UFM Regional conference titled “Shared Views on key issues in the Mediterranean - press photo
CAIRO - 25 May 2019: The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) hosted a regional conference titled “Shared Views on key issues in the Mediterranean,” where more than 100 civil society representatives address environmental, educational, societal and economic challenges faced by the Euro-Mediterranean region, and proposed solutions.
The conference was held in collaboration with the Instituto de la Juventud (InJuve), the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
With over 60% of its population under the age of 30, the Euro-Mediterranean is one of the youngest regions in the world. The UfM has therefore placed youth at the heart of its actions, focusing on building a positive agenda for youth in the Mediterranean and engaging young people as full partners in its activities.
The discussions held during the Regional Dialogue and the recommendations and project proposals drawn from the exchanges will feed the UfM Strategy for Youth and will also be presented as suggestions and project proposals to contribute to the Marseille Summit of the Two Shores (24 June 2019) by putting forward the views of youth and civil society of all UfM countries on key priorities for the region.
“This Regional Dialogue serves as a stepping stone towards proposing more aligned and impactful initiatives in the Mediterranean, which will adequately address environmental, social and economic challenges”, said UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel. “We must continue to act together to truly deliver on our commitments and amplify our results. Our goal through this Forum, is to combine the efforts of the 5+5 Dialogue with broader regional efforts while putting forward the views of our future generations”, he added.
The exchanges over the course of the two-day forum served to establish the following action areas:
Environment, Water, Energy and Sustainable development
The urgency of action in the face of climate change and environmental degradation in the region as well as the need to engage youth in these vital issues for their future, was a central theme of the Regional Dialogue. Challenges and solutions for inclusive and sustainable development were discussed during the Roundtable on Environment, Water, and Energy and Sustainable development. Regional youth and civil society representatives active in the fields of water, renewables, environment, blue economy and climate action, discussed the possibilities afforded to the Mediterranean region for the development of a circular economy applied to the green and blue dimensions, the sustainable management of water and sanitation, and the advent of renewable energy and climate action in the frame of the energy transition.
Youth Employment and Social economy and inclusion of youth and women
The UfM’s mission to address issues of youth unemployment and reduce gender inequalities in the region was addressed during the Roundtable on Regional Economic and Social Challenges for Women and Youth. This panel was jointly organized by the OECD, and included presentations from relevant civil society organizations active in the fields of job creation, skills development, socio-economic empowerment, inclusive growth and entrepreneurship promotion.
Ensuring that youth and women are further integrated into the region’s economy as a whole was the focus of this Roundtable, which addressed two main themes: Partnering with the Youth for Job Creation and Social Economy and inclusion of youth and women. The panel’s agenda centred on how best to harness the region’s potential, in terms of greater integration of women and youth into national economies. Indeed, the potential increase in the region’s Gross Domestic Product if youth unemployment is reduced by half, is over 20 billion euros in the short-term.
The importance of education, and its ability to empower the region’s women and youth, was the key theme discussed in the Roundtable on Rethinking education: An opportunity for strengthening youth and women’s empowerment. It is undeniable that greater access of all to quality education in the region is a requisite to meet the objectives of inclusive sustainable development and addressing societal challenges.
Moreover, ensuring that the educational systems adapt to better prepare the region’s youth the mutations and disruptive forces that are restructuring the job market.
The panel gathered the insights of relevant regional youth and civil society representatives active in the fields of education, youth and women empowerment to address educational challenges at the Mediterranean level. This included interventions on: New learning paradigms in a comprehensive approach to education, Specific challenges faced by vocational training, and Women and Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education (STEM).