Inventing the Mediterranean of tomorrow. In line with the commitments made at the 2019 Summit of the Two Shores, the Mediterranean Worlds Forum – a French initiative – brought civil society actors from across the Mediterranean region to Marseille on February 7 and 8, to discuss solutions to our common challenges, including the launch of a number of new projects. AFD Group formalized new financing for work across the region.
Creation of a Mediterranean Talent Academy
In a video broadcast at the Forum, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the launch of a Mediterranean Talent Academy (Académie des Talents de la Méditerranée): "This academy will be hybrid and mobile. Each year, it will bring together entrepreneurs, artists, creators, students and researchers, and enable them to create networks, develop their ideas, acquire new skills, and prove that our Mediterranean region is capable of pulling together and combining all these talents."
Supported by AFD Campus, along with other partners (StartupBRICS, Institute for Desirable Futures, Center for Mediterranean Integration, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, and the French Interministerial Delegation for the Mediterranean), this academy runs a six-month training and action-based program designed to support young people from the Mediterranean basin with projects to promote change in the region.
The Academy will enable them to develop a better understanding of the Mediterranean area, focusing on themes such as the sea, climate, biodiversity, youth, culture and innovation. It will also help them to shape perceptions in order to freely contemplate narratives for a desirable Mediterranean region. Participants will also receive support for the implementation of their projects.
"It will give young entrepreneurs from the Southern Mediterranean an opportunity to enable their country or their region to benefit from the fruits of these interactions by boosting all sectors of their economy," Macron continued. Academy programming begins in September 2022.
New calls for projects for civil society organizations
The French President also announced that France via AFD Group will earmark nearly €3 million for civil society initiatives in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean between 2022 and 2024.
First up are several calls for micro-projects for youth-oriented, professional integration, inclusion, gender equality, and environmental and climate protection initiatives launched by Lab'ESS, a Tunisian organization belonging to the SOS Group. Grants will average €20,000 per project, for a total of €1.5 million, for a three-year period.
A network of support structures created for this occasion and inspired by Lab’ESS will back project leaders. Networking activities for Mediterranean civil society organizations will also be implemented by Solidarité Laïque Méditerranée.
This is the first time that AFD Group has contracted directly with non-French civil society organizations for this type of call for projects, an opportunity made possible by the recent planning law on solidarity-based development and the fight against global inequality.
Mediterranean program to promote an innovative digital ecosystem
AFD Group has also provided a €400,000 grant to finance the pursuit of activities by Emerging Mediterranean until further third-party funding is in place, following an initial €200,000 grant provided two years ago. Emerging Mediterranean is a "Tech For Good" Mediterranean start-up acceleration program launched by AFD Campus in 2020.
This initiative, accredited under the "Summit of the Two Shores" (Sommet des Deux Rives) scheme launched by the French Presidency, was selected from among 270 candidate projects aiming to make the Mediterranean a "Lab" for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It enables 90 social entrepreneurs from five countries – Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia – to benefit from financial support and personalized coaching.
The second phase of Emerging Mediterranean supports the emergence of a community of entrepreneurs and the scaling up of digital businesses.
The SALAM program for young civil society actors enters new phase
The next phase of the SALAM program was also formalized during the Mediterranean Worlds Forum. Coordinated by Expertise France in partnership with Labs'ESS (SOS Group), Solidarité Laïque and the Center for Mediterranean Integration, it aims to enhance the dialog between young civil society stakeholders and accelerate the creation of common projects and proposals for the development of the region.
A consultation bringing together 200 people under the age of 40 from some 20 countries in the Mediterranean basin has been compiling concrete proposals for the creation of a more sustainable, prosperous and integrated Mediterranean by 2030.
Together, they have helped to formulate proposals on the six key themes of the Forum. These proposals have been devised and drawn up by transnational working groups coordinated by Expertise France, which has appointed eight experts to lead thematic groups.
More than 300 actors and project leaders are participating in the SALAM project. They come from nine countries – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories – and discuss six unifying themes: knowledge and mobility, sustainable development, innovation, digital and entrepreneurship, culture, inclusion, cities and territories.