"COVID-19 is affecting the whole world but in the Mediterranean region we are facing a particularly unstable situation". These words were spoken by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marina Sereni, at the Strategic Consultations of the MENA-OECD Initiative on Governance and Competitiveness for Development. The Initiative aims at creating common governance training programmes between European Countries and the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region.
"According to the IMF, - Ms. Sereni explained - the GDP of the region will decrease by 5.7% this year, but in the Countries of the area involved in conflicts it could decrease by 13%. The regional scenario features a high level of polarisation and increasing social fragmentation, with an unemployment rate affecting over a quarter of its young people and over a third of its women outside the labour market. The Italian strategy in the Mediterranean strives to maintain dialogue in the region alive and to continue on the path of cooperation, reform and financial support for post-COVID recovery, also through initiatives such as the MENA-OECD programme. The MENA-OECD Training Centre in Caserta, operational since 2012 in support of the governance component, can become an important tool to achieve this".
"Against this backdrop - the Vice Minister continued - I would like to mention the contribution made by Italy to regional dialogue, through the organisation of the annual Rome MED Dialogues, since 2015, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Institute for International Policy Studies (ISPI). The 2020 event started yesterday and will host a series of debates on various key issues, from migration to security, culture and civil society, in a situation made critical by COVID-19, which is putting an added strain on the pre-existing instability in the region".
"In 2021, Italy will co-host the COP26 climate summit and assume the G20 presidency. Our ambition is to transform the extended Mediterranean Region into a laboratory for this evolutionary process. Therefore, we have adopted the watchwords of the G20: 'People', especially young people and women, 'Planet' to safeguard, 'Prosperity' to share among nations".