Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

CMI cultivates the partnership approach

Written by With CMI on Monday, October 29th 2012 à 14:05 | Read 528 times

Six Mediterranean countries (Egypt, France, Jordan , Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia), the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the City of Marseille, joined to create, in just two years the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI). The spirit of partnership is thus at the heart of the CMI since states and public institutions sit at the Oversight Committee of the Center and many cooperations with think tanks, local governments, private sector or academia are established at program level.

CMI cultivates the partnership approach
The partnership approach and regional dimension are at the core of the two main pillars of the Center: better knowledge (knowledge generation; knowledge sharing; joint learning) and greater integration (of both rims of the Mediterranean; of selected actors; and of technical areas). 

Since the launching of the Center, several structural cooperation agreements have been signed and have translated into operational partnership in such fields as urban development, climate change, water and the knowledge economy. 

Sharing knowledge is one of the mandate of the Center and has found concrete expression through a number of cooperation agreements. As a network among networks, CMI is well placed to link and collaborate with complementary initiatives or institutions. Following consolidation, CMI has, over the past months, established strategic ties with key partners. 

In spring 2011, the CMI contributed to and facilitated the launching of the Office for Economic Cooperation for the Mediterranean and the East (OCEMO), which main objective is to connect academics and civil society networks. Thanks to its founding members (mostly FEMISE, ANIMA and the French Caisse des Depots), OCEMO reaches out to more than 300 researchers from the North and the South of the Mediterranean and to members of civil society. CMI established a strategic partnership with OCEMO and welcomed the OCEMO team on the premises of the Villa Valmer.  As declared by Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Co-Chair of the CMI Strategic Council and President of OCEMO: “Institutions and States are managing to work together in the Center for Mediterranean Integration (CMI).  And it’s a success! The CMI brings together institutional investors. The OCEMO will do the same with representatives of civil society”. 

The Union for the Mediterranean is a regional initiative and political forum of 43 States of the Euro-Mediterranean region. Building on their six technical areas, both the UfM and the CMI are highly complementary. Hence, the UfM Secretariat based in Barcelona and the CMI have signed a technical cooperation on October 14, 2011. The common overarching objective is to improve regional integration by strengthening expertise networks, developing knowledge in selected areas of shared interest and building capacities at national and local levels.  The areas of collaboration will first focus on urban development as well as water and environment but also transport, higher education and business development. 

In the same vein, the CMI is partnering with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO). It signed on October 27, 2011, during the UNESCO’s 9th General Assembly, a Memorandum of Understanding spelling out areas of joint collaboration. The work program between CMI and ISESCO will build around knowledge economy and environment in 2012 and on urban development, climate change and possibly labor mobility in 2013.  The recognized expertise of the Center in these fields and the mandate and skills of ISESCO will hopefully be the basis of a fruitful partnership. 

The field of technical cooperation is also pursued with the Amman Institute for Urban Development (Ai) regarded as a major regional ‘Think and Do Tank’ addressing issues such as urban governance, community planning and sustainable development. Partnering with Centers of technical expertise located in the Southern Mediterranean is a true asset for the CMI as it opens new opportunities and creates new communities of practice. The technical cooperation was officialised on September 5, 2011 and has already started materializing through the implementation of a climate change adaptation plan for Amman. 

In June 2011, at the request of the Tunisian government, the CMI coordinated a workshop on social measures in Tunisia, alongside the AFD.  Responding to the emergency demanded by the socio-economic context, the Centre is launching a new program devoted to social protection mechanisms.  Emergency social measures are essential to answer the challenge of successful transitions. It is also true about developing a private competitive sector that generates jobs.  The latter is the subject of the cooperation CMI has recently established with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has just opened its mandate to the MENA region. The EBRD is entering the region and partnering with CMI for a cycle of conferences in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, entitled “Transition to Transition”.  The aim is to draw on the lessons learned in Central and Eastern Europe to make growth more dynamic and more just and benefit the above-mentioned countries which are undergoing dramatic transformations in the aftermath of the Arab spring. 

Finally, in 2011, the French co-presidency of the G8 led to many initiatives and opportunities for the Center, especially with the new Deauville Partnershipframework. Under the G8 Broader MENA initiative linking civil society organizations of the region, the CMI was asked to prepare the second regional workshop on social and economic transformations in the MENA region which took place on June 6-7 2011. The CMI organized and facilitated the two-day workshop which led to 36 recommendations in the following three streams: (i) empowerment; (ii) employment and entrepreneurship; (iii) and regional integration. The latter were presented and discussed during the G8 BMENA Ministerial Meeting in Kuwait on November 21-22, 2011. In addition, the Center launched a series of Informal Dialogues with Leading Economists on strategic economic issues for the region. In parallel of the second Informal Dialogue of September 10, 2011, the G8 Finance Ministers meeting tasked the CMI to conduct an analytical report on trade and FDI in order to enhance growth. The report will be coordinated by the CMI, draw expertise from the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and will be delivered early 2012. As noted by Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President of the IDB, “Trade integration is critical to fostering economic development and meeting the current challenges in the Mediterranean region. The Islamic Development Bank has long worked on trade issues and has always emphasized the importance of trade flows in economic development processes. We welcome the new mandate given to the CMI by the Deauville Partnership in this area. That mandate marks the start of a new partnership between the CMI and the IDB.” 

It is for the Center evident that working in synergy or as a network leverage and increase tenfold the work done for the economic development of countries of North Africa and the Middle East and also in these populations.  “In these historic times, we are more than ever called upon to engage in major reforms to make our economies more competitive and innovative. That calling requires a fundamental revision of the nature of the partnership between the two sides of Mediterranean, a partnership that must evolve toward a deeper and more comprehensive integration. That partnership should be based on trade and investment, of course, but it must also be one in which the human dimension and knowledge assume their full importance. As a platform for excellence and competence, the CMI can, I am convinced, stimulate the necessary qualitative change in the human dimension of our relations”, declared Abdelhamid Triki, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in Tunisia, on September 10 at the CMI.

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