18-02-2015

PAM at EMUNI Conference – More investment in youth education necessary to ward off terrorist organisations’ influence

PAM at EMUNI Conference – More investment in youth education necessary to ward off terrorist organisations’ influence

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean Secretary General, Ambassador Sergio Piazzi addressed the Annual Conference of the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) held in Portorož – Piran, Slovenia, on 11-12 February 2015.

At the conference, dedicated to Science Diplomacy - Re-Thinking Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation, 27 speakers and panelists from 17 different countries and international organisations shared their experience and insights on the subject in the presence of more than 150 participants from 35 Euro-Mediterranean countries.

In his intervention, Amb. Piazzi underlined the importance of the cooperation process between EMUNI and PAM, and augured that, following the participation of EMUNI at the launch of PAM’s Academic Platform in Catania in December 2014, the relations are moving towards a more structured collaboration and concrete projects.

With reference to the current situation in the Mediterranean, Dr. Piazzi referred to the   meeting between PAM and the UN Security Council in New York last September, when the Assembly received a formal request for assistance in the framework of the fight against terrorism. This request refers to the implementation of Resolution 2178 of the Security Council, adopted on 24 September 2014, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

“The Security Council, through the Executive Directorate for Anti-Terrorism in New York, and its Anti-Terrorism Prevention Section in Vienna, asked PAM to organize a series of meetings, dedicated to Parliamentarians from the Mediterranean countries, to discuss with them the fight against terrorism and identify the necessary legislative measures for the implementation of the above mentioned UN Resolution, with a particular focus on ISIS’ foreign fighters”, Amb. Piazzi said. The first of these meetings, dedicated to the Maghreb countries, will be held from 26 to 27 February 2015, at the Italian Senate in Rome.

This activity is a step towards a more comprehensive, long-term project in all regions of the Mediterranean to confront terrorism effectively and consistently, and is in line with the mandate of PAM to forge cooperation at the regional level in order to address common challenges, one of which is represented by the improvement of the basic living conditions of the populations. This includes access to the labour market, affordable primary goods and services, and education.

With regards to the latter, Dr. Piazzi said that the PAM Academic Platform, is a mechanism, which gathers, around the same table, stakeholders of different sectors, who can benefit from each other’s expertise in a goal-oriented manner, with the purpose of providing MPs with state of the art information on key issues and, on the other hand, provide Academia, the research and the productive sectors with direct access to decision makers. All participants at the EMUNI event expressed full support for a reinforced cooperation with PAM and its Platform.

During the launch - which witnessed the participation of Academics, MPs, Representatives from Scientific Research Institutions as well as Rectors of Universities from across the region- a very important issue was highlighted, which concerned the ‘mobility’ aspect of students and professors in the Mediterranean. “Mobility is of utmost importance for sharing knowledge and helping preserve ‘intelligence’ which might be lost due to the growing concern of migration, stemming from the numerous conflicts and political instability in our region”, Amb. Piazzi stressed. Schools, Universities and Academic institutions have the duty to play a crucial role in addressing these challenges, in initiating projects, and dedicated programs, which can help the affected youth in the region, as well as facilitating and providing access for students from disadvantaged countries. This can be done through specialized programmes. PAM has already helped a multi-stakeholder initiative established by H.E. Gorge Sampaio, the former President of Portugal, which aimed at creating a network for hosting and providing education for Syrian Students in Portugal.

“We, Parliamentarians, and the academic world, must mobilize our efforts for the benefit of these youth, to help them overcome the past and build a better future. We must invest in education, provide them with opportunities, train them and not let them surrender to a helpless reality which can make them easy targets for terrorist organizations.”, PAM Secretary General concluded.

The conference resulted in a number of practical recommendations, among others also:


> Strengthen existing channels of dialogue among the Euro-­‐Mediterranean scientific communities and
support cooperation channels between scientists and politicians in the Euro-­‐Mediterranean countries .

> Establish EMUNI scholarships with the support of Euro-­‐Mediterranean countries to provide for
continuing education of refugees and displaced people.

> Develop a programme for “brain circulation” capitalizing on the South Mediterranean Diasporas in Europe, including joint research activities, academic and student exchange and fellowships across the Mediterranean.

> Establish exchange programmes involving other stakeholders, eg. practitioners (public officials, MPs, youth and civil society).

> Seek complementarities and synergies between programmes and initiatives of various regional actors (EU, UfM, CIHEAM, FAO, MIO-­ECSE, PAM, EMUNI).

> Establish closer synergies between EMUNI and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM). In this regard, EMUNI could play an active role in the PAM academic platform. A meeting between Euro-­‐Med Parliamentarians and academicians hosted by EMUNI during 2015 is being explored.

> Develop new tailor-‐made programmes for concrete needs of Southern Mediterranean countries, including in synergy with the European Neighbourhood Policy.

> Develop a database of best practices and success stories in science-­diplomacy under the coordination of EMUNI. This could well serve in sharing experiences to address common challenges.

> Develop initiatives for closer South‐South cooperation. A joint programme could be developed under ESCWA or the EU with the support of EMUNI.

> Develop a Euro-­‐Mediterranean competition for young scientists modelled after the EUCYS (European Union Contest for Young Scientists) to engage youth of the South Mediterranean countries with their counterparts from the North.

> Introduce a shared production value programme , engaging the private sector in the Euro-­Mediterranean region.

> Employ science diplomacy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among others, to develop water diplomacy initiatives.

> Capitalise on the high innovation potential in the Southern Mediterranean region, particularly among creative youth. This could be achieved through a programme to develop and support the innovation ecosystem in the region, including funds for innovation actions and structural measures in complementarity with the Euro-­‐Mediterranean Innovation Agenda.

> Utilizing the full potential of the EU‐funded Middle East Research and Innovation Dialogue (MERID) project and linking it with other science diplomacy actions in the region, including SESAME.
 

FULL CONFERENCE REPORT & RECOMMENDATIONS: Link

MEDIA INFORMATION 05/2015

issued on 18.02.2015
 

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