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Colloquium on Business possibilities in the Mediterranean Region and Initiatives by the UfM

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 9:43am

29 June 2017. – Seville, Spain. The colloquium on Business possibilities in the Mediterranean Region and Initiatives co-organised by the UfM will take place on 29 June 2017 in Seville, Spain.

For further information about the event, please contact Water & Environment Division: water@ufmsecretariat.org

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Plastic Busters: Second project meeting

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 4:42pm

Siena, Italy, 28 June 2017. The Second meeting of the project “Plastic-Busters for a Mediterranean free from litter” will take place at Certosa di Pontignano, Siena, Italy from 28th to 30th June.

The meeting, organized by the University of Siena and UN-SDSN, as leader of the project and in close partnership with UN Environment/MAP, counts on the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the UfM Secretariat.

The three-days event is organized as follows:

  • On the 28th of June, the meeting foresees a on-the-job training and demo activity on Marine Litter monitoring at sea;
  • The morning session of the 29th is dedicated to more technical issues, namely focusing on the Effects Of Plastics On Mediterranean Marine Life – the Protocol for Monitoring Marine Litter in the Mediterranean sea using bioindicator organisms. In the afternoon, interventions by Marine Litter Experts from the southern Mediterranean countries and interested donors are scheduled.
  • The third day will focus on coordination issues among the promoters of the project, and the implementation of  its fundraising strategy.

The project “Plastic Busters for a Mediterranean free from litter”, leaded by the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network Mediterranean, was labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean in 2016. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the de-pollution and pollution prevention of the Mediterranean sea; the main activities focus on: a) addressing the marine litter related knowledge gaps via monitoring, assessment and mitigation; b) developing and implementing concrete actions to prevent, reduce, identify convergence areas and remove marine litter; c) actions to enhance the awareness of stakeholders and catalyse change in their perceptions and attitudes towards waste, thus supporting also the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention – IG.21/9).

For further information about the event, please contact Water & Environment Division: water@ufmsecretariat.org

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MedaWeek Barcelona 2017: ASCAME and UfM join forces to advance economic development in the Mediterranean

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 6:45pm

The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have signed a partnership agreement to consolidate the UfM’s position as strategic institutional partner of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders of Barcelona (MedaWeek). The Vice-President of ASCAME, Miquel Valls, and the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Fathallah Sijilmassi, signed the agreement today in the presence of Spain’s Ambassador at large for Mediterranean Affairs and Spain’s Senior Official for the UfM, Milagros Hernando, as well as several members from the MedaWeek Barcelona Advisory Council. ASCAME and the UfM, both headquartered in Barcelona, have undertaken important initiatives and projects in the last few years to contribute to the region’s economic development and integration, the promotion of public-private initiatives by the private sector to facilitate the flow of investments, and the increase of the Euro-Mediterranean region’s appeal in attracting investment in general. In short, they have a solid history of strategic cooperation to make progress towards integration, stability and regional socioeconomic development. Proof of this close partnership is the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders of Barcelona (MedaWeek), which ten years following its launch as the annual platform for the Mediterranean economy, will address challenges such as the restructuring of traditional industries and the diversification of economic activity, the attraction of major foreign investment and the intensification of cooperation between all the region’s countries. 2,000 businesspeople from the region are expected  to participate in this annual event being hosted in Barcelona next November. Both organisations acknowledge the importance of developing synergies and a close collaboration between the institutions that are working to advance the Mediterranean’s economic integration. “We will continue working together to promote full socioeconomic cooperation between both shores of the Mediterranean, despite the difficulties encountered along the way. Together we can achieve more,” said the Vice-President of ASCAME, Miquel Valls. “We’ve signed this agreement with the aim of reinforcing the regional dimension and the collaborative approach of our common cooperation efforts to foster socioeconomic development and job creation, in particular for young people as they are the main asset for the futue and stability of our region”, noted the UfM Secretary General, Fathallah Sijilmassi. Each year MedaWeek Barcelona promotes a strong Mediterranean spirit over several days that feature a wide range of sectoral and thematic forums. Their innovative ideas and proposals seek to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean integration, a key prerequisite for encouraging inclusive growth in the region. Some of these proposals include support programmes for entrepreneurs, women and young people, and a commitment towards emerging sectors and the new economy. The Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders (MedaWeek) in Barcelona is supported by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

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UfM Roadmap for Action

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:46am

The UfM Secretariat addressed the 2017 European Sustainable Development Network Conference

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 2:51pm

Prague, 23 June 2017. UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy participated as a keynote speaker in the annual European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN) Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic on 22 and 23 June 2017. The ESDN Conference convened this year under the title “Strategic Governance for Sustainable Development: New developments and approaches in the context of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs”, gathered policy makers and experts from all over Europe to discuss concrete steps to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also consider new, innovative approaches in planning and policy-making. In previous years, ESDN conferences had, in view of the 2030 Agenda, tackled issues of implementation at the EU and national level (Luxembourg, 2015) as well as at the sub-national and local levels (Bern, 2016). In his speech before the Conference, UfM Deputy Secretary General Fahmy highlighted the UfM activities especially in Transport and Urban Development, explaining that the UfM is aimed at achieving sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean region in part by ensuring sustainable urbanization as well as by establishing an efficient, integrated, interoperable and sustainable transport infrastructure network. He further underlined the importance the UfM attaches to the 2030 Agenda and the associated SDGs, and the concrete efforts the UfM deploys to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” and “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, as outlined in SDGs 9 and 11, respectively. More information: http://www.sd-network.eu/?k=ESDN%20conferences&year=2017

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Implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: The UfM Secretariat participates in the R20 Austrian World Summit

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:15pm

Vienna, 21 June 2017. On 21 June 2017, UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy participated in the R20 Austrian World Summit, held in Vienna, under the patronage of the Federal President of Austria and with the participation of key stakeholders from national governments, cities, financial institutions and the private sector. The R20 Austrian World Summit is the new initiative of Arnold Schwarzenegger's organization, which has been designed to become “the premier annual meeting place for sustainable development action heroes” to showcase best practice examples and solutions, as well as to increase partnerships for turning the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into real action. Carrying the title “From Sustainable Goals to Real Action”, the one-day Summit explored a number of pertinent issues addressing the challenges on how to implement the SDGs and the global climate protection goals (The Paris Agreement). This action-oriented event served as an opportunity to contribute to R20’s efforts in identifying at least 100 flagship infrastructure projects worldwide, promoted by local authorities/public entities especially in the area of waste management, which will benefit from innovative financial mechanisms. On this occasion, UfM Deputy Secretary General Fahmy explained the key role the UfM plays in translating political decisions into concrete actions with tangible impacts on the region’s citizens, through its activities, projects and initiatives. Furthermore, he highlighted how the UfM’s regional agenda contributes to the global agenda and to addressing the SDGs. More information: http://www.austrianworldsummit.com/

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Side event to the United Nations Ocean Conference

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 10:45am

5-9 June 2017, New York – The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfMS) will participate through a video message to a side event on Marine Litter on the occasion of the OCEAN CONFERENCE organised by the United Nations in New York from the 5th to the 9th of June 2017.

The session will be held on June 8 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM at the UN Headquarters.  The side event, titled “A multi-stakeholders governance for tackling marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea” will bring together major academics, policy-makers, industry, key stakeholders and their representative organisations in the region. The UfMS will participate through a video interview with Miguel García-Herraiz.

Within the ongoing efforts to contribute to SDG14 “Life below Water”, the event will showcase the Mediterranean answer to the global and regional problem of marine litter and, as such, share experience on how different key regional stakeholders can work together – within their respective mandates and in their various capacities – in a coordinated manner to address marine litter management and prevention.

This event is organised by Legambiente Onlus and co-organised by the UN Environment/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat, Italian Ministry of Environment, the UfM Secretariat, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Mediterranean), European Environment Agency, European Bioplastics, Environmental Alliance for the Mediterranean and KyotoClub,

For further information about the event, please contact Water & Environment Division: water@ufmsecretariat.org

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Towards a sound governance of transport: UfM Secretariat participates in the global 2017 ITF Summit

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 2:07pm

Leipzig, 2 June 2017. UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy participated in the 10th Annual Summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF) - OECD, held in Leipzig, Germany from 31 May to 2 June 2017. The summit gathered Transport Ministers from around the world, heads of key international organisations, international financial institutions and CEOs of major companies, as well as parliamentarians and academics. It was a good occasion to exchange knowledge, build on existing synergies and explore opportunities for cooperation with potential partners and stakeholders. It also provided the opportunity to present UfM activities towards establishing a UfM Regional Platform on Transport Connectivity. To this end, UfM Deputy Secretary General Fahmy held several bilateral meetings with high-level government representatives, international organisations and IFIs including Pim Van Ballekom, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; José Viegas, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum; Umberto de Pretto, Secretary General of the International Road Transport Union; Alain Flausch, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport; Michael B. Christides, Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, José Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director of the World Bank Group. UfM Deputy Secretary General Fahmy emphasized that the UfM Secretariat has built-up a common development agenda for the UfM Member States with the aim of establishing an efficient, integrated, interoperable and sustainable transport infrastructure network in the Euro-Mediterranean region. He also highlighted the key role the UfM plays in translating political decisions into concrete actions with tangible impacts on the region’s citizens, through its activities, projects and initiatives, as well as how the UfM’s regional agenda contributes to the global agenda and to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG-9 to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The ITF’s 2017 Summit addressed strategic issues across all transport modes over three days of debates and networking events, engaging 1,400 participants from 80 countries. This year’s edition on Governance of Transport explored the trends shaping transport governance and identified the most pressing challenges in the transport sector. The summit focused on infrastructure, global connectivity, the adequate regulation for innovation, and urban access and mobility. More information International Transport Forum  

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The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions and UfM Secretariat team up to promote sustainable development in the region

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 7:51pm

Barcelona, 24 May 2017. Bertrand Piccard, Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, and UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi today signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their organizations. The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions (WAES), established by the Solar Impulse Foundation (SIF), aims to advance the cause of clean technologies and offer tangible solutions to the challenges facing society in its efforts to reach the objectives of the Climate Action Agenda, as defined at the COP21 in Paris. The cooperation between the UfM and the Alliance will enrich the policy dialogue on energy and climate change in the Euro-Mediterranean region. In particular, it will contribute to the three UfM Energy Platforms especially that dedicated to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (UfM REEE), which aims to promote the deployment of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures to access secure, affordable and reliable energy services and support climate change adaptation and mitigation across the region. This cooperation will also be an opportunity to mobilise the private sector, in particular companies providing innovative solutions for the energy transition, in support of an ambitious agenda for sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Members of the Alliance will be invited to take part in the UfM Energy Business Forum, expected to be held in October 2017 in Egypt. “We know that people, companies, national and local authorities in the Mediterranean have plenty of solutions to offer for a new, cleaner economy. We want to help promote them, by developing connections between those looking for solutions and those offering them,” said Bertrand Piccard. “We at the Alliance are looking to bring 1,000 efficient and profitable solutions for the environment to COP 24 at the end of 2018, to set the world on a path toward sustainability. I believe the Mediterranean region has a great many ideas that can help others across the world work toward this shared objective,” he added. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the Mediterranean have increased by a factor of four in the last half century. The region has been identified as one of the main climate change hotspots due to water scarcity, concentration of economic activities in coastal areas, and reliance on climate-sensitive agriculture. Further, the average temperature in the region has already risen by 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, the limit set by the Paris Agreement. “Climate action is a great opportunity to achieve sustainable and inclusive development models in the Mediterranean. It is essential to seize this opportunity to leverage investment, foster technology transfer, create job opportunities for our youth, promote the role of women and develop low carbon production and consumption patterns that contribute to greater integration, sustainable development and stability in our region”, said UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi. The UfM Secretariat works to foster an active participation of the civil society, local and regional authorities, the private sector, financing institutions as well as other key stakeholders in the regional cooperation process for sustainable development and regional integration. The willingness to put the Euro-Mediterranean region at the forefront of the global sustainable development was also reaffirmed by UfM Ministers at the UfM Ministerial Meeting on Energy, held in Rome in December 2016. More information
  • UfM projects on environment and climate action
  • UfM Energy Platforms:
    • The UfM Regional Electricity Market Platform (UfM REM Platform)
    • The UfM Regional Electricity Market Platform (UfM REM Platform)
    • The UfM Gas Platform (UfM Gas Platform)

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UfM Ministers agree on a structured framework for enhanced regional cooperation on Sustainable Urban Development in the Euro-Mediterranean region

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 6:00pm

Gathered today in Cairo on the occasion of the 2nd Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development, the Ministers in charge of housing, municipal affairs and urban development from the 43 UfM Member States agreed on a UfM Urban Agenda to step-up regional cooperation on sustainable urban development, with a view to delivering common responses to the pressing challenges facing urban areas, which are key drivers for stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region. At the Ministerial Conference, Co-chaired by H.E. Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy and H.E. Walid Almasri, Minister for Municipal Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and hosted by H.E. Moustafa Madbouly, Minister for Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities of the Arab Republic of Egypt, in the presence of H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi, UfM Secretary General, the Ministers endorsed the final Declaration and adopted a comprehensive and operational UfM Urban Agenda for the Euro-Mediterranean region. The UfM Urban Agenda represents an action-oriented roadmap for the future. It is aimed at addressing the multi-faceted challenges of the region, both at local and regional levels, through an integrated and holistic approach, as well as at ensuring urban sustainability and resilience with a greater socio-economic impact on the ground, thus improving the quality of life of the peoples of the Mediterranean region. UfM Ministers agreed to set a structured framework for UfM cooperation efforts in the years to come, through the creation of the UfM Regional Platform on Sustainable Urban Development, its thematic platforms and working groups, as well as through the organization of the UfM-IFIs (International Financial Institutions) Urban Development Project Committee Meetings. This will result in enhanced policy dialogue among UfM Member States, financial institutions, regional organisations and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, and will translate it into concrete projects and initiatives. The Conference concluded with the launch of the UfM labelled project “Imbaba Urban Upgrading” by H.E. Minister Madbouly, which amounts to 100 million Euros. In his intervention, the Minister highlighted the added value of the UfM label and the socio-economic impact of such an integrated urban regeneration project in one of Greater Cairo’s most populated areas, through the improvement of the living conditions of its 2 million inhabitants within the Giza Governorate. This launch also confirms of the good preparatory work done by the Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI). Since 2014 UPFI operates under the umbrella of the UfM Secretariat and is managed by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) with the financial support of the EU. UPFI currently supports five UfM labelled urban projects of regional importance, including the “Imbaba Urban Upgrading”, helping them to access financing. The UfM Ministerial Conference also gathered high-level representatives of key institutional and financial partners, including the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB). On the margin of the Ministerial Conference and following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UfM Secretariat and UN-Habitat in April 2016, both organisations signed a Letter of Intent to further strengthen their institutional collaboration with the aim of catalysing effective, coordinated support to countries and cities towards the common aim of harnessing urbanisation as a solution to barriers to sustainable development. The Conference was also an opportunity to present the results of a study UN-Habitat conducted for the UfM Secretariat outlining an action plan for the effective implementation of the UfM Urban Agenda with a view to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in particular SDG 11 “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, through joint actions, projects and initiatives for a socially and environmentally sustainable urban development in the Mediterranean region. Furthermore, a side event was organised by the UfM Secretariat in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy and UN-Habitat. On this occasion, the European Commission and the URBACT Secretariat explained the experience of the URBACT programme in the EU and raised its potential replicability in the southern and the eastern Mediterranean countries. URBACT enables cities to work together and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges and to ensure the implementation of urban projects for a positive socio-economic impact on the ground. Statements Minister Almasri stated: “The 2nd Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development serves as an exceptional opportunity for the Mediterranean countries to enhance and develop cooperation at regional and international levels. The aim is to achieve security and stability in the Mediterranean region through enhancing a sustainable urban development and creating projects to develop the local communities and provide job opportunities for young people to empower them to effectively participate in the development of their local communities”. Commissioner Creţu underlined: “Like the EU, the Union for the Mediterranean has adopted a real urban roadmap and I very much welcome that. I hope you will draw on the experience and best practices of the Urban Agenda for the EU, and make cities close partners. They have a unique insight and their involvement in policy-making on key urban matters, together with local stakeholders from the civil society or the business sphere, will benefit the lives of millions of people around the Mediterranean”. Minister Madbouly emphasized: “The Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt Vision 2030 represents a foothold on the way towards inclusive development. The strategy compromises of ten pillars. One of which is the urban development pillar. This pillar aims at achieving a balanced spatial development management of land and resources to accommodate population and improve the quality of their lives. Subsequently, the national housing strategy was developed. A strategy of integrated sustainable urban development.UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi recalled: “Today’s meeting demonstrates the common will of 43 countries and key institutional partners to give a new impetus to the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on sustainable urban development. The UfM Secretariat will continue its active contribution to ensuring that political decisions are translated into concrete actions and regional projects, with a view to implementing the UfM Urban Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. With the adoption of this Ministerial Declaration, the UfM Secretariat will continue its active contribution to improving sustainable urban development in the region though regional dialogue and the implementation of regional projects in line with sustainable urban development priorities, with a view to strengthening regional cooperation and integration. More information:

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