum to these key goals. The UfM Regional Platform on Transport Connectivity, as well as the EU-funded projects in this field, have been serving as an efficient framework of dialogue and exchange of expertise. The UfM-supported project LOGISMED-Training Activities for instance, promoted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and implemented in five Southern Mediterranean countries in 2013-18, helped improve local workforce qualifications in the logistics sector, boosting transport and logistics in the Mediterranean. The UfM Platform will monitor the implementation of the new regional action plan in the years to come.
Ministers welcomed the work carried out and acknowledged the progress achieved in fulfilling the objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the sector, as defined at the previous Ministerial Conference on Transport in 2013. They also stressed the importance of mobilising all available funds in a coordinated manner, all while addressing the resilience of sustainable transport systems to climate change. In particular, their joint Declaration recommends the continuation of regional transport cooperation in these areas:
- Maritime transport: notably, improvements in port efficiency to work towards climate-neutrality; the provision and use of maritime safety and security services, such as access to the Maritime Knowledge Centre; full decarbonisation by 2050 and the entry into force by 2025 of a Mediterranean Emission Control Area.
- Land transport: particularly, the development of the ‘EuroMed Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Strategic Plan’ and ‘Preliminary ITS Architecture’; compensating for the discrepancies between national statistics on road deaths; the implementation and optimization of safety management systems of railway operators and infrastructure managers.
- Air transport: including the implementation of three Euro-Mediterranean aviation agreements; enhancement of security procedures, particularly for passenger and baggage screening; the development of innovative solutions, through continued cooperation on Global Navigation Satellite Systems.
- Connectivity Network in the Mediterranean: including the draft maps of the UfM members of the network, a regional database and a set of reliable geographical locations for the Mediterranean regions based on data from the Transport Ministries, as well as continuous training in the logistics professions.
The Ministerial Conference was co-chaired by the UfM Co-Presidency of the European Union, represented by the European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, and of Jordan, represented by its Minister of Transport Maher Hamdi Abuelsamen, in the presence of the UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel.
The European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vãlean, stressed: “Today’s adoption of the Ministerial Declaration and the new Regional Transport Action Plan represents a major step forward for transport cooperation in the Mediterranean region. The joint actions agreed today within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean are extremely important. They provide essential milestones until 2027, along our path towards a safe, secure, sustainable, efficient, and connected Mediterranean transport system. The European Union will continue to support its Mediterranean partners’ national transport strategies and regional transport cooperation. Today, all Mediterranean partners confirmed their political commitment to a regional vision, dialogue, and partnership. Actions speak louder than words and now it is time to implement for the benefit of our Mediterranean region!”
The Minister of Transport of Jordan, Maher Hamdi Abuelsamen, declared: “This important declaration confirms the outputs and conclusions of the previous ministerial conference, held in Brussels in 2013, and provides a clear vision for the sustainable and integrated development of the various transport sectors through the implementation of the regional action plan and the Mediterranean connectivity network”.
The UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, emphasized: “The overall aim of the UfM’s transport portfolio is to help develop an integrated, efficient, sustainable and resilient, as well as more inclusive, transport system in the region, with the ultimate goal of achieving deeper regional integration. This Ministerial Conference provides further collective political momentum and support to these key goals, and encourages the continuation of this positive multilateral cooperation on transport, at both the technical and political levels. In this context, the new Regional Transport Action Plan will unlock an important potential in the economic and social development of the region in the years ahead”.