Government and Civil Society join forces for action in the Western Mediterranean

Numru ta' Referenza:  , Data ta' l-Istqarrija : Ġun 25, 2019
 
The Foreign Ministers of the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue (Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Libya, Tunisia, Malta, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain), together with representatives of a number of regional/international organizations/institutions and civil society representatives gathered, on 24 June, at the Palais du Pharo, overlooking the old port of Marseille, for the Summit of the Two Shores.

The Summit, a personal initiative of French President Emanuel Macron, places civil society from the Western Mediterranean at the forefront of regional cooperation. It was officially launched in Valletta, in January 2019, during the 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Mediterranean Dialogue.

Malta hosted, in April 2019, one of the five preparatory fora held in the run-up to the Summit which focused on youth, education and mobility. Entitled “Investing in a Mediterranean Generation”, the forum brought together mostly youths from the region who spoke about their aspirations for the region. Civil society that attended these five fora generated over 270 initiatives/projects, including a number from Maltese civil society representatives, which have already received positive reactions from potential development partners.

In his speech to the Plenary, the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion highlighted, in particular, the significant role played by civil society in this process, placing emphasis on youth potential and on the need to seize this opportunity to open up space for youth-led initiative in the region. Minister Abela opined that “youths are not the leaders of tomorrow but the leaders of today”. He referred to a number of transversal priorities that emerged from the Malta forum and augured that a number of the very pertinent projects presented become a reality.

The Ministers also adopted a Declaration, which encapsulates the commitments made by the Ministers for “a more ambitious Mediterranean”. It acknowledged, inter alia, the work carried out by civil society and highlighted a number of flagship projects in the areas of youth, education, economy, culture, energies and the environment. The Ministers also welcomed the creation of a tripartite process that brings together the participating States, the development partners and civil society.

President Macron, who delivered the closing remarks, also engaged with the ten Chefs de File, including Prof Simone Borg from Malta, the main representatives of civil society from each participating state that spoke on their experiences and their aspirations for the future. Also present were the civil society personalities from the ten countries, including nine from Malta.

On the fringes of this Summit, the Hon. Carmelo Abela held a courtesy meeting with the recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Algeria H.E. Sabri Boukadoum, wherein they discussed the enhancement of bilateral relations.

The Hon. Minister was accompanied by H.E. Ms. Helga Mizzi, Malta’s Ambassador to the Republic of France.


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Family photo in front of the Palais du Pharo

 

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Minister Carmelo Abela with French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian


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French President, Emmanuel Macron holding the “Engagement de Marseille” on stage with all the delegations