- The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)’s 15th anniversary presents an ideal opportunity to take stock of what has been accomplished so far and reflect on the challenges facing the region in the years to come.
- The Ministers of Foreign Affairs from UfM Member States will convene on 27 November in Barcelona to engage in these discussions and explore the future prospects for the organization.
- Despite a turbulent regional and international context over the past 15 years, the UfM has endeavoured to foster exchange and connectivity, promote development and create a space for dialogue across the Mediterranean on issues that concern us all.
July 2023 marks a significant milestone for the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as it celebrates its 15th anniversary. Established in 2008 upon the values and achievements of the Barcelona Process, the UfM emerged from the collective efforts of the leaders of the European Union and neighbouring countries from the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It has since become a vital institutional framework for dialogue and cooperation in the region. Over the past decade and a half, the UfM has worked to drive regional inclusive sustainable development, foster dialogue, and address pressing regional challenges.
Since its inception, the UfM has actively undertaken a diverse range of initiatives aimed at promoting regional inclusive sustainable development and integration. The organization has championed women’s rights, job creation, enhanced connectivity efforts among countries and addressed environmental and climate emergencies. Through its commitment to evidence-based decision-making, the UfM has played a crucial role in equipping policymakers with the necessary tools to promote climate action in the region.
The UfM has also prioritised grant schemes and programmes to encourage entrepreneurship and job opportunities for young people, recognising their crucial role in shaping the region’s future. Furthermore, the organisation is working on a unique instrument to accelerate investments in the blue economy and on the establishment of a regional instrument for civil protection. Embracing the cultural richness of the Euro-Mediterranean region, the UfM has launched, together with the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, new initiatives to celebrate diversity, promote dialogue, and cultivate mutual understanding.
To date, the UfM adds up to more than 60 region-wide cooperation programmes, which have emerged from Agendas agreed upon by UfM countries over more than 30 Ministerial Meetings. UfM-supported projects and initiatives align with the regional priorities set by sectorial ministers and are further developed within various sectorial regional platforms, creating a unique framework of cooperation in the region.
In light of the 15th anniversary, the UfM Co-Presidency and its Member States have initiated a comprehensive reflection on the organisation’s actions over the past 15 years. The aim is to identify areas for improvement, strengthen the UfM, and enhance its ability to promote initiatives and projects on a larger scale. This introspection will ensure that the UfM remains at the forefront of regional cooperation and is better equipped to address future challenges.
The culmination of these discussions will take place at the next Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean, an annual gathering of the UfM Member States’ Foreign Affairs Ministers. The Forum is scheduled to be held on 27 November in Barcelona. Building upon the success of its previous seven editions, the eighth edition of the forum will provide a timely opportunity to review the accomplishments to date and discuss the path forward in fostering inclusive and sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The UfM firmly believes that the immediate future of the region demands collective action, unity, and regional cooperation. As a platform that brings together diverse stakeholders, the UfM will continue to foster dialogue and build consensus on issues requiring coordination at the regional level.
Find concrete successful stories of UfM cooperation in the Anniversary’s website:
Union for the Mediterranean: 15 years of Regional Cooperation