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Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean

Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization which was set up by the 43 Heads of State and Government of the Euro-Mediterranean region on the occasion of the Paris Summit on July 13, 2008.
Wishing to breathe new life into the Barcelona Process, the Heads of State and Government have assigned the UfM the mission of translating regional cooperation into concrete projects for the benefit of the populations of the Euro-Mediterranean region.
On the political level, the Heads of State and Government have agreed to hold Summits on a biannual basis to endorse the work program of the UfM. Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs have also been planned on an annual basis, the purpose of which is to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of UfM projects, and to prepare the conclusions of the Summit meetings.
In terms of governance of the UfM, and with a view to ensuring a better sharing of responsibilities, the Heads of State and Government decided to establish a rotating co-presidency of the UfM (a co-president representing the countries of the North and a co-chair representing the partner countries, chosen by consensus for a non-renewable mandate of two years), as well as an UfM Secretariat for the identification, selection, promotion and implementation of UfM projects.

The Heads of State and Government identified six priorities within which the UfM Secretariat should work:

– The depollution of the Mediterranean;
– Motorways of the sea and land motorways;
– Civil Protection;
– Substitute energies: Mediterranean Solar Plan;
– Higher Education and Research;
– The Mediterranean Business Development Initiative.

On the occasion of their conference in Marseilles, on November 3 and 4, 2008, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 43 member countries refined the operating mechanisms of the UfM. They also defined the criteria for the selection of UfM projects, according to which any UfM project must:

– Respect the principle of variable geometry;
– Contribute to stability and peace throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region;
– Not to harm the legitimate interests of a Member State;
– Respect the decision of the member countries concerned by an ongoing project when it is to be developed.

1/- The Co-presidency:

The principle of co-presidency applies to all meetings of the UfM, from those of the Summit to those of Senior Officials, including Ministerials and sectoral meetings of ad hoc experts. Thus, the co-chairs assume the co-presidency of the partnership within the framework of the UfM as a whole.
France and Egypt were chosen as the first co-presidents of the UfM.

2/- Senior Officials:

The Senior Officials are the officials designated by each of the member countries of the UfM to ensure follow-up. They are responsible for dealing with all aspects of the UfM, including politics. Senior Officials have also been tasked by Foreign Ministers with approving guidelines and assessment criteria for judging the merits of UfM project proposals, as well as approving the annual program of the Secretariat.
Given the prevailing context in the Middle East, and in the absence of being able to bring together the high political authorities of the UfM (Summit of Heads of State and/or Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs), the Senior Officials are the only authority which regularly brings together the representatives of the member states of the UfM.

3/- The UfM Secretariat:

The UfM Secretariat has been provided with a technical mandate, oriented towards the implementation of UfM projects. Within the framework of the six priorities defined by the Heads of State and Government, the Secretariat's mission is to identify (among the projects submitted by the Member States), to promote (to donors), and to implement implementation of regional projects.

The UfM Secretariat, which is based in Barcelona, is composed of a Secretary General, supported by six Deputy Secretaries General at the head of Divisions which translate the priorities defined by the Heads of State and Government. It is :

– The Division for the coordination of project financing and business development;
– The Social Affairs Division;
– The Transport and Urban Development Division;
– The Environment and Water Division;
– The Energy Division;
– The Education and Research Division.

Mr. Nasser KAMAL, was appointed by the Senior Officials of the UfM, in June 2018, as Secretary General of the UfM. He was preceded in this post by Mr. Fathallah SIJILMASSI.

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