ACM Foundation at UfM Reg Conference | Youth and civil society commit to strengthening practical cooperation and development in the Mediterranean

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  • The ACM Foundation met with more than 100 engaged representatives of the civil society, youth organisations and non-state actors from the Euro-Mediterranean región in Barcelona to discuss the most pressing challenges faced by the region.
  • ACM Foundation president, Vicent Garcés intervened in the plenary session remembering that the future of the young people and women of the western and eastern Mediterranean are indissolubly united and related to peace, human rights, social justice and mobility.
  • The ACM Foundation is preparing its 8th Annual Meeting on challenges for the Youth in Mediterranean that has been exposed at the Regional Conference. 
  • The recommendations and project proposals drawn from the exchanges will feed the UfM Strategy for Youth and will contribute to the Summit of the Two Shores’ (“Sommet des Deux rives”)[i] debates by putting forward the views of the youth and civil society from the entire region.

On 22-23 May 2019 in Barcelona, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) hosted the Regional Conference “Shared Views on key issues in the Mediterranean” 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).  The conference brought together more than 100 representatives of the civil society and youth organisations to discuss how to best address environmental, educational, societal and economic challenges faced by the Euro-Mediterranean region and propose recommendations to foster more aligned cooperation amongst the region’s countries.

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.

Rethinking Education

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).

 

[i] [i] The “Sommet des Deux Rives” (Summit of the Two Shores) will be held in Marseille on 24 June 2019, hosted by the President of the French Republic. The Summit will consist of both a meeting of Heads of State and Government from the Western Mediterranean countries, and a regional dialogue with prominent civil society representatives. This initiative seeks to foster a pragmatic regional socio-political exchange in order to showcase and launch specific projects in the region. The UfM will be a key partner of the Summit in its role of platform for regional cooperation, bringing together all the European Union and Mediterranean countries.