UNIDO International Conference on Productive Work for Youth in Tunisia and the MENA region

UNIDO International Conference on Productive Work for Youth in Tunisia and the MENA region

Remarks by Amb. Sergio Piazzi
PAM Secretary General
on the occasion of the
UNIDO International Conference on Productive Work for Youth in Tunisia and the MENA region
Tunis, 28-29 November 2012

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Mr. Director General,    


Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure and honor, for me, to participate in this important event, and I would like to thank the organizers and the Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, for the kind invitation. This conference represents an excellent opportunity to discuss the issues of job creation and entrepreneurship for the youth in Tunisia and in the MENA region as a whole, which become even more urgent in the challenging context of the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions.

As you may know, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean is an interstate regional organization that was created as the dedicated instrument of parliamentary diplomacy in the Mediterranean region. It represents 27 national parliaments of the Mediterranean region, from Portugal to Morocco, via Jerusalem.

PAM’s main objective is to forge, through parliamentary diplomacy, political, economic and social integration among its member states in order to find common solutions to the challenges facing the region, and to create a space for peace and prosperity for all the Mediterranean peoples.

We are glad that the United Nations decided to grant our Assembly with the “Permanent Observer” Status at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2009 in recognition of PAM’s efforts and actions in the region. Our Assembly indeed enjoys a very good relationship with the UN system, and we are proud that UNIDO is one of the UN agencies we collaborate the closest with.

All member parliaments of PAM have expressed their commitment to play a key role in support of the Mediterranean economies at all levels. For this reason, our Assembly unanimously decided to establish the PAM Panel on Trade and Investments in the Mediterranean, which was launched in May 2010 in Lisbon.

The Panel is a dedicated instrument that gathers, around the same table, parliamentarians and key economic players, such as international financial institutions, banks, employers’ federations, regulators, investment promotion agencies, normative agencies, chambers of commerce and consumers’ associations, in order to stimulate, in the absence of an all inclusive Free Trade Area in the region, joint actions and propose practical measures – including at legislative levels – to be undertaken to strengthen trade and secure a social dignity for all peoples of the region. By making parliamentarians more familiar with the productive system and able to better understand the needs of the private sector at large, the Panel gives them the opportunity to contribute more efficiently to economic growth through their legislative action.

I wish to invite all those interested in the activities of our Panel on trade and investments in the Mediterranean to join it by becoming a member. A meeting of the Panel is already scheduled to take place in Geneva, in March 2013, at the kind invitation of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity, so please, do not hesitate to contact our Secretariat in Malta for more information.

This conference represents an excellent chance for us to further contribute to strengthening the ties between national parliaments, the UN system and the productive sector of the MENA region. Also for this reason, UNIDO invited us to animate a parliamentary debate, which will be held later today. Our MPs accepted this invitation with pleasure and are here, today, ready to actively contribute to this event. The parliamentary debate this afternoon will be led by our Assembly’s delegation, which includes parliamentarians from Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. During this session, which you are most welcome to attend, parliamentarians will engage in a constructive dialogue with entrepreneurs, in order to identify specific issues where parliamentary action, at the national and regional level, is required to support the economic process. PAM MPs will first give an overview of how different kinds of public-private partnerships function in their countries and how effective they are; a very interesting input to start our debate, as the various approaches that will be presented could be used as models to implement in other countries.

Then, we will have an open discussion with interventions from the audience. This is one more way to show that our parliamentarians are at your disposal, ready to listen to your needs and concerns, to be able to support your activities through their role in PAM and their role in the respective national parliaments. I sincerely hope to see many of you there. The parliamentary debate will start at 3:00pm, in Salles 6, and will last 2 hours.

Also in connection with the agenda of the meeting, there are a lot of interesting points to trigger a good and fruitful discussion in the course of these two days. Topics such as investments, job creation, the development of SMEs refer to current challenges on extremely critical and urgent matters. We must not forget that millions of young people will join the labour markets in the coming years, especially in the MENA region, and it is our duty to guarantee them jobs that can satisfy their expectations and provide them with good future prospects. This is a fundamental requirement to ensure social peace and political stability at the national level. I am confident that, with all the high level experts present here today, the event will be a success.

I wish to conclude by thanking, once again, the organizers and M. Yumkella for their kind invitation to this event and hope to see many of you this afternoon at our parliamentary debate.

Thank you for your attention.

Administration and Protocol Service
PAM Office – Geneva, Switzerland

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