- More than 7000 participants gathered at the third Edition of the World Youth Forum in Egypt, where the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, attended the closing session and commended youth on their crucial role in shaping the future of the region.
- In a unique partnership, the World Youth Forum hosted the first-ever Model Union for the Mediterranean, where 90 young delegates drafted ministerial declarations to address pressing issues such as youth unemployment and the impact of climate change and called for a stronger regional cooperation.
- The UfM collaborated with the World Youth Forum and interacted with key actors promoting the role of young people in societies across the Euro-Mediterranean region.
16 December 2019, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The first Model UfM, which took place at the third edition of the World Youth Forum, engaged over 90 young people of 43 different nationalities from around the globe, allowing them to exchange views and recommend initiatives to decision-makers and influential figures. The event was attended by a wide range of participants that debated key topics for their generation around the globe namely employment and climate change, in a simulation of UfM Ministerial Conferences.
The topics covered during the forum are considered transversal in all of UfM’s endeavours, as Youth in the MENA region has reached 60% of the population, and the Mediterranean region is warming at an alarming rate of 20% faster than the global average, as presented recently in the first-ever scientific report on the impact of climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean region. The UfM collaborated with the World Youth Forum, and interacted with key actors on youth, with the aim of promoting the role of young people in societies in the Euro-Mediterranean region, as well as to complement the ongoing process to develop the UfM Youth Strategy.
This Model UfM was jointly organised, to not only enable young people to garner a better understanding of the UfM, through its objectives and methodology, but also to enable them to express their views on issues of critical importance for the region.
In the closing statement, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi thanked the participants for their collaborative work and for their recommendations to foster cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region. In line with the youth delegate recommendations of the Model UfM, he reiterated Egypt’s commitment to the development of SME’s and to the protection of environment as a priority for the region, giving the example of the Salt marshes ecosystems in Egypt.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Sameh Shoukri in his speech, congratulated the young participants for their commitment and valuable contributions to the policy areas tackled in the Model UfM.
UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel emphasised: “I can only commend this ambitious initiative to engage young people from all over the world in such a forum organized for youth by youth. At the UfM, we believe that youth participation in decision-making processes is of paramount importance to shaping new effective ways to tackle the most pressing challenges in our region, and to identify new priorities for action.”
In their Declaration on Environment & Climate Change, the youth delegates voiced the need of better regional cooperation and integration to tackle climate change by providing opportunities for the development of a circular economic model as well as blue and green financing. In line with this, they called for better training for the younger generations that will take into account the constraints imposed by climate change for the region. Fostering innovation and building a regional partnership to develop agriculture in order to mitigate climate change was another priority put forward as well as concrete proposals to better manage recycling and plastic reduction.
In the Declaration on Employment & Labour, youth delegates stressed the urgent need to create jobs for women and youth, foster entrepreneurship and develop cross-border projects in the Mediterranean, in order to equip youth with the future skills that will be required in the time of technological innovation and a rapidly changing job market. They called for more resources to develop and support start-ups and to help young entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.
This Model UfM allowed participants to appreciate the importance of building consensus in a region that has great potential for integration, and to know more about the architecture of building mutual understanding across the shores of the Mediterranean.