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2nd UfM regional meeting on Higher Education internationalisation and academic mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean region
Barcelona, 11 May 2017. The Second UfM regional meeting on Higher Education internationalisation and academic mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean region will take place on 11 May 2017 at the premises of the Secretariat of the UfM in Barcelona.
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Barcelona, 10 May 2017. The seminar ‘Bridging Youth Across the Mediterranean’ jointly hosted by the UfM Secretariat and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation came to a close today following one and a half days of open exchange, debate and sharing of ideas among each other and with experts of the region. Throughout the seminar, 35 young women and men representing youth organisations from 24 countries of the northern and southern Mediterranean basin discussed issues such as youth participation, youth policies, the risks and opportunities of new forms of communication and potential for future cooperation. The relevance of the youth in Mediterranean countries is undeniable: in the South, the under-30-years-old make-up approximately 60% of the total population and will therefore achieve prominence in their countries in the next decades. Young people must have a say in and be actors of the transformations and development of their countries. Speaking at the opening of the seminar, the Secretary General of the UfM and the Director of the Regional Program Political Dialogue South Mediterranean from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung underlined the vast and largely untapped potential of opportunities of youth. They highlighted the commitment of their respective institutions to contribute to efforts aiming at bridging youth across the Mediterranean, providing them with adequate education and employability skills, and giving young representatives from the Euro-Mediterranean region incentives for a successful participation in the development of their communities, countries and of the whole region. UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi stressed the priority given to youth by the UfM. The 2nd UfM Regional Forum, held in Barcelona last January under the EU and Jordan Co-presidency, focused on the theme of ‘Youth for Stability and Development’ and placed youth at the very heart of the Euro-Mediterranean regional cooperation agenda
Working to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable: UfM Secretariat at the UN-Habitat´s Governing Council
Nairobi (Kenya), 10 May 2017. UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy addressed the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) on the occasion of its 26th session held at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi, Kenya on 8 -12 May 2017. This Governing Council (GC26), which takes place a few months after the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016, was centred on ´Opportunities for the effective implementation of the adopted New Urban Agenda´. The meeting addressed pressing issues such as inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future, synergies and financing for sustainable urbanisation and integrated human settlements planning for sustainable urbanisation. The GC26 was a timely opportunity for the UfM Secretariat to develop and build upon synergies and complementarity with UN-Habitat, with a view to further strengthening the institutional partnership between both organisations following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2016. UfM Deputy Secretary General Fahmy presented the UfM activities, especially in the field of urban development, and emphasized that the Second UfM Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development, which will be held in Cairo, Egypt, on 21 and 22 May 2017, represents an important milestone towards the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated UfM Urban Agenda (#UfMUrbanAgenda), which aims to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG-11 to "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable", with a view to improving the quality of life of the peoples of the Mediterranean region. UfM Deputy Secretary Fahmy held bilateral meetings with Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr. Clos to discuss the idea of a possible Partnership Agreement to be signed between UN-Habitat and UfM Secretariat, with the aim of developing a new Multi-Partner Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development. The objective of this facility is to catalyse effective, coordinated support to countries and cities towards the common aim of harnessing urbanization as a solution to barriers to sustainable development. Through this Partnership, this facility will drive solutions and investments to cities in the Mediterranean region. He also participated in the high-level roundtable organised by UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira on financing the global New Urban Agenda where the proposed facility was introduced and the institutional partnership with the UfM Secretariat was highlighted. The meeting also gathered Senior Vice-President of the World Bank Group Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Ms. Lize Kingo, Director of the Human Cities Coalition Ms. Fleur Henderson, Deputy Secretary-General of UCLG Ms. Emilia Saiz, and - Head of Division of BMZ Mr. Franz Marre. In addition to H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat and Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, the GC26 gathered high-level representatives from Member States and key stakeholders including parliamentarians, civil society organizations, local authorities, academia, foundations, women and youth groups, trade unions, financial institutions and the private sector, as well as organizations of the United Nations system and Intergovernmental Organizations. More information: https://unhabitat.org/gc26/
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UfM Ministers give new impetus to regional cooperation in research and innovation in the Mediterranean
The Ministerial Conference on “Strengthening Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through Research and Innovation” was held on 4 May 2017 in Valetta under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the support of the European Commission. The meeting saw the participation of the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport of Malta, Chris Agius; the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas; the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella; the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Fathallah Sijilmassi; and the HRH Princess Sumaya Bint El Hassan of Jordan. The Ministers emphasised the key role that research and innovation play in developing an understanding of the root causes of migration. They encouraged a region-wide coordinated approach to increase researchers’ and students’ mobility and establish common platforms for data collection and analysis while making the best possible use of existing tools. The Ministers called for the identification of innovative solutions to create more opportunities for youth, and thus help to address the current pressing challenges of the Mediterranean region. They welcomed several emblematic regional initiatives, namely:
- The “Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean area - PRIMA”. This new integrated initiative will contribute to pooling the know-how and financial resources of the European Union and participating Member States in order to foster ground-breaking solutions for sustainable water provision and management and food production in the Mediterranean region. 19 UfM countries are currently involved in it. The Ministers reiterated their support for the launch of PRIMA’s first calls for proposals in early 2018, after the formal adoption of the decision by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
- The “BLUEMED Initiative on research and innovation for blue jobs and growth in the Mediterranean” and the inclusion of other UfM countries in its implementation, as stated in the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy. The BLUEMED initiative offers a shared strategic framework for working towards a healthy, productive and resilient Mediterranean Sea that is better known and valued. It is designed to tap the full potential of the marine and maritime sectors by structuring transnational cooperation to create new ‘blue’ jobs and promote and improve social wellbeing, sustainable prosperity and the environmental status of the region and its surroundings.
Malta, 4 May 2017.
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Fourth Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education (AECHE 4): Developing a common regional agenda for collaborative research among universities so as to better address shared challenges.
Rabat, 26 April 2017. A delegation from the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Secretariat, headed by diplomatic adviser and spokesperson Sergi Farré, spent two days at the 4th Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education (AECHE4), entitled “Research for sustainable societies – the role of universities”, this year hosted by the Mohammed V University in Rabat, under patronage of Her Majesty the King Mohammed VI. As in previous editions, the Conference, the Secretariat for which is provided by the University of Barcelona, brought together the Association of Arab Universities (AArU), the European University Association (EUA) and their respective members. It is an extended forum for promoting dialogue and cooperation between universities in European, Mediterranean and Gulf countries. By highlighting the importance of collaborative research and innovation efforts among higher education institutions so as to better deal with the challenges facing society, the Conference provided the opportunity for an exchange of views between policymakers, university chancellors, professors, researchers and representatives of university networks, with whom the UfM Secretariat works closely, such as UNIMED, UNICA and EMUNI, as well as experts and stakeholders from civil society. Among those participating were Khalid Samadi, Moroccan Secretary of State responsible for higher education and scientific research; Saaïd Amzazi, Chancellor of the Mohammed V University; Christina Russo, Director for International Cooperation at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation; Paul J. Pace, representative of the Minister of Education and Employment of Malta (Presidency of the Council of the European Union); Professor Sultan Abu Orabi, Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities; and Michael Gaebel, Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit at the European University Association. The participants highlighted the advantages for society of university research cooperation and demonstrated the benefits of taking a regional and interdisciplinary approach to addressing global challenges linked to the environment, climate change, economic development, demographic imbalance, conflicts, migration and the refugee crisis. They also presented a diagram of initiatives and existing networks and their research collaboration synergies. These lines of action correspond to the actions of the General Secretariat of the UfM, whose role is to act as a platform for higher education and student mobility in the Mediterranean region, to support regional centers of higher education, to improve the quality of vocational training and to facilitate regional dialogue in the scientific research community in the region. Partenaires of AECHE 4 have approved a joint declaration. The next edition of AECHE will be hosted by Murcia University (Spain) during June 2018. About AECHE The conference was organised by the stakeholders to the joint AECHE initiative comprising the Association of Arab Universities (AArU), the European University Association (EUA) and the University of Barcelona (UB). Launched in 2013, this platform for dialogue and regional cooperation between universities in the Arab-European region is led by a steering committee formed of the same members in addition to the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) and the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Membership of the steering committee also extends to the institutions and organisations involved in current projects, such as the Technical University of Berlin.
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