Barcelona, 17 October. The Senior Officials of the 43 UfM Member countries met for the third time this year in Madrid, in a meeting hosted by the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), under the co-chairmanship of the UfM Co-Presidency. The Director General for the Maghreb, Mediterranean and Middle East at MAEC, Ms. Eva Martinez, gave a keynote address before opening the floor to discussions on the region’s political issues, namely the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), Syria and Libya.
The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was also the occasion to exchange information on activities and initiatives launched by the UfM Secretariat in the last quarter of 2017. Updates on the UfM Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment, which will take place on 27 November in Cairo, were shared and will be followed by ad-Hoc meeting organised in Madrid on 17 October to finalise the preparations for the Conference. This Ministerial meeting will be the fourth in 2017, with the second UfM Regional Forum (meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs), the UfM Ministerial Conference on Water and on Sustainable Urban Development, which took place respectively on 23 January, 27 April and 21 May 2017.
Furthermore, three High-Level conferences and policy dialogue platforms will be organised by the UfM Secretariat in autumn 2017, as a direct follow-up of the Ministerial meetings held in recent years: the first UfM Energy and Climate Business Forum (18 October 2017, Cairo), which will bring together representatives of governments, businesses and the financial sector to identify innovative cooperation opportunities in the energy sector; the UfM Regional Platform on Sustainable Urban Development (November 2017, Brussels), that will discuss the operational steps to be taken to implement the UfM Urban Agenda; and the UfM Regional Stakeholder Conference on Blue Economy (29-30 November 2017, Naples), which will aim to provide a regional platform for discussing opportunities and challenges inherent to the promotion of blue economy in the Mediterranean.
Senior Officials have also agreed on the labelling of three new projects, SIEMed, Incorpora and Translogmed (projects descriptions available below), bringing the total number of UfM-labelled projects to 50. These region-wide cooperation projects fall within the mandate of the UfM to foster human development, promote stability and enhance regional integration in the Mediterranean region, by addressing the root-causes of the pressing socio-economic challenges faced. The UfM Secretariat also presented one new project: Med Coasts for Blue Growth (MEDCOAST4BG), with a view of its future labelling by the Member-States.
Brief Summary of the three new UfM-labelled projects:
- Coordination of SIEMed network (Support for Entrepreneurial Initiatives in the Mediterranean): This three-year project involving Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, France, Lebanon, and Egypt, aims at developing the work of a recently created network of associations, SIEMed, to support entrepreneurship and SMEs in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The project will enhance a North-South and South-South partnership including more than 50 public and private structures supporting and accompanying the creation of companies and employment in the Mediterranean. The project is promoted by Agence pour la Coopération Internationale et le développement local en Méditerranée (ACIM).
- Incorpora: This project aims to facilitate access to employment to vulnerable people in the Mediterranean region, by taking stock of previous successful experiences of the Incorpora Program, a socio-occupational integration program established in Spain, Poland, Hungary and Morocco, through new activities in Tunisia and amplification of its activities in Morocco. The project will be implemented by La Caixa Banking Foundation, within the framework of the Med Confederation, and counts on the collaboration of the Caisse de Dépôt et de Consignations (CDC).
- Translogmed: This five-year project involving Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Jordan aims at contributing to the establishment of an efficient, interoperable and sustainable transport infrastructure network in the Mediterranean region. Translogmed is an industry-led capacity building project of regional scope, which focuses on multimodal training and knowledge transfer actions to support the implementation of sustainable transport chains and intermodal solutions, as well as at the development of the Motorways of the Sea services. The project is promoted by the European School of Short Sea Shipping.