New York, 22 September. The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Nasser Kamel, participated in the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA73), between the 22/27 September 2018, to highlight the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean region to the development of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the role of the UfM in its regional promotion and implementation.
The UfM promoted a positive agenda for the Mediterranean. Under the leadership of its Co-Presidency, held by the EU and Jordan, with the active involvement of its 43 Member States, the UfM builds on the huge potential of the region. On the course of the week, the Secretary General participated in events related to the UfM main sectors of activity in terms of policy dialogue and cooperation. Current challenges of human development in the Euro-Mediterranean region, namely those related to the situation of migrants and refugees, as well as the need to promote a culture of tolerance and the necessary socio-economic perspectives for our peoples, were addressed in a number of events in which the Secretary General participated, including side-events on ’ Education on emergency situations’, on ’New Perspectives for Countering Violent Extremism’ and ’Desmystifying the narrative of the so-called ISIL’, the ‘High-Level event on the Syrian Conflict’ or the ‘13th Ministerial dinner on the Middle East’, as well as the participation in the meeting of focal-points of the ‘Women, Peace and Security’ initiative and the Ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
The work that the UfM is developing for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean was also highlighted in events like the initiative to counter the ’Pollution caused by plastics in the Oceans’, where the Secretary General shared some of the projects developed and supported by the UfM including the SwitchMedConnect initiative and the recently launched Plastic Busters MPAs for the depollution of the Mediterranean Sea.
The presence of the Secretary General in New York was the occasion to meet with partner institutions and other stakeholders of the Euro-Mediterranean region, with whom the UfM is cooperating and creating synergies in order to promote a positive agenda for the Mediterranean. These contacts included meetings at the highest level with the UNDP, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, the International Labour Organization, the Arab League, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change or the Special Envoy of the UNSG for the Oceans.
The Secretary General also took the opportunity to meet a significant number of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the UfM member-countries, with whom he had the opportunity to discuss questions of regional interest and advance in the preparation of the upcoming 3rd Regional Forum of the UfM, that will be held in its siege in Barcelona on the 8th of October 2018.
The UN General Assembly granted the UfM observer status to the United Nations in 2015. Some of the UfM flagship initiatives and projects specifically targeting young people are:
- Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (Med4Jobs)
- Forming Responsible Citizens: promoting citizenship education to prevent school violence, particularly against girls and women
- New Chance Mediterranean Network – MedNC
- Euro-Mediterranean University of Fes
- HOMERe – High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment