8 April 2019, Algiers. The UfM, represented by the Senior Deputy Secretary General for Energy, Jorge Borrego, and Senior Expert Fawzi Dib, participated in Algiers in the first thematic forum leading to the Summit of the Two Shores (S2R) to be held in Marseille next June, as convened by the French President Emmanuel Macron last summer. This thematic forum was held on the 8 of April and focused on energy, with emphasis on energy transition, renewable energy and energy efficiency, electric interconnections, conventional energy sources, and the digitalization of the energy sector. Civil society representatives contributed to debates by proposing several initiatives and projects that aim to enhance regional cooperation, and accelerate integration efforts in the region.
During his opening remarks, the Algerian Minister of Energy Mohamed Arkab underlined the importance of the S2R initiative, which constitutes a good opportunity to further enhance regional cooperation in the Mediterranean. Minister Arkab stated that the Euro-Mediterranean area, especially its western shore, represents an important crossroad in terms of energy production and transit and a region rife with a great potential for complementary initiatives. Such opportunities dictate the need of close partnerships between both shores of the Mediterranean in view of the success of the energy transition in the region. Minister Arkab also encouraged the participants to actively engage in defining concrete and inclusive project proposals that could be supported by the partners of this initiative.
UfM Senior Deputy Secretary General Borrego highlighted UfM’s commitment to energy transition, renewable energy and energy efficiency, recalling UfM endeavours in the context of its three Energy Platforms. He added that not only are regional political dialogues essentials to the development and integration of energy markets, but also to tackle the challenges of climate change in the Mediterranean. The UfM Secretariat has launched several initiatives to support such transition through several frameworks, including the UfM labelled project “SEMed Private Renewable Energy Framework” (SPREF). This comes at a time when urgent action, as the lower threshold for average temperature increase of 1.5 degree Celsius, established by the Paris Agreement, has already been exceeded in the Mediterranean.
The active participation of the UfM in the first thematic forum of the Summit of Two Shores, hosted by Algiers, reflects its institutional commitment towards promoting regional dialogue, and reaffirms its ambitions towards streamlining regional Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. The Summit of the Two Shores is a welcome initiative launched by France which will strengthen further collective engagement on Euro-Mediterranean integration, and paves the way to a constructive dialogue aiming to enhance regional cooperation in the region.
As such, the UfM, with its unique institutional structure and accumulated experience on regional cooperation, is actively engaged in coordinating efforts towards the S2R Summit, which is due to be held in Marseilles on June 24. In this regard, the UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel, had stressed earlier in an intervention in Marseille that “the best way to collectively strengthen our Mediterranean policy framework is to take advantage of existing institutions and relevant expertise established over the past few years to jointly build, hand in hand, a new dynamism capable of fulfilling all expectations and meeting all hopes”. In an effort to support dialogue in the context of the S2R, the UfM is currently organizing the regional dialogue forum under the title “Shared views on key issues in the Mediterranean” on the 22 and the 23 of May 2019 in Barcelona. This event seeks to gather the valuable insights of youth representatives, civil society and non-state actors on current issues in the Mediterranean.
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