Trends and challenges for development cooperation in the Mediterranean

25 April 2023 | Corporate news

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has participated today in the closing ceremony in Madrid of the seminar “Development Cooperation in the Mediterranean. A new MASAR for 10 more years of regional cooperation”, co-organised by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed).

Experts from think tanks, business organizations, and research centers, as well as institutional representatives of the European Union, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the AECID and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and Euro-Mediterraneans programs and initiatives, have participated yesterday and today at Casa Árabe in Madrid in this AECID-IEMed seminar dedicated to analysing trends and challenges for Spanish cooperation in the Mediterranean.

The meeting had a double objective. On the one hand, presenting and discussing the current dynamics in the Mediterranean in terms of development cooperation and geopolitical movements. And on the other, to contribute to defining the strategic areas of Spanish cooperation for the region through a renewed MASAR program, adapted to current challenges.

José Manuel Albares in the closing ceremony in Madrid.

In this sense, the various sessions of the seminar, held at Casa Árabe, reviewed everything from the current geopolitical scenario and the strategies for the region of Spain, the EU or the Union for the Mediterranean, to the transversal role of the young population in the cooperation strategies for the region, the promotion of employment and entrepreneurship, or the consolidation of new economies and sustainability, as well as the promotion of gender equality.

Seminar to update cooperation in the Mediterranean

After more than 10 years of the launch of the MASAR programme in 2012, focused on strengthening the institutions and socioeconomic development of eight countries of the Maghreb and the Middle East in the context of the Arab Spring, the AECID has worked since 2022 in collaboration with the IEMed in the adaptation of the program to the new realities of both the region and development cooperation from Spain and Europe.

The Executive President of the IEMed, Senén Florensa, in the opening session of the seminar held in Madrid.

The seminar held yesterday and today at Casa Árabe has served to analyse the main challenges facing the region and to debate and contrast the areas of cooperation that have been identified as relevant to broaden and update the focus of the new MASAR programme: youth, gender, sustainability, employment, and new economies.

Experts such as Julien Barnes-Dacey, director for the Mediterranean (European Council on Foreign Relations); Malak Altaeb, Libyan researcher at the Middle East Institute specializing in sustainability and water resources; Jihen Boutiba, General Director of the Union of Employers of the Mediterranean (BUSINESSMED); Hadhemi Boukadida, Spanish representative of the Mediterranean Youth Council, or Zied Boussen, Tunisian activist and researcher (Arab Reform Initiative, Pandora Consulting), among many others, have taken part in the seminar.