8. MCA FOUNDATION MEETING “YOUTH IN MEDITERRANEAN”
Promote the communication based on equality and diversity in intergenerational format and cover all social, economic, cultural, humanitarian and political areas that affect millions of young people in Mediterranean countries. This is the starting point of the action plan outlined in the framework of the VIII MCAF meeting “Youth in Mediterranean” that took place in Barcelona from November 7 to 10.
More than 120 participants from 18 countries and 26 cities in the Mediterranean basin: the MCA Circles from Tirana (Albania), Algiers, Oran (Algeria), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Brussels (Belgium), Nicosia (Cyprus), Zagreb (Croatia), Alexandria, Cairo (Egypt), Barcelona, Valencia (Spain), Nice, Marseille (France), Thessaly (Greece),
Naples, Rome (Italy), Beirut (Lebanon), Casablanca, Larache, Nador, Rabat (Morocco), Podgorica (Montenegro), Ramallah (Palestine) ), Aleppo (Syria), Tunisia (Tunisia), Izmir, Istanbul (Turkey), gathering with participants from Paris or Lyon among others.
The event has been supported by the City Council of Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya, Institut Europeu de la Mediterrània (IEMed) and the Fondation Charles Leopold Mayer pour le Progres de l’Homme (FPH), in addition to Mediterranean institutions such as the Assembly Mediterranean Parliamentarian, MedCités, the ARLEM Euro-Mediterranean
Local and Regional Assembly or the European Economic and Social Committee
The reflections, analyzes and proposals of the Meeting are reflected in the Manifesto of the young people participating in the Meeting and in the Declaration of the MCAF Advisory Council, where it is clearly specified that ‘The Advisory Council is convinced that Mediterranean youth acts to find peaceful and democratic solutions to the problems affecting the region. Therefore, it is directed to the MCAF to develop its reflection axes and its actions to contribute to the emergence of a true awareness of Mediterranean
The Meeting approaches 4 thematic axes, distributed in work agoras around
the following themes: culture and identity; economy, mobility and climate change; empowerment and citizenship, and new technologies and democracy. Topics all of them analyzed by young people with an average age of 34 years in common with experts, representatives of Euro-Mediterranean institutions and civil sector entities in order to make a diagnosis of the situation and present a range of proposals.
MCA Foundation president, Vicent Garcés said that the young people of the Mediterranean know perfectly the realities that live their respective countries. ‘and understand the present challenges they face. From the diversity and taking into account the different circumstances, the youth have expressed their concern for the difficulties facing the future and have shown their desire to lead the social transformation. The common goal is to create a Mediterranean region of peace, security and shared development”. A purpose that fully coincides with the Barcelona Declaration, signed in 1995 and that this year celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Precisely, the Meeting has been held in this framework with the intention of marking the Mediterranean agenda for the coming years and claiming the role of cities and citizenship as international actors in dialogue, cooperation, social cohesion and coexistence in diversity.
The participants of AGORA 1, dedicated to culture and identity, have focused their attention on the current situation of education and have pointed out the weight of the patriarchal roles that are repeated on the two shores of the Mediterranean, violence towards women and racism is increasingly evident. The proposal launched is to create a digital platform in radio or podcast format so that young people in different countries can share content, interests, problems from a commitment to plural and free programming. They proposed that the MCA Foundation and similar entities generate consultation tools on rights and freedoms in Mediterranean countries and institutions, entities and programs for the defense of human rights, or their promotion. It is clearly committed to using new technologies to develop teaching-focused tools that fight stereopties and that rely on a cross-cutting and coordinated type of knowledge in the Mediterranean.
In the area dedicated to the economy, mobility and climate change, encompassed in AGORA 2, the debate focused on multisectoral issues such as the linkage of a neo-liberal economic model, the climate crisis and migration. The shift towards a sustainable economy system is claimed, especially for youth. The proposal is to carry out more awareness actions that, in turn, have an impact on political agendas. Regarding mobility, the debate made clear the need for a change in the shelter and hosting policies model, especially in the developed countries. Many voices of prominent activists such as Touria El Oumri have expressed the specific problem of migrant women, the abuses they suffer and the need for
an international law that protects them and their children.
The working group dedicated to empowerment and citizenship, AGORA 3, underlined the difficulty of young people for acting in political decision-making spaces. The enormous difficulties in having equitable access to public goods, wars and instability that increase the inequality gap, the restriction of freedom of expression and a real alternative for the future. The proposal is the creation of an instance dedicated to Mediterranean youth with coordinated and permanent actions to promote the participation and social activism of millions of young people in the region, as well as the reinforcement of independent media spaces that discuss the issue of youth, with the final purpose of returning the problem that this sector of the population is going through in the political agendas.
The new technologies and democracy addressed in ÁGORA 4 was another focus of analysis and debate. The enormous potential of ICTs for a sector of the population that are digital natives throughout the region was analyzed despite unequal access to these tools. Examples of popular movements were put forward, such as the current uprising in Lebanon or Algeria and the role of young people in the search for changes towards more democratic and egalitarian societies, with social networks as the main coordination and communication tool.
In this sense we hear the voice of experts such as Virginie Lafèvre, who spoke of Lebanon situation and Djamila Jamittu, a human rights activist in Algeria who asked for solidarity and support from other countries to achieve true democracy in her country. From this agora it has been proposed to create an online platform, as an observatory, to permanently monitor the issues that concern the young people of the Mediterranean from the base of the 4 themes outlined in the meeting itself. This digital space could be a continuation of the meeting itself to start developing the projects presented and share new collaborative initiatives.
MEMORY OF THE 8. MEETING
All these proposals and conclusions will become the memory of the 8. MCAF
Meeting and will be widely disseminated at the institutional level throughout the Mediterranean. It will become an important work material for social change that brings improvements to the Mediterranean countries and their people. An action valued very positively by the MCA circles. In the opinion of Ibrahim Spahic, president of the international Center for Peace of Sarajevo, ‘from this meeting we expect the solid cooperation between the Mediterranean peoples to build democratic, diverse, respectful,
integrated and strong societies’. Next February in Sarajevo, The International Center for Peace will award Vicent Garcés, president of the MCA Foundation forhis defence of freedoms and Human Rights, and for the promotion of the Mediterranean
culture and diversity.