Shababuna: An Innovative Project for Our Euro- Mediterranean Youth

Màriam Lutfi Royo

Ministry for Foreign Action and European Union, Government of Catalonia

Today, one of the major demographic trends in the Mediterranean region is a clear decrease in the youth population on the northern shore in contrast to a notable increase on the southern shore. It is, therefore, necessary to open spheres of joint cooperation that enable us to ensure the wellbeing of young Mediterranean citizens. It is in this framework where the Shababuna project was created, which embraces a wide range of actors and aims to strengthen the capabilities of the regional and local authorities, as well as the civil society organizations in the Moroccan region of L’Oriental to raise awareness and better inform its youths about the risks of and alternatives to irregular migration. In this meeting space of multiple actors, young people can play a more active role in defining their own future.

Today in the Mediterranean, youths are facing many challenges, such as high unemployment levels, gender inequality and social exclusion, which have worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic but also with the climate crisis, as well as an increase in migration flows and violent extremism.

We are referring to one of the most important groups in the region. Out of the over 560 million people living in the countries surrounding our Mare Nostrum, one out of three Europeans is under 30, while in the Southern Mediterranean they account for 48% of the population. In the last 40 years, the number of young people on the northern shore of the Mediterranean has been reduced by 26%, while in the south it has almost doubled, and it seems that the population projection for the next few years confirms this contrasted tendency in the region.

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