30% youth unemployment, labour market participation by only 25% of women, water scarcity impacting 118 million people and weak regional and economic integration. The Mediterranean basin, which benefits from an incomparable natural beauty, cultural diversity and passionate History, faces numerous and complex socio-economic issues. To take up the challenge in a regional collaborative approach, the Union for the Mediterranean was created.
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) aims to “enhance regional cooperation, dialogue and the implementation of concrete projects and initiatives with tangible impact on (its) citizens”, through an action-driven methodology. UfM’s political framework consists of Ministerial and governmental representatives’ meetings that determine the priorities and build up a common regional agenda.
The UfM Regional Forum gathers every year the 43 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member countries. The scope, the objective and the means of the common agenda are adopted by consensus. Sectorial ministerial meetings then take over to effectively implement the major orientations.
The Regional Dialogue Platforms remain the operational lever of the UfM
The Union for the Mediterranean is just over 10 years old. To date, the Union is involved in “only” 50 region-wide cooperation projects in sustainable development, urban infrastructure, capacity building, gender equality, entrepreneurship and job creation, which gives us an average of 5 projects a year.
The 3rd UfM Regional Forum, which is set to take place on 8 October in Barcelona, will gather Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states to take stock of the past ten years and discuss the means to make the cooperation reach the next level. The Regional Dialogue Platforms are expected to be at heart of the debate, as they remain the UfM’s main operational lever.
They have involved a cooperative network of over 25 000 stakeholders from around the Mediterranean (governments, local authorities, international and regional organisations, universities, Think Thanks, civil society, private sector, etc.). “We have a solid base to capitalise on, as we further expand the spectrum of our activities, create new synergies and partnerships and consolidate our role as a platform of regional dialogue”, said the designated UfM’s Secretary General.
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