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The plea for a Mediterranean 2030, roadmap of the Forum of Mediterranean Worlds

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, February 10th 2022 à 15:30 | Read 396 times

Young people, politicians, heads of Euro-Mediterranean institutions discussed together the future of the Mediterranean in Marseille (Photo: F.Dubessy)
Young people, politicians, heads of Euro-Mediterranean institutions discussed together the future of the Mediterranean in Marseille (Photo: F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. The Forum of Mediterranean Worlds in Marseilles came to an end. For two days (7 and 8 February 2022), this event will have had the great merit of giving a voice to civil society and especially to a Mediterranean youth eager to make its voice heard and very proactive. Coming from all around the basin, the young people present were not content to simply express their expectations. They also wanted to propose solutions. The fruit of their reflections is now included in a white paper that has met the expectations set: to become a plea for a Mediterranean 2030. For six months, 200 Mediterraneans under the age of forty gathered in eight working groups* to build this rich 23-page document. It is full of observations - in particular the central one of a more efficient regional governance, more integrated with the territories and citizens - and submits proposals that are as ambitious as they are innovative. And why not write it, always inspiring.

These include the creation of a Bank of the Mediterranean Worlds to "finance public and private projects as well as contribute to the strengthening of regional integration", the emergence of a network and a platform of project leaders in the Mediterranean and "the creation of a more favourable environment for the development of young Mediterranean companies, for a better regionalisation of activities". But also, "the promotion of an inclusive culture for the recognition and enhancement of a plural Mediterranean with common values", "the creation of a label capital of the Mediterranean" (which would be itinerant), the establishment of "Mediterranean exchange offices oriented towards culture and integrating people with disabilities and vulnerable populations", or the "protection of biodiversity by ensuring conservation and stimulating restoration".

"A positive agenda for the Mediterranean"

The content of the white paper was welcomed by Emmanuel Macron on Monday 7 February 2022 in a pre-recorded video. He had planned to come and congratulate them in the Phocaean city. The geopolitical tensions at the border of Ukraine and Russia decided otherwise.

As Karim Amellal, ambassador, inter-ministerial delegate for the Mediterranean at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and head of the Forum, said in an interview with, "civil society has the capacity to drive a positive agenda for the Mediterranean.

The three announcements made by the French President on a call for projects for civil society initiatives on the southern shore, the launch of an academy of Mediterranean talents and the creation of an impact fund for entrepreneurs living in France who wish to develop on the other side of the Mediterranean, gave a good start to these two days. Advocacy was the main theme of the Mediterranean Worlds Forum, punctuated by numerous conferences and workshops organised by civil society, institutions (Agence Française de Développement, Anna Lindh Foundation, Union for the Mediterranean, Plan Bleu, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regional Council, Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, City of Marseille, etc.) and various Mediterranean associations (Anima Investment Network, Africalink, Avitem, Emerging Mediterranean, etc.). All of this is grouped into six major themes: environment and biodiversity; education, training, mobility; inclusion and solidarity; employment, innovation and entrepreneurship; culture and heritage; territorial action and sustainable development.

A working group to ensure the follow-up of the White Paper

Princess Rym Ali, speaking alongside Karim Amellal, welcomed the mobilisation of young people (photo: F.Dubessy)
Princess Rym Ali, speaking alongside Karim Amellal, welcomed the mobilisation of young people (photo: F.Dubessy)
The closing session ended as it had begun with long speeches by personalities including Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) who came to reiterate the support of the European Union, one year after the launch of the New ENP. However, it gave pride of place to eight young people, "ambassadors" of all those who participated in the preparation and animation of this summit. They were able to address the political and institutional leaders present.

The Princess of Jordan, Rym Ali, President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, spoke of these two days as a "renewal of hope, a great breath of fresh air". Together with Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), she unveiled the creation of a working group formed by these two Euro-Mediterranean dialogue bodies. It will ensure the follow-up of the advocacy and the concretisation of the solutions outlined in the white paper. One of the demands of the plea concerns the reinforcement of the role of the UfM and suggests that it should have an independent financial instrument.

"Youth is mobilised and refuses to wait any longer," stressed the President of the Anna Lindh Foundation. "It is up to us, the political leaders, to appropriate your proposals and implement them. You can count on France," said Franck Riester. The French Minister Delegate to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, nevertheless specified to the young people present that this work "will take a long time.

* For an inclusive Mediterranean; For an entrepreneurial, innovative and digital Mediterranean; For Mediterranean cities more anchored in their territories; For a Mediterranean of mobility and knowledge; For a more sustainable Mediterranean; For a Mediterranean of culture; For a Mediterranean of projects; For a Mediterranean of employment.

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