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UNECE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean working to foster development in the Mediterranean region

Published: 06 May 2011

In response to the emerging development needs of the Mediterranean region, UNECE will be working with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and its Panel on External Trade and Investments in the Mediterranean to support the region’s recovery, long-term development and regional integration.  This was one of the conclusions of the two day Joint Trade Conference of PAM and the United Nations Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster, which was held at Palais des Nations on 4-5 May.

The areas of cooperation between UNECE and PAM (17 out of PAM’s 26 members are UNECE member States) will include:

  • Trade facilitation and electronic business;
  • Technical regulations and standardization policies;
  • Transport development;
  • Energy and water resources management.

PAM and UNECE are exploring different frameworks for this new phase in their partnership, which will be formalized in the near future.

The Conference discussed the economic impact of the recent political developments in the region, challenges to regional integration, and the role of water and energy development in supporting trade expansion and sustained development. The most pressing challenges are those generated by the economic crisis that engulfed the region in the wake of social upheaval in a number of PAM countries. Dramatic falls in exports, investment inflows and tourism activities has left these countries with expanding trade and budget deficits as well as  eroding foreign currency reserves.

These challenges put governments in an awkward position to pursue development efforts, especially since access to external finance is often hampered by negative credit ratings. At the global level, high food prices pose an imminent threat, especially to net food importers. In addition,, the slow recovery of the region’s main trading partners from the global financial and economic crisis means that exports are unlikely to pick up steam in the near future.

Against this background, a key message delivered at the conference was that the United Nations is committed to assisting PAM governments in implementing their reform and development plans. “This conference marks the beginning of a new phase in UNECE partnership with PAM”, said Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary.

Senator Marwan Alhmoud of Jordan, Vice President of PAM’s 2nd Standing Committee, emphasized that PAM “wants to further strengthen its already deep rooted relations with the United Nations system, following its acquisition of Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly”.

The conclusions of the conference, delivered by Senator Alhmoud, will be submitted to the EUROMED Ministerial Meeting on Industry, which takes place on 11-12 May in Malta. They will also form the basis for future work undertaken by the PAM Panel on External Trade and Investments in the Mediterranean, which will be discussed at PAM’s Standing Committees’ meeting in Dubrovnik on 20 June 2011

PAM will circulate the conference conclusions to all National Parliaments and these conclusions will form the basis of future collaboration between PAM and the United Nations Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster for trade assistance to the Mediterranean countries at the national, regional and sub-regional levels.  

Key note speeches and presentations delivered at the Conference are available at: http://www.unece.org/trade/welcome.htm

Note to editors

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) includes: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Syria, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia and Turkey.

http://www.apm.org.mt/index.php?lang=en

EUROMED stands for Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the European Union’s south in North Africa and the Middle East.

Formerly known as the Barcelona Process, cooperation agreements were re-launched in 2008 as the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)

http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/index_en.htm

Ref: ECE/TRADE/11/P05


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