Inter Press ServiceMiddle East & North Africa – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Fri, 18 Jan 2019 20:26:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.8 The Arduous Search for Dignity Through Integration and a Pay Checkhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/arduous-search-dignity-integration-pay-check/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=arduous-search-dignity-integration-pay-check http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/arduous-search-dignity-integration-pay-check/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 21:20:19 +0000 Sejjari Mehdi http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159326 One of the most common words used by speakers during the Global Compact on Migration was “dignity”—granting migrants the dignity they deserve. As with any advocacy, there is a danger a word can lose meaning through overuse. But on the streets of Morocco the same word means a lot to migrants looking for work. And […]

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Migrants on a street in Casablanca, Morocco. Courtesy: Alié Dior Ndour

By Sejjari Mehdi
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 18 2018 (IPS)

One of the most common words used by speakers during the Global Compact on Migration was “dignity”—granting migrants the dignity they deserve. As with any advocacy, there is a danger a word can lose meaning through overuse. But on the streets of Morocco the same word means a lot to migrants looking for work. And when they find it—both work and dignity—it can alter the entire migration equation. 

“Despite the difficulties I encountered at first, being in an irregular situation, I am working today in a private communications company after an operation launched by the Moroccan authorities to give residency permits to tens of thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally,” says Ahmadou, a Nigerian migrant, who has been living in Morocco for five years.

At first, he was all set on reaching that supposed El Dorado for so many migrants: Europe. But now the situation is different. Ahmadou says professional integration is the key. If you have no job, he says, then the ambition to reach Europe will never disappear.

“I am able to provide the necessities of life, especially housing,” Ahmadou says. “Of course, there are immigrants who suffer because they have inappropriate skills, or because of the fact some companies give priority to local citizens.”

Amid increasing international bickering—with a lengthening list of countries abstaining from the Compact—eventually 164 countries signed the non-binding Compact for “safe, orderly and regular migration.”

The Compact seeks to ensure migrants enjoy rights within a global vision based on joint management of migration between countries of origin, transit and hosting. Maintaining dignity underpins this effort—both for migrants and countries at large—by establishing a set of principles fostering integration of migrants within societies, while giving states full sovereignty in the enactment of national migration policies.

Indeed, the Compact is not binding, rather it invites countries to “develop national short, medium and long-term policy goals regarding the inclusion of migrants in societies, including on labor market integration, family reunification, education, non-discrimination and health, including by fostering partnerships with relevant stakeholders.”

The process of integration lately has proved arduous in many countries—Germany becoming a poster child for such frictions after welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees from strife-torn countries—especially when it comes to employment for migrants, resulting in high unemployment levels.

Even if jobs are found, migrants in European countries are more likely to work on temporary contracts. Over time, though, the employment gap between migrants and native born does narrow in most countries, and even vanishes in a third, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED).

Morocco is in a similar position to European countries having shifted from being a country of origins and transit to also one of destination for migrants.

Hence Morocco’s authorities have launched a program through its Agence nationale de promotion de l’emploi et des compétences (ANAPEC)—which translates as the national agency for employment and skills—to facilitate access to job search assistance, provide employment assistance and promote work equity within companies.

Its ultimate objective is to is to guarantee an honourable and dignified life for regularised migrants by ensuring equitable access to the labor market.

But despite such measures, the number of migrants and refugees inserted into Morocco’s labor market remains limited. On any given day, young men from various countries in West Africa endlessly pace the streets around Marrakech’s iconic Jemaa el-Fnaa square and market place in the Medina quarter, amiably trying to hawk the likes of iPhones, watches, sunglasses and bright decorative shirts to passers-by.

Hence calls to increase the ANAPEC services and benefits available to migrants, to mobilise and stimulate micro-credit institutions to finance income-generating activities and enterprises by migrants, and to improve communications to incentivise the private sector about the importance of recruiting migrants.

“Parlais vous Francais?” one migrant, sits by his trinkets laid out on the street, says hopefully to a potential foreign customer walking by, asking if he speaks English. But a shake of the head and a school-boy French apology are all that follow.

The migrant smiles and keeps waiting for another potential customer.

“Continuing to improve the conditions of migrants’ access to public services and rights, including the right to decent work, will push lots of migrants to realise their dreams here without the need to ride the waves of death across the Mediterranean,” Ahmadou says.

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Tunisia – the Exceptionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/tunisia-the-exception/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tunisia-the-exception http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/tunisia-the-exception/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 16:44:11 +0000 Erik Larsson http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159283 Eight years have passed since the Arab Spring. In many countries, the uprising was crushed, but in Tunisia democracy gained a foothold. Arbetet Global travelled to the small country town Side Bouzid to find out why. Through the car window, two boys around the age of 10 can be seen pushing a hen to the […]

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Why Did You Come to Marrakech?http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/why-did-you-come-to-marrakech/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-did-you-come-to-marrakech http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/why-did-you-come-to-marrakech/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 21:57:39 +0000 Zainab Aboulfaraj http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159338 The whole world met at Marrakech, Morocco, during the two days of the Global Compact for Migration. IPS met six people to ask what led them to come to this international event.

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By Zainab Aboulfaraj
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 2018 (IPS)

The whole world met at Marrakech, Morocco, during the two days of the Global Compact for Migration. IPS met six people to ask what led them to come to this international event.

Kostas Stamoulis, assistant director-general at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO).
“This is a big event, this is a Compact that is signed by a big number of countries. It looks at migration as a potential force for development, so migration cannot be resolved by one country alone because it involves many countries. The only way that we have a clear way forward on migration will be through an intergovernmental agreement. This is it. It was produced mainly by governments and other stakeholders, such as civil society, the UN, etc. It’s an intergovernmental document. The governments plan to make migration a choice rather than a necessity, that’s the idea.”

Claudine Mahoro, Rwandese journalist:
“Rwanda also has migrants, because migrants are not only coming from Africa to Europe, but there’s also migrants that come to our country from places like Congo. People need to know what’s going on and what the pact is about. How is it going to give them rights?”

Lawrence Egulu, working at the Ugandese Ministry of Labor and Social Development
“In Uganda, we believe in multilateralism, we need to do this together. This Global Compact is part of a globalization project. Migration is a big component of globalization. If it’s about moving from one country to another, then we have to handle it as members of a United Nations country, as part of a global village—we want to be part of the Global Compact.”

Cilene Victore, Brazilian reporter at TV Cultura and professor of journalism at a college from Sao Paulo.
“I’m here as a journalist of course, but as a professor too. It’s important to put the humanity before the discussion about policy makers. You can give more voice to the people who suffered. It’s important to come because there’s a discussion, people are talking about the New York Declaration. We are living the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the second war, and why?”

Wael Maaninou, Moroccan student in politics and journalist for Radio Migration.
“I’m here in Marrakech to cover the events on migration for almost 10 days. We had a lot of programs to do with migrants’ rights and we have done a lot of interviews, and took a lot of declarations. I’m here also because I need this as a future journalist, or whatever I’ll be in the future, to see how the wold works, the diplomacy, how the UN works. As a student, it may give me some opportunities to do further training, if I stay in touch with some people. I met with a lot of journalists from all around the world. “

Houda Hasswane, Moroccan freelance journalist based in Istanbul.
“I came to this pact because I’m a freelance journalist. I worked a lot on subjects about migration and migrants, here and in other countries. The journalist must be informed, be aware of everything going on. We have to study this pact. We have to know which countries adopted or didn’t adopt this Global Compact in order to follow up after the end of this international UN event, to see the impact.”

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Q&A: How Will the Global Compact for Migration Aid the Work of Civil Societyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/qa-will-global-compact-migration-aid-work-civil-society/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-will-global-compact-migration-aid-work-civil-society http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/qa-will-global-compact-migration-aid-work-civil-society/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:42:35 +0000 Steven Nsamaza http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159207 IPS correspondent Steven Nsamaza interviews CLAUDIA INTERIANO from Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democratico de Derecho

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Claudia Interiano from Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democratico de Derecho, a Latin American organisation that works to access justice for persons killed or missing during transit through Mexico to the United States. Credit: Steven Nsamaza/IPS

By Steven Nsamaza
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 2018 (IPS)

Claudia Interiano from Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democratico de Derecho, a Latin American organisation that works to access justice for persons killed or missing during transit through Mexico to the United States, spoke to IPS about the foreseeable future of migration in a world after the end of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) conference.

Inter Press Service (IPS): What does your organisation do?

Claudia Interiano (CI): My organisation works to access justice—we seek to restore human rights for migrants, for people who have disappeared during journeys, particularly women, and we are also part of the Latin American Block, a network of non-governmental organisations in the region.

IPS: Following the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration, what is the way forward?

CI: That is a good question and a big one. For us, we have been working on all of these things, women issues, people who disappear, human rights of migrants and their families, for many years. What the Global Compact for Migration means for us is that it is a tool, because the whole world has been negotiating and having conversations that have now advanced. Before, migration has not been taken as importantly as it needs to be.

From here, we go back to our countries and will have to sit down with the states of origin, the states of transit and the states of destination involved in migration. As every state has its own difficulties, we as the civil society need to ask for the introduction of these policies the governments have agreed in Marrakesh and laid out by the GCM.

For example, objective eight of the Compact concerns the exchange of information about people who disappear, and trying to save lives through coordinated international efforts. We are going to ask governments to support the rights of migrants, and to ask what their polices are going to be to represent people’s voices in each country.

IPS: Will the Global Compact for Migration help your work as a civil society organisation?

CI: Yes, I think so. It’s going to be a tool, not a solution for all the problems we have in our countries. The Global Compact for Migration will be a way to push governments to ask them to implement what they agreed to, because it is their responsibility.

IPS: The Global Compact for Migration is not legally binding, so how will it work?

CI: That is an interesting thing, and that could be an advantage because it starts political discussions and agreements. It starts the conversation: it is like the first step to the development of migration that the world needs. In the beginning, it may not work as it should: some governments may not want to commit. But at least they will have started the conversation.

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Excerpt:

IPS correspondent Steven Nsamaza interviews CLAUDIA INTERIANO from Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democratico de Derecho

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Final Thoughts as the Global Compact for Migration Starts its Own Long Journey Against the Oddshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/final-thoughts-global-compact-migration-starts-long-journey-odds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=final-thoughts-global-compact-migration-starts-long-journey-odds http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/final-thoughts-global-compact-migration-starts-long-journey-odds/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:39:28 +0000 Steven Nsamaza http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159205 As the red carpets are rolled up in Marrakesh after two days of intense declarations and commitments by more than 160 countries, what are the smaller players in this global phenomenon taking back with them? During the final presentations concluding the two-day Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), assuring voices were heard […]

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Louise Arbour, the U.N. Special Representative for International Migration, urged those who were still sceptical of the Compact to reread it, very carefully, and form their own opinion. Courtesy: Global Compact for Migration

By Steven Nsamaza
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 2018 (IPS)

As the red carpets are rolled up in Marrakesh after two days of intense declarations and commitments by more than 160 countries, what are the smaller players in this global phenomenon taking back with them?

During the final presentations concluding the two-day Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), assuring voices were heard on the future of migration, while also trying to counter misinformation about the content of the GCM document.

“We came here with a clear goal and we have achieved it,” says María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the United Nations General Assembly.

Nasser Bourita, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister and also President of the GCM Conference, declared that the GCM has “breathed new life” into the migration issue, while acknowledging it still remains for the Compact to be implemented by U.N. Member States.  

Louise Arbour, the U.N. Special Representative for International Migration, urged those who were still sceptical of the Compact to reread it, very carefully, and form their own opinion, taking heed of the U.N. Secretary-General’s points about dispelling the myths surrounding the overall issue of migration.

“For the first time in the history of the United Nations, we have been able to tackle an issue that was long seen as out of bounds for a truly concerted global effort,” says Arbour, noting that there is probably no principle more fundamental in international affairs than the geographic allocation of space on the planet, confirmed by the universal recognition of State sovereignty.

Inter-governmental consultations are expected to continue up to Dec. 19, when the Compact will formally be adopted. Then it will be reviewed every four years, starting in 2022.

“The Global Compact for Migration is a new promise and history will be the judge,” Bourita says.

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Q&A: The Global Compact that Respects Human Rights During all Stages of Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/qa-global-compact-respects-human-rights-stages-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=qa-global-compact-respects-human-rights-stages-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/qa-global-compact-respects-human-rights-stages-migration/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:44:31 +0000 Youssef Lakhder http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159193 IPS Correspondent Youssef Lakhder spoke to YOUNOUS ARBAOUI, advocacy and coordination officer at the National Migrant Protection Platform (PNPM)

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By Youssef Lakhder
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 2018 (IPS)

Amid the hustle and bustle of the two-day Global Compact for Migration, IPS spoke to Younous Arbaoui, advocacy and coordination officer at the National Migrant Protection Platform (PNPM), about the importance of the GCM in tackling the migration challenge that the world faces.  

Inter Press Service (IPS): What is National Migrant Protection Platform (PNPM)?

Younous Arbaoui (YA): Formed in 2009, the National Migrant Protection the National Migrant Protection Platform (known by its French acronym PNPM) is a network of civil society associations working on and advocating for migration. Thanks to their fieldwork, the PNPM capitalises on information it receives to advocate for the human rights of migrants. We work on three main axes: the first is the legal protection of migrants, the second is the protection of children, and the third is access to health services. Recently we started working on access to socio-professional training and to employment.

IPS: What is the purpose of your network’s in Morocco?

YA: We focus on advocacy, so we do not provide direct services to migrants. We advocate for their rights, such as the right of justice that is still not effective in Morocco. We also engage in dialogue with ministers, particularly on health, to encourage the authorities to provide access to health services for migrants, especially secondary and tertiary services, which are not yet guaranteed. When it comes to child protection, we advocate for the rights of children, such as the right to identity. This was achieved recently, with the Minister of Health issuing a ministerial letter explaining the need to give birth notices to ensure children can confirm their identities.

IPS: What are the benefits of the adopted Global Compact for Migration?

YA: The pact, even if it is not legally binding, is a document of reference for us as an advocacy player, and as Morocco welcomed this conference, it will have a moral obligation to respect and implement it. Usually we refer to the convention of human rights, but now it is possible to also use the Compact, especially with regard to accessing services, as objective 15 recommends States provide basic services to migrants no matter their status. It’s true that things won’t change immediately, it takes time.

IPS: What will change at the global level?

YA: The Pact emphasises global collaboration between states on migration. Some people are criticising the pact as they say it will only help countries in the North and not those in the South, because it will facilitate the readmission and return of migrants who are, for example, in Europe. That’s true, but the readmission and return process must respect human rights, also, and so it is good the Compact deals with this. We are not advocating for migrants to be returned, but that when this happens that their rights are still respected. The good thing about the pact is that it says the human rights of migrants must be respected during all the stages of the migratory process, from the country of origin right up to and including any return process.

IPS: How do you react to accusations that some NGOs receive money to prevent migrants [from leaving Morocco]?

YA: Yes, it is true that this accusation exists—they say that civil society receives money from the European Union to hold migrants in Morocco. But it is an old story that should be dismissed. Morocco has been a country of reception for several years, and the fact that the Kingdom has introduced a policy for national asylum and a migration strategy to integrate them, and the fact our associations help migrants here in Morocco, is testament that the accusation is unfounded.

Let us not forget that the way to Europe is dangerous. There are a lot of migrants who die at sea, and this factor should not be forgotten. Contrary to the accusation, what should be noted are the humanist efforts by the associations and the State, who try by all means to save migrant lives. The control of Morocco’s maritime borders is the country’s responsibility, and so carrying that out does not make the country one of the constables of Europe. We must not see things like that, because doing this saves lives.

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Excerpt:

IPS Correspondent Youssef Lakhder spoke to YOUNOUS ARBAOUI, advocacy and coordination officer at the National Migrant Protection Platform (PNPM)

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Radio Migration – the Station with a Different Message about Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/radio-migration-station-different-message-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=radio-migration-station-different-message-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/radio-migration-station-different-message-migration/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:40:24 +0000 Moez Jemai http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159180 The topic of migration has been beaming across the airwaves of Marrakech, Morocco, to bring light to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration conference (GCM) and all its myriad components. Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organisations, Radio Migration began broadcasting on Dec. 4, […]

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Radio Migration aims to raise awareness of the importance of the central topic and those in the middle of it: migration and migrants. Courtesy: Radio Migration

By Moez Jemai
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

The topic of migration has been beaming across the airwaves of Marrakech, Morocco, to bring light to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration conference (GCM) and all its myriad components.

Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organisations, Radio Migration began broadcasting on Dec. 4, ahead of the conference, covering various side activities and events organised by local and international civil society components, and by migrant rights activists.

Now that the conference is underway—and the Compact has been adopted, as of the morning of Dec. 10—the station’s programmes are focusing on decisions and issues as they happen. It all aims to raise awareness of the importance of the central topic and those in the middle of it: migration and migrants.

“The radio station has a clearly defined focus on migration from a human rights perspective, in order to ensure recognition and dissemination of migrants’ rights,” says the radio station project’s coordinator Mohyi El Ghattass, who notes how the station was given a special dispensation by the government.

“We obtained a formal and temporary authorisation from the Moroccan government, because community radio stations of this country do not yet have licenses to broadcast on FM radio.”

The radio employs 20 people, comprising Maghrebi nationalities from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, who received special training on covering thematic migration issues. This team of technicians and journalists has been broadcasting for 8 hours a day while covering a panorama of migration-related events happening around the city both before and during the GCM.

The station’s editorial approach has been to disseminate information that addresses both civil society and government actors to create a positive debate and spur evaluation of the factors involved in order to benefit the overall issue at stake.

The station has also striven to create open dialogue between different parties involved on migration issues by hosting independent experts, official organisations and activists involved in the rights of migrants, as well as discussing causes of migration and how they relate to specific groups such as women and young people.

Such an approach makes for a contrast with much of the reporting about migrants in mainstream media around the world, much of which focuses on stereotypes and negative narratives, says Carolina Gottardo with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia, one of the 400 civil society groups that has come to Marrakech to be involved in the conference and its discussion on migration.

One element of this radio station’s operation, which sets it apart from the other 700 registered media at the conference, is the involvement of a number of migrants in the editorial team to ensure the migrants’ concerns both directly influence the station’s programs and are addressed by broadcast content. The station has also opened its shows to several different nationalities to talk about the particularities of migration across different countries.

But the station’s policy of inclusive employment for migrants doesn’t mean those individuals are reassured by the Compact they are reporting on.

“Will the migrant move freely where he wants and with dignity after this? No,” says Armel, a Cameroon migrant and volunteer facilitator at Radio Migration. “For me, nothing will change. The pact itself is written in English, while the majority of migrants are francophones, so we do not control what is in this long text.”

When it comes to ownership of its own message, the station has striven to maintain its independence.

“Independence is a fundamental principle for the success of the radio station achieving its objective of delivering good quality news about its subject matter,” Ghattass says.

This means, he says, the station has avoided political or religious angles influencing its migration coverage, an aspect that many are increasingly concerned about when it comes to how immigration stories are often shaped in the global press.

“Always include the voice of migrants and civil society for fair reporting,” Gottardo says. “Use the term undocumented or irregular migrant rather than illegal—the vast majority of the world’s migrants are regular.”

“I find that, in general, journalists tend to opt for the sensational news rather than to go to the bottom things, Abel says. “And then, the speech can be hateful and does not push for improving the situation of migrants.”

Those involved with the station hope it ultimately underlines the importance and role of community media in defending human rights.

The station became the voice of civil society that is concerned by immigration issues,” says Jalal al-Makhfy, a volunteer radio journalist from another Moroccan station who has been producing a daily talk show that features guests from numerous walks of life related to immigration.

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A Migrant Turned Saviour of Othershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/migrant-turned-saviour-others/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migrant-turned-saviour-others http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/migrant-turned-saviour-others/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:23:04 +0000 El Mahdi Hannane http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159171 Seven years ago, when Cameroon began experiencing inter-regional conflict, Armand Loughy, a 55-year old Cameroonian psychiatrist, strapped her youngest child on her back and with her five other children embarked on the dangerous Journey from Cameroon towards Rabat, Morocco’s capital. They fled the deteriorating security situation in Cameroon, looking for a better life. Loughy, who […]

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Armand Loughy is a migrant from Cameroon. Her own experiences pushed her to campaign on migration issues, shifting from being a refugee herself to becoming an activist. Credit: El Mahdi Hannane/IPS

By El Mahdi Hannane
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

Seven years ago, when Cameroon began experiencing inter-regional conflict, Armand Loughy, a 55-year old Cameroonian psychiatrist, strapped her youngest child on her back and with her five other children embarked on the dangerous Journey from Cameroon towards Rabat, Morocco’s capital.
They fled the deteriorating security situation in Cameroon, looking for a better life.
Loughy, who is now also a migrant activist based in Morocco, listened attentively to the on-going discussions during the opening ceremony of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in Marrakech.

Her own experiences pushed her to campaign on migration issues, shifting from being a refugee herself to becoming an activist—one of the most vocal personalities in the Moroccan civil society space.

“We went through the desert and where the fear consumed us. Many of my fellow migrants got hurt by bandits and died—in the most horrible way with their bodies dumped in the desert,” Loughy recalls.

After arriving in Morocco, she faced many difficulties in finding a job before finally securing work at a psychiatric clinic in Rabat.
With a well-paying job, Loughy could easily have forgotten her traumatic journey and suffering and moved on. But she chose not to—her decision to start helping migrants came at the right time as Morocco was also establishing favourable policies on how to handle migrants.

This policy shift, according to Loughy, enabled her to become “a candle that would light up the darkness of migrants.”

In 2014, she founded the Association of Women Migrants in Morocco, working to attract other migrants. Gradually, her association gained respect in the civil society space.

“In the beginning, the children of the poor neighbourhood where I was active threw stones at me,” Loughy says. “But after many months of continuous work, I became familiar and respected by locals and migrants.”

Her organisation is active in the Sidi Musa district of Salé—about 330 km north of Marrakech—where hundreds of migrants occupy small rooms, either working or begging on the streets, and then returning to the ghetto in the evening.

The children of these migrants, some of whom were born in Morocco, until recently had nothing to do. Some accompanied mothers to beg, others played in the neighbourhood all day without any clear future—a painful reality that Loughy and her organisation acted upon.

She presented a proposal to Salé’s Regional Directorate of Education and Training, and her ideas were welcomed. Classrooms were allocated within the public educational institutions for migrants’ children.

These have now become independent departments with their own teaching staff, and now even teach local Moroccan students.

“We are trying to use education as a tool for integration,” Loughy says, adding the association is making a big drive to inform migrants about the importance of education to ensure as many children as possible are enrolled into school.

Many migrants, especially those who do not have residence documents, remain sceptical of these types of initiatives, Loughy says. But the hope is that better educated children of migrants can inspire change at home and between communities.

Loughy dreams of a united African continent and believes that the best way to achieve coexistence among the continent’s peoples is through education and knowledge. After listening to discussions at the GCM about the tools and partnerships needed to give that dream a chance, she will leave Marrakech to return to spreading education among the children of Morocco’s migrants

“We have learnt that when students start living together, then parents can also learn how to coexist,” Loughy says.

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Migration and the Economy—an Inseparable Pairinghttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/migration-economy-inseparable-pairing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migration-economy-inseparable-pairing http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/migration-economy-inseparable-pairing/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 13:35:07 +0000 Alie Dior Ndour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159165 On the streets of Casablanca there is only one thought on the mind of Ibrahima, a young Senegalese migrant. “I want to go to Europe to give meaning to my life and to help my family back in my home country live a better life,” Ibrahima says. This is the most familiar answer that most […]

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Migrants on a street in Casablanca, Morocco. Courtesy: Alié Dior Ndour

By Alie Dior Ndour
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 11 2018 (IPS)

On the streets of Casablanca there is only one thought on the mind of Ibrahima, a young Senegalese migrant.

“I want to go to Europe to give meaning to my life and to help my family back in my home country live a better life,” Ibrahima says.

This is the most familiar answer that most young and energetic migrants give when asked about the reasons for leaving their countries, as they often are part of a constant flow northward from the Global South (although migration between countries of the South actually far outweighs this South to North flow).

While many migrants flee wars and political persecutions, economic causes are often a major influence too. In poor countries where unemployment is sky high, all too often people, especially the poorest, have no choice but to go elsewhere in search of economic opportunities.

To achieve this they are ready to risk lives by getting on shaky and unreliable boats run by unscrupulous operators making a living out of ferrying people across dangerous waters to the fabled other side where, it is believed, a better life awaits.

It is this relentless trend that propelled global leaders to come up with the first ever intergovernmental Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). During the Dec. 10 to 11 gathering of leaders and representatives from more than 160 countries in Marrakesh—about 250 kilometres south of Casablanca—to adopt the Compact, the economic factors triggering migration dominated the discourse.

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations discussed how migrant remittances reached 650 billion dollars in 2017, representing three times the official development aid that developing countries receive from the developed community.

Guterres pointed out that this amount, as important as it is, represents only 15 percent of migrants’ revenues. Hence 75 percent of their money stays in the countries in which they work through taxes and consumption—a sizeable contribution to the prosperity of their host country.

“The countries of the North need migrants,” Guterres said.  “They occupy jobs abandoned by nationals and help offset the demographic decline observed in most Western countries.”

This point was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who stressed that “migration for work creates prosperity for all,” adding how Europe “needs a lot of manpower.”

Erol Kiresepi, CEO of Santa Farma Pharmaceuticals and a representative of the private sector at the GCM, said companies around the world are facing a lack of talent, hence they are paying particular attention to migrants with the skills to meet the surfeit in skilled labour.

Against the narrative of Africans racing to escape the continent, people point out how, as with everywhere in the world, people prefer to live and work in their home environment if conditions permit.

“We want partnership, exchange and investment and not aid,” said Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone, while emphasising the importance of partnerships and investments in the Global South.

But when preoccupied with economic survival, the likes of Ibrahima, the young Senegalese, often do not know or care that the leaders of the world appear to be on their side in Marrakech.

Those global representatives have, in theory, adopted what could provide an economic lifeline to Ibrahima and millions of other young Africans trekking the dangerous journey across deserts and oceans in search of economic success.

For now, though, until the economic factors pushing people away from their countries are tangibly addressed—read changed—migration and economics will remain an inseparable pair.

“We do not have the choice,” Ibrahima says. “Either we stay in the country to do nothing because politicians think only of themselves, or we take the risk of leaving.”

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Morocco’s Migrant Workers Struggle to Send Money Homehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/moroccos-migrant-workers-struggle-send-money-home/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 22:07:44 +0000 Danielle Engolo http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159142 Morocco may be hosting the United Nation’s historic Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) conference. But when it comes to remittances—migrant employees, entrepreneurs and business owners all face the same challenge in Morocco: sending money legally to their home countries. Remittances is an all-important issue for migrants and their families left in […]

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Last year, global diaspora remittances totalled 650 billion dollars, three times the amount of foreign aid given to developing countries. Credit: Kristin Palitza/IPS

By Danielle Engolo
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Morocco may be hosting the United Nation’s historic Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) conference. But when it comes to remittances—migrant employees, entrepreneurs and business owners all face the same challenge in Morocco: sending money legally to their home countries.

Remittances is an all-important issue for migrants and their families left in the land of their origin, and one of the compact’s 23 objectives. However, Moroccan legislation limits money transfers abroad, in effect preventing migrant workers supporting their families or investing in their home countries.

“I have been working for more than 4 years now in Morocco, but I have never been able to invest in my home country,” says Esther, a Congolese migrant working as a journalist in Morocco. “I cannot help my family, because Moroccan money cannot be sent abroad.”

Last year, global diaspora remittances totalled 650 billion dollars, three times the amount of foreign aid given to developing countries. This continual familial fiscal flow significantly helps reduce poverty, by providing funds for health, education, and the launching of businesses.

Morocco’s own diaspora plays a significant part in its own economy. Money transfers from the Moroccan diaspora reached more than 60 billion dollars in 2015, representing 6 percent of the country’s GDP, according to a 2017 World Bank report.

Nevertheless, if Morocco is aware of the importance of its diaspora’s role in its economy, that isn’t reflected in its financial policy that does not allow the country’s migrant workers to also contribute to the development of their home countries.

Like most migrant workers in Morocco—the majority of whom come from sub-Saharan countries—Esther fell back on informal money transfer networks to sustain her family, giving money to an agent in Morocco.

“Several times I sent some money to my family through these informal networks, but I was never at ease because it is risky,” Esther says. “Most of the time you don’t know the person you are negotiating with. He or she might steal your money.”

She recalls that two years ago, her cousin, also living in Morocco, fell victim to a dishonest money transfer network that he had used before. “My cousin used to make money transfers with a friend of his. But one day, he gave his friend 17,000 dirhams ($1,900) to transfer to his family. The guy vanished.”

Due to such risks, some migrants adopt other strategies, such as annual fiscal pilgrimages, taking the money limit permitted by Moroccan customs. Emilie, a Congolese hairdresser in Casablanca, travels back to her home country every six months to buy merchandise and deposit earnings in a Congo account.

“I have no choice, I have to travel regularly in order to save my earnings at home, knowing that I cannot leave Morocco with a big amount of money,” Emilie says.

But while this option allows migrants to subvert money transfer barriers and the risks of dishonest brokers, it costs much more because of the flight, which for many migrant workers is unaffordable and hence makes the strategy unfeasible.

Unbeknownst to most migrants, a Moroccan law actually does allow people to send a set amount per year—10 000 dirhams (1,050 dollars)—to each member of a person’s immediate family.

But this method requires lots of paperwork and proofs of identity. Also, members of the same family must have the same name and if not the case—a common occurrence among families in sub-Saharan families—the bank will reject a transfer demand or demand additional papers legalized at the embassy.

Often banks simply decline to assist. Observers note how it’s not just migrant workers who are negatively impacted by tight money transfer rules in countries like Morocco that drive people to use illegal money transfer networks: government exchequers lose out on the likes of fees and taxes generated by legal transfer systems.

“Despite these constraints, I think it is a step [in the right direction] to be able to send money, even if it is only for family support,” says Esther, while noting how investment remains a challenge. “I thought about buying an apartment in my country, but it is not possible to send a big amount of money.”

Objective 22 of the GCM’s cooperative framework aims to “Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits.” Whether that proves good enough for migrant workers in Morocco remains to be seen, now that the compact has officially been adopted as of the morning of Dec. 10.

“If I leave Morocco today and return back to my home country, there will be nothing there for me,” Esther says. “It is really a pity after so many years of work.”

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Global Compact for Migration Backed by Most of the Worldhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/global-compact-migration-backed-world/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=global-compact-migration-backed-world http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/global-compact-migration-backed-world/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:25:29 +0000 Steven Nsamaza http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159138 Safe, orderly and regular migration received support today, Dec. 10, with the adoption by 164 countries of the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration. After a few last-minute hitches, including more international tension and argument than was welcome, the intergovernmental conference taking place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech agreed […]

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Today 164 countries agreed to adopt the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration. Courtesy: Steven Nsamaza

By Steven Nsamaza
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Safe, orderly and regular migration received support today, Dec. 10, with the adoption by 164 countries of the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration.

After a few last-minute hitches, including more international tension and argument than was welcome, the intergovernmental conference taking place in the Moroccan city of Marrakech agreed to a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), a proactive document that will guide States on all matters related to migration.

Well timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the historic adoption of the GCM was presided over by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who urged countries to treat the Compact as an obligation to human rights that will benefit all.

“We are not establishing a new right to migrate. No. There is not a right for anyone to go anywhere at any time according to his or her whim,” Guterres said during the official ceremony to adopt the Compact. “What we are establishing is the obligation to respect the human rights of migrants—which of course is absolutely obvious when we at the same time celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would be unconceivable to exclude migrants from the scope of the Universal Declaration.”

The conference was preceded by increasing concerns about certain U.N. member States not supporting the Compact. Some declined outright to participate and adopt the Compact, while others said their final decision must await further internal deliberation. The United States was the most notable and voluble naysayer, condemning the compact and labelling it a violation of national sovereignty.

“We believe the Compact and the process that led to its adoption, including the New York Declaration, represent an effort by the United Nations to advance global governance at the expense of the sovereign right of States to manage their immigration systems in accordance with their national laws, policies, and interests,” the U.S. government said in a national statement released on the eve of the conference.

Other countries who bridled against the compact or refused to sign it include Hungary, Australia, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy, Switzerland and Chile.

“It will make an enormous positive impact in the lives of millions of people—migrants themselves, the people they leave behind and the communities that will then host them,” said Louise Arbour, the U.N. Special Representative for International Migration.

“This of course will depend on capturing the spirit of today’s event to move to the implementation of the multiplicity of initiatives that this Global Compact will permit member states to put in place. I am delighted to echo the words of the Secretary-General: it is a wonderful occasion, really a historic moment and a really great achievement for multilateralism.”

The adopted Compact lays out 23 objectives covering all aspects of migration, with each having a general goal and catalogue of possible actions that can be implemented by member states. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has drawn enormous criticism for her decision to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees from places like Syria and Afghanistan to her country. It is a decision that may well have cost her another term in power as she recently announced she will not seek re-election. However,  Merkel remarked that the adopted Compact is “about nothing less than the foundation of our international cooperation.”

Such potential significance has attracted to the conference, in addition to high-powered diplomats and officials, approximately 400 non-governmental organizations from civil society, the private sector and academia, and over 700 registered press.

The ceremony adopting the Compact also included speaker Cheryl Perera, a prominent representative of migrant communities, and founder of OneChild, a non-governmental organization which seeks to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children abroad. She called for an end to the drivers of irregular migration on the large scale, and for better protection of migrants on the smaller scale.

“We must do better together,” Perera said. “It is important that we involve the private sector, specifically the national airlines, hotels and others to protect children from trafficking.”

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U.N. Remains Defiant Amid Last Minute U-turns on Global Compact for Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/u-n-remains-defiant-amid-last-minute-u-turns-global-compact-migration/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:21:24 +0000 Friday Phiri http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159114 Amidst negative sentiments and last-minute withdrawals from the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by some member countries, the United Nations says the regrettable decisions are being fuelled by misinformation. Addressing the media Dec. 9 on the eve of the historic two-day GCM conference in Marrakech, set against the dramatic backdrop of […]

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In refugee camps at Dolo Odo, Ethiopia there is enough food for small markets to operate. One in every 70 people around the world is caught up in a crisis, including the refugee crisis, with more than 130 million people expected to need humanitarian aid next year. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

By Friday Phiri
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 10 2018 (IPS)

Amidst negative sentiments and last-minute withdrawals from the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by some member countries, the United Nations says the regrettable decisions are being fuelled by misinformation.

Addressing the media Dec. 9 on the eve of the historic two-day GCM conference in Marrakech, set against the dramatic backdrop of Morocco’s snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, addressed the question of whether the U.N. could have been better engaged with countries to persuade them to come on board.

“I have to tell you, I am not convinced you can persuade those who don’t want to be convinced,” Arbour says. “I am skeptical it would not have turned it into a dialogue of the deaf.”

The GCM is the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner, providing a platform for cooperation on migration. Its genesis lies in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted unanimously by the U.N. General Assembly in 2016. It is the culmination of 18 months of discussions and consultations among Member States, and other actors, including national and local officials, civil society, private and public sectors and migrants themselves.

“It creates no right to migrate; it places no imposition on States; it does not constitute so-called ‘soft’ law—it is not legally binding,” Arbour says. “It expressly permits States to distinguish, as they see fit, between regular and irregular migrants, in accordance with existing international law. This is not my interpretation of the text—it is the text.”

She added that it is surprising there has been so much misinformation about what the Compact is and what its text says, emphasising that “the adoption of the migration compact is a re-affirmation of the values and principles embodied in the U.N. Charter and in international law.”

This was, she conceded, notwithstanding several member States who have already declined to participate, others making last-minute indications they would not adopt the compact, while some have stated their final decision must await further internal deliberation. These include, most notably, the United States. Other countries also include Austria, Australia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Latvia and Bulgaria, among others.

United Nations Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour speaks to the media in Morocco. Courtesy: Global Compact for Migration/CC by 2.0

“It is regrettable whenever any State withdraws from a multilateral process, on a global issue, the outcome of which has generated overwhelming support,” Arbour says. “It is particularly regrettable when a State pulls out from a negotiated agreement in which it actively participated a short time before.”

Arbour emphasised the process of adoption would still go on as planned, with over 150 States registered to attend, joined by over 400 partners from the U.N. system, civil society, private sector and academia.

Even with the adoption of the compact, the unwelcome last-minute withdrawals and negative sentiments around the compact have unsettled several stakeholders from civil society.

Carolina Gottardo, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia, says the civil society movement is concerned with deliberate false information being peddled about the compact.

“It is your role as media to report facts and ignore political ideology,” Gottardo said during an IPS and U.N. Foundation training session for journalists on the eve of the conference.

The GCM defines 23 objectives covering all aspects of migration. Each objective comprises a general goal and a catalogue of possible actions, drawn from best practices, that States may choose to utilise to implement their national migration priorities.

“Many challenges still stand in the way of implementation – not least the toxic, ill-informed narrative that too often persists when it comes to migrants,” Arbour says.

During an evening reception for U.N. delegates that followed Arbour’s announcement, António Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, officially launched the U.N. Network on Migration, an agile and inclusive network of all key stakeholders on migration—U.N. agencies that have migration components, private sector, civil society and others—with the aim of mobilising the full resources and expertise to assist Member States in their endeavour to implement the 23 objectives outlined in the compact. 

He announced that the “the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will play a central role” in the network.

The U.N. chief also expressed confidence in the new network, highlighting some of its core features, saying it would focus on collaboration and have an inclusive structure, while embodying U.N. values, like diversity and an openness to working with all partners, at all levels.

“Your participation in this conference is a clear demonstration of the importance our global community places on the pursuit of the better management of international migration, through a cooperative approach that is grounded in the principles of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination and human rights,” Guterres told conference delegates.

But, as many attending the GCM acknowledge, in this age of social media and polarised political posturing, success all too often depends more on message and narrative—one of the main challenges the GCM, and the migration issue in general, faces.

“Report on facts, not political ideology,” Gottardo told journalists. “Avoid dichotomies between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ movements of people.”

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Middle Eastern Countries Can Overcome Pressing Challenges By Developing a Blue Economyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/middle-eastern-countries-can-overcome-pressing-challenges-developing-blue-economy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=middle-eastern-countries-can-overcome-pressing-challenges-developing-blue-economy http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/12/middle-eastern-countries-can-overcome-pressing-challenges-developing-blue-economy/#respond Fri, 07 Dec 2018 13:17:17 +0000 Maged Srour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=159082 The Blue Economy is becoming an ‘El Dorado’, a new frontier for traditionally arid and water-stressed nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to Christian Averous, Vice President of Plan Bleu, one of the Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan developed under the United Environment Regional Seas Programme. But against […]

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Aquaponics, an innovative practice in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, is revolutionising the way of conceiving food supply in many MENA countries. This dated picture shows fish pools in Palestine. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS.

By Maged Srour
ROME, Dec 7 2018 (IPS)

The Blue Economy is becoming an ‘El Dorado’, a new frontier for traditionally arid and water-stressed nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to Christian Averous, Vice President of Plan Bleu, one of the Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan developed under the United Environment Regional Seas Programme.

But against the backdrop of the enormous potential represented by the Blue Economy, there are numerous challenges and critical issues that the region faces. Overfishing, water scarcity, highly salty waters, climate change, high evaporation rates, the oil industry and pollution are just some of things that place at risk the development and conservation of marine and aquatic resources in the MENA region.

In addition, rapid population growth throughout the region complicates things. According to the U.S.-based Population Reference Bureau, “MENA experienced the highest rate of population growth of any region in the world over the past century” and is growing at a current rate of 2 percent per year. It’s the second-highest growth rate in the world after sub-Saharan Africa, the organisation says.

Population growth leads to an increased demand for fish as a food source and this, combined with poor regulations and rapacious fishing practices, ultimately leads to an overall decline in marine populations. Eventually it compromises the survival status of the Red Sea coral reef, which is already highly threatened by pollution, unsustainable tourism and climate change, (even though corals in this region proved to be resistant to global warming).

The MENA region has also had to cope with poor management of water resources, with agriculture using 85 percent of freshwater. Available freshwater in the region is mainly underground and its non-renewable stocks are being depleted, warns the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Over the last four decades, the availability of freshwater in the MENA region has decreased by 40 percent and will probably decrease by 50 percent by 2050. The consequences could be disastrous in terms of food security, rural livelihoods and economies.

The Blue Economy: a way to overcome challenges and boost development?

“It is very important to promote an ocean-based economy in today’s world, as governments struggle for economic growth, [particularly] in the MENA region as well as in the whole Mediterranean region and in the Gulf countries,” Averous tells IPS. 

This means that countries in the region should not only seek to preserve aquatic and marine resources, but should also invest in these same resources to foster a process of economic development and growth through them.

Farmed Tilapia on sale in a Cairo supermarket. Local farmers from Egypt, Algeria and Oman participated in farmer-to-farmer study tours, visited 15 integrated agri-aquaculture farms, and learnt new skills and techniques from each other. Credit: Cam McGrath/IPS.

Fisheries and Aquaculture

But best practices across the region are demonstrating just how much these countries believe in the enormous potential of the Blue Economy. One example is aquaponics, an innovative practice in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors that is revolutionising the food supply in many MENA countries. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture — the practice of fish farming and hydroponics (the cultivation of plants in water without soil).

“While hydroponics still uses some chemical fertilisers to grow plants, with aquaponics, the fish themselves, through their excrements, fertilise the water allowing plants to grow,” Valerio Crespi, Aquaculture Officer in FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in Rome, tells IPS.

Egypt, Algeria and Oman recently embarked on a cooperation project promoted by FAO, where local farmers participated in farmer-to-farmer study tours where they visited 15 integrated agri-aquaculture farms and learnt new skills and techniques from each other.

“It was a good experience,” says Basem Hashim, an Egyptian farmer and consultant for the General Authority of Fish Resources Development, a movement which tries to shape new ideas and actions for agriculture and food in Egypt.

Basem took part in the study tours organised by FAO and thanks to that experience was able to outline and understand the most pressing challenges for the farming communities in the region.

“We know the importance of using water properly and of improving production [not only in terms of quantity, but] also in terms of quality,” he tells IPS. “At the same time, I think there is still not enough awareness in Egypt in terms of water scarcity, pollution and waste, even though the government is working with associations to raise awareness and transfer experiences.”

“The study tours were a clear example of successful South-South Cooperation,” says Crespi. “The ultimate goal, which is what we are working on right now, is to draft a road map to outline the best practices to best use water in these areas where water is scarce. In the three countries we have created national teams that have produced three technical reports that will be the basis of the road map.”

Aquaponics is an incredible innovation also because it allows these communities to have, thanks to the fish that are raised in those structures, a source of protein that would otherwise be poorly available if not nonexistent in some of these countries.

“In addition, with the same use of resources,” says Basem, “we also have fruits and vegetables. This is what the future looks like.”

Tere are other countries in the region are known for their best practices in the Blue Economy, particularly in the aquaculture sector:

  • Iran has long-standing experience with rice-fish farming, which is currently estimated by experts to be practiced in 10 percent of all rice fields in the country, on a total area of between 50,000 to 72,000 hectares.
  • Lebanon has been practicing aquaculture for many decades and in 2017 total fishery production from marine capture fisheries and aquaculture were 3,608 and 1,225 tonnes, respectively.
  • Fish farmers in Israel are developing innovative technologies and breeding methods which are revolutionising their industry. The excellence of Israeli technology is not used alone in breeding in the country but is also appreciated and exported all over the world.

Coastal and marine tourism

According to Plan Bleu, in the past 20 years the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution of the tourism sector has increased by 60 percent in Mediterranean countries. The Mediterranean region is the world’s leading tourism destination. International tourist arrivals have grown from 58 million in 1970 to nearly 324 million in 2015. It is also among the most frequented areas by cruise ships in the world, with some 27 million passengers visiting the area by 2013. Therefore tourism has been a positive economic asset for the region. 

But as surprising as it may be, it is not so much industrial pollution that represents the greatest damage to the marine environment, but tourism that has a huge negative impact on the region.

Tourism is in fact one of the main threats to ecosystems in the area. Indeed, locals confirm that industries and cruises operating, for example, in the Red Sea are subject to harsh regulations but the main threat to the environment is posed by waste disposal, especially of plastic, and by the enormous water footprint that each tourist leaves behind.

Perspectives about the future

The Middle East certainly has many challenges to face in terms of scarcity of natural resources and food security. For this reason the economy based on maritime sectors in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East represents a crucial potential for the economic development.

“We do not have any ‘miraculous’ innovation. We simply have some technologies that, if associated to traditional methods, can stimulate a process of sustainable development, which is a key factor for those countries struggling for finding enough natural resources,” says Crespi.

“Moreover,” he adds, “promoting a policy of implementation of Blue Economy, could reduce the rural exodus of these populations from the countryside to the cities, or even the exodus across the Mediterranean to get to Europe, risking their lives often for not finding the much desired job and economic prosperity.”

  • The first global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference took place in Nairobi, Kenya from Nov. 26 to 28 and was co-hosted with Canada and Japan. Participants from 150 countries around the world gathered to learn how to build a blue economy.

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Inside a Wagon in the Forest of Compiègnehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/inside-wagon-forest-compiegne/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=inside-wagon-forest-compiegne http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/inside-wagon-forest-compiegne/#respond Sun, 11 Nov 2018 14:26:10 +0000 Manuel Manonelles http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158629 What is the link between the current civil war in Syria, the austerity policy imposed by Germany during the last economic crisis or the Arab-Israeli conflict? Its origin, which lies in the world that was born a hundred years ago, inside a wagon in the middle of the Forest of Compiègne, northeast of Paris. Indeed, […]

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Picture taken after the signature of the armistice in the Forest of Compiègne. Credit: Public Domain

By Manuel Manonelles
GENEVA, Nov 11 2018 (IPS)

What is the link between the current civil war in Syria, the austerity policy imposed by Germany during the last economic crisis or the Arab-Israeli conflict? Its origin, which lies in the world that was born a hundred years ago, inside a wagon in the middle of the Forest of Compiègne, northeast of Paris.

Indeed, it was on November 11, 1914 that the signature of the Armistice between the Allied powers and the German Empire took place, in the above-mentioned wagon. This event marked de facto the end of World War I (1914-18), a conflict that changed the world and still today projects its shadows.

The Armistice was followed by the Paris Peace Conference and, as a consequence, the Treaty of Versailles, that of Sèvres and many others. The birth of the League of Nations, the policy of “reparations” or the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Ottoman empires, and in part the Russian one, were other outputs of the end of the Great War. The consequences of some of these historical events are still present today in the international agenda and determine the lives of millions of people, one century later.

 

The Middle East, Kurdistan and Syria

The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, through the Treaty of Sèvres of August 1920, opened a Pandora’s Box that we still strive to close today. Three examples: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the civil war in Syria and the case of the Kurdistan.

Let us start with the last one, with Kurdistan. Sèvres foresaw the holding of a referendum to decide its future, a referendum that never took place. The uprising of Kemal Atatürk in Turkey, the subsequent war and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) were the main causes, but the disunity between the Kurds we could call “pragmatic” and the supporters of a greater Kurdistan also influenced. Similarly, the fact that Sèvres planned to include the oil rich province of Mosul within the territory of an eventual free Kurdistan (which the British were coveting) helped to tip the balance in favor of Turkish interests.

Another unfortunate legacy is, in part too, the current civil war in Syria. It is widely known that the origin of this conflict is related to the emergence of the Arab Spring, the resilience of the al-Assad regime, the infiltration of radical jihadist groups, and the interests of many regional and global powers.

However, part of the current war’s cruelty is intimately related to a State, Syria, resulting from the end of the WWI, with their borders designed to satisfy, exclusively, the French and British colonial interests. A division based on a Franco-British secret agreement taken before the end war, the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, that unscrupulously mixed and divided diverse ethnic and religious groups.

Even more, we cannot ignore the icing on the cake of all conflicts, the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its origin is linked to the Balfour declaration (1917) before the end of the Great War. This declaration was assumed by the San Remo Conference (1920) -also linked to the Paris Peace Conference- within the framework of the complex maneuvers of the great powers, and other influential groups of interests, during the reshaping of borders of the post-Ottoman Levant.

 

Inheritances in financial policy

In another vein, one of the main elements that also defined the treaties resulting from the Paris Peace Conference, and especially the Treaty of Versailles, was the policy of “reparations”. This policy mainly entailed that the countries that lost WWI had to face the payment of enormous sums to compensate the Allies.

This policy, so aggressive, led to the resignation of a young economist from the British delegation at the Peace Conference, called Keynes, who warned of the destabilizing effects in the economic and financial field that this could have. Indeed, this was one of the main causes of the German hyper-inflationary crisis of the years 1920-23, in which a loaf of bread reached the cost of billions of German marks. The influence of this crisis on the discrediting of the Weimar Republic and the consequent rise of Nazism is well known.

This sequence of events is at the base of the almost pathological animosity of the German economists to inflation. Since the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, German official economic and financial policy has been always conditioned by a strict control of inflation: perceived as the mother of all possible and imaginable evils. This was the policy that Chancellor Merkel imposed, not only in Germany but also in the rest of Europe, during the last economic and financial crisis; a restrictive policy that would avoid the supposed danger of inflation. With the consequent austerity policies and their consequences…

All of this and more, a hundred years ago, started in a wagon inside the Forest of Compiègne, northeast of Paris.

Manuel Manonelles is the Delegate of the Government of Catalonia in Switzerland, as well as Visiting Professor at the University Ramon Llull – Blanquerna (Barcelona)

 

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UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund projects underwayhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/uae-caribbean-renewable-energy-fund-projects-underway/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-caribbean-renewable-energy-fund-projects-underway http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/uae-caribbean-renewable-energy-fund-projects-underway/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 10:49:05 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158576 The first three renewable energy projects under the US$50 million United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, UAE-CREF, have broken ground in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, announced today. Fully financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, the UAE-CREF is […]

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The first three renewable energy projects under the US$50 million United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, UAE-CREF, have broken ground in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, announced today.

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Nov 6 2018 (WAM)

The first three renewable energy projects under the US$50 million United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, UAE-CREF, have broken ground in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, announced today.

Fully financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, the UAE-CREF is the largest renewable energy initiative of its kind in the Caribbean, representing a partnership between MOFAIC, ADFD, and Masdar, the project manager and implementing lead.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said, “These renewable energy projects underway in the Bahamas, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines further make the business case for sustainable development and UAE-Caribbean cooperation. They will create jobs and reduce energy costs to stimulate the local economy, while also incorporating concrete measures to address the reality of climate and hurricane risk.”

The three projects, designed by Masdar with the respective national governments, are set to come online by Q1 2019. In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the projects are also being built to elevate storm standards and are located in less exposed areas.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD Director-General, said, “In cooperation with MOFAIC and Masdar, ADFD is proud to witness the rapid pace of development in three of the four country recipients of cycle one of the UAE-CREF. Like its predecessor – the ADFD-funded and fully executed US$50 million UAE Pacific Partnership Fund – the UAE-CREF supports sustainable economic and social development across the Caribbean through helping countries to maximize their vast natural potential for resilient, commercially viable renewable energy.”

“Through strategically partnering with Small Island Developing States, a group of small island countries that share similar development challenges, ADFD will help them achieve sustainable energy solutions that enhance their climate resilience and the economic prospects of the local communities. These projects in the Bahamas, Barbados and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will have a significant positive knock-on effect on the adoption of renewable energy elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin American region,” Al Suwaidi added.

In the Bahamas, a 900-kilowatt solar PV plant at the national stadium will also serve as a carport with electric vehicle, EV, charging stations. As the country’s first large-scale solar energy project, it sets a regulatory precedent for new renewable energy plants to feed into the grid.

In Barbados, the project has two elements; a 350-kilowatt solar PV carport also with EV charging stations, and a 500-kilowatt ground-mounted PV plant. Both projects are being built in partnership with the Barbados Water Authority.

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the project sets a strong precedent for using renewable energy to drive down energy costs on its outer islands. Under construction on Union Island, the 600-kilowatt solar PV plant is connected to a 500-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and is expected to supply all of the island’s daytime power needs. Union Island’s energy costs are currently almost 50 percent higher than those of the main island of Saint Vincent.

The combined output of the solar power plants will be 2.35 megawatts, MW. Collectively, they will achieve diesel savings of more than 895,000 litres per year while displacing more than 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This represents an annual diesel fuel saving of at least US$1.1 million.

One of the additional aims of the Fund is to promote local capacity building, including training and employment opportunities, with a view to promoting gender equality. The projects’ manager and lead engineer are both women, and women will represent at least a third (30 percent) of the staff employed by the EPC contractors responsible for the new renewable energy projects.

“Masdar is proud to be working alongside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development in the implementation of the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund programme, building on the success of a similar collaboration in the Pacific Islands whose 11 projects continue to benefit local communities today,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. “The projects being delivered through the Fund will be engineered to meet the specific needs of each host country, and make an important contribution to the emergence of a commercially viable renewables sector in the Caribbean and the Latin America region.”

“As a global renewable energy company active in more than 20 countries, with projects ranging from utility-scale power plants to off-grid and remote-area installations, Masdar is honoured to leverage its experience and expertise in collaboration with those of its partners in the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund,” Al Ramahi added.

The UAE-CREF aims to deploy renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean countries over the next three years to help reduce reliance on fossil fuel imports, stimulate economic activity and enhance climate change resilience. Two projects in the first cycle of the fund – in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica – are currently being reconfigured in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season. The second cycle of the Fund – involving renewable energy projects in Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia – was announced at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the IRENA Assembly in January 2018. The next cycle of the Fund will be announced in January 2019.

 

WAM/Rasha Abubaker/Nour Salman

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UAE to host Global Future Councils’ 3rd meetinghttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/uae-host-global-future-councils-3rd-meeting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-host-global-future-councils-3rd-meeting http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/uae-host-global-future-councils-3rd-meeting/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 09:26:20 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158538 Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Government of the UAE will host the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) third Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, on 11-12 November in […]

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Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Government of the UAE will host the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) third Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, on 11-12 November in Dubai.

By WAM
DUBAI, Nov 5 2018 (WAM)

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Government of the UAE will host the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) third Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils, on 11-12 November in Dubai.

More than 700 world-leading experts from over 70 countries will participate in the meeting, which aims to address preparations for the huge wave of technological disruption that will come with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future and Co-chair of the Global Future Councils, said the event is aligned with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, which emphasises the need to prepare for tomorrow, today, to strengthen international partnerships to achieve common goals and to adopt a future outlook for the government performance in the UAE.

He added that the Global Future Councils is a network of 38 distinct councils each focused on a specific future issue, such as cybersecurity, quantum computing, governance, innovation, bio-technology, energy and water, space, healthcare, education, commerce and investment.

The outcome of the meeting will shape the agenda for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, as well as the Forum’s ongoing global initiatives.

WAM/Hassan Bashir/Hatem Mohamed

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Op-Ed: ADNOC is UAE’s ubiquitous vehicle for economic diversificationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/op-ed-adnoc-is-uaes-ubiquitous-vehicle-for-economic-diversification/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=op-ed-adnoc-is-uaes-ubiquitous-vehicle-for-economic-diversification http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/op-ed-adnoc-is-uaes-ubiquitous-vehicle-for-economic-diversification/#respond Sun, 04 Nov 2018 11:58:38 +0000 Mohammed Jalal Alrayssi http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158513 Mohammed Jalal Alrayssi is Executive Director of the Emirates News Agency, WAM

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The recent trailblazing steps taken by ADNOC to deliver growth across value chain and expand its partnership model on international markets are seen as a step forward on the path to underpin its integrated 2030 Strategy, which is premised to transform the way the Group maximises value from every barrel, and deliver the greatest possible return to Abu Dhabi while helping meet the world’s growing demand for energy.

By Mohammed Jalal Alrayssi
ABU DHABI, Nov 4 2018 (WAM)

The recent trailblazing steps taken by ADNOC to deliver growth across value chain and expand its partnership model on international markets are seen as a step forward on the path to underpin its integrated 2030 Strategy, which is premised to transform the way the Group maximises value from every barrel, and deliver the greatest possible return to Abu Dhabi while helping meet the world’s growing demand for energy.

These initiatives have been well-received by the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) as being a quantum leap on the way to ensure ADNOC’s transformational development and sustain its efficient contributions to the nation’s economic diversification strategy, laid down as per the prudent vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the direct overseeing of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The ambitious downstream growth strategy initiated by ADNOC, unlocks new opportunities for large segments of investors in the public and private sectors alike, by optimising performance and maximising value through engaging international investors in collaboration with SMEs to intensify the use of national products and services.

The economic diversification policy embraced by the country, stems from prudent utilisation of oil & gas revenues to ensure sustainable income streams for generations to come in a way that dissipates any concerns about the depletion of oil wealth. A concern that is set to be replaced with confidence and optimism instilled by the pioneering steps being taken to maximise revenues and unlock values of the hydrocarbon sector while investing these revenues in future industries, namely advanced technology, AI, etc.

At the heart of ADNOC’s economic diversification strategy lies a firm belief in the significant value boasted by the UAE as a world-class logistics hub that connects the country with its strategic partners across Europe and Asia through modern ports that provide unmatched world services.

ADNOC’s new five-year business plan and capital investment growth of AED 486 billion (US$132.33 billion) between 2019-2023, approved today by SUPC, along with the new oil and gas finds, corroborate in no uncertain way the Group’s resilience and ability to keep pace with world developments. A pioneering role the ADNOC has been playing over the past decades and will continue to assume over years to come through its robust partnership model inside and outside the country, driven by the UAE’s soft power as well as the great potential of its youth and women’s empowerment.

Translating the late Sheikh Zayed’s sound bite that man is the one who builds plants, ADNOC reaffirms that man is its most cherished asset and that hopes are pinned on this generation whose members are well-equipped with state-of-the-art technology to ensure the wise leadership’s vision for a safe, stable and bright future for the nation.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Hassan Bashir

WAM/Hassan Bashir

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Excerpt:

Mohammed Jalal Alrayssi is Executive Director of the Emirates News Agency, WAM

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40 cooperation agreements highlight Emirati-Indian strategic partnership: UAEIIChttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/40-cooperation-agreements-highlight-emirati-indian-strategic-partnership-uaeiic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=40-cooperation-agreements-highlight-emirati-indian-strategic-partnership-uaeiic http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/11/40-cooperation-agreements-highlight-emirati-indian-strategic-partnership-uaeiic/#respond Thu, 01 Nov 2018 11:52:03 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158490 Jamal Saif Al Jarawan, Secretary-General of the UAE International Investors Council, UAEIIC, said that the historic ties between the UAE and India are built on mutual respect and close cooperation, which is reflected by the signing of over 40 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, in many areas, especially in investment, under a sustainable development […]

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Jamal Saif Al Jarawan, Secretary-General of the UAE International Investors Council, UAEIIC, said that the historic ties between the UAE and India are built on mutual respect and close cooperation, which is reflected by the signing of over 40 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, in many areas, especially in investment, under a sustainable development vision.

By WAM
DUBAI, Nov 1 2018 (WAM)

Jamal Saif Al Jarawan, Secretary-General of the UAE International Investors Council, UAEIIC, said that the historic ties between the UAE and India are built on mutual respect and close cooperation, which is reflected by the signing of over 40 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, MoU, in many areas, especially in investment, under a sustainable development vision.

He added that the historic relations between the two countries share the values of moderation, tolerance, peace and stability, which have strengthened their strategic partnership, through ongoing communication and mutual high-level visits.

During his speech at the two-day 2nd India-UAE Partnership Summit held in Dubai, with the participation of many public and private sector officials from both countries, Al Jarawan said that the strategic partnership between the UAE and India is witnessing ongoing work, with the aim of generating trade worth US$100 billion by 2020. Current levels of trade account for $53 billion, while UAE investments in India account for $10 billion, and the UAE has pledged to provide $75 billion to support India’s infrastructure, as well as $5 billion to the Indian agricultural sector over the next three years, he added.

Al Jarawan highlighted the council’s confidence in the ambitious strategic partnership between the two countries, which has all the components of success, as well as a series of investment reforms in India and its monetary policies, financial system and social security.

Al Jarawan also expressed his confidence in the growing ties between the two countries while noting that India has become the UAE’s second-biggest international economic partner.

A comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between the two countries was signed in January 2017, Al Jarawan noted.

 

WAM/Nour Salman

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UAE to contribute US$4.5 million to green developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/uae-contribute-us4-5-million-green-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uae-contribute-us4-5-million-green-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/uae-contribute-us4-5-million-green-development/#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 09:46:04 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158469 Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today announced that the UAE will contribute US$1.5 million annually for the period 2019 to 2021, cumulatively amounting to US$4.5 million, to fund the projects carried out by the Global Green Growth Institute, GGGI. The announcement was made at the GGGI’s Assembly and Council, […]

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Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today announced that the UAE will contribute US$1.5 million annually for the period 2019 to 2021, cumulatively amounting to US$4.5 million, to fund the projects carried out by the Global Green Growth Institute, GGGI.

By WAM
DUBAI, Oct 31 2018 (WAM)

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, today announced that the UAE will contribute US$1.5 million annually for the period 2019 to 2021, cumulatively amounting to US$4.5 million, to fund the projects carried out by the Global Green Growth Institute, GGGI.

The announcement was made at the GGGI’s Assembly and Council, held at the South Korean capital, Seoul. Dr. Al-Zeyoudi led the UAE delegation that participated at the assembly.

Reiterating the UAE’s commitment to green development, the Minister said, “In the UAE, we are resolved to achieving a green economy as per the UAE Green Agenda 2030 adopted by the UAE Cabinet in 2015. During 2017-2018, we have made a lot of progress in the implementation of the Green Agenda 2030 and key policy developments with the assistance of the GGGI Abu Dhabi office team.”

“The UAE Cabinet adopted the National Climate Change Plan 2050 in June 2017, which consolidates the country’s climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives under one integrated framework. As part of the Climate Plan implementation, we have recently conducted a comprehensive climate risk assessment across four key sectors and identified priority climate risks that require us to develop appropriate adaptation measures,” he added.

Highlighting one of the initiatives in green development in the UAE, Dr. Al-Zeyoudi said, “The development of green growth indices is not new to us. We have already set 41 Green Key Performance Indicators to track the UAE’s progress towards achieving a green economy and offer regular updates through the UAE State of Green Economy Report. Furthermore, we launched the UAE Green Dashboard just last week, an open data platform which allows anyone to access and analyse underlying data on the 41 Green KPIs.”

The Minister held several bilateral meetings to boost cooperation in agriculture, food safety, green development and the recycling of industrial materials. These included a meeting with Lee Gae-ho, South Korea’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, former UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, who is also GGGI’s Assembly President and Council Chair, as well as top officials from the Korean National Cleaner Production Centre.

Accompanied by Abdullah Saif Al Nuaimi, Ambassador of the UAE to South Korea, Dr. Al-Zeyoudi visited Korea Polar Research Institute, a statutory and government-funded research institution that is leading Korea’s national Polar programme for both the Arctic and the Antarctic, to explore first-hand the institute’s research efforts and how it is engaging the youth and the public in polar studies. The Minister was introduced to the key studies and research projects developed at the institute in the last 30 years.

Dr. Al-Zeyoudi also toured the Seoul Upcycling Plaza, Korea’s biggest upcycling complex, where he was introduced to the facility’s entire upcycling process, from material donation and collection to processing, production, and sales.

WAM/Nour Salman/MOHD AAMIR

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Ministry of Climate Change and Environment concludes COP13 with Major Wins for Wetlandshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/ministry-climate-change-environment-concludes-cop13-major-wins-wetlands/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ministry-climate-change-environment-concludes-cop13-major-wins-wetlands http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/10/ministry-climate-change-environment-concludes-cop13-major-wins-wetlands/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:57:57 +0000 WAM http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=158456 The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) concluded the 13th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) in Dubai, with three UAE-led resolutions passed and the declaration of Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary as a Wetland of International Importance, also known as a Ramsar Site. After negotiations led by MOCCAE, […]

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The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) concluded the 13th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) in Dubai, with three UAE-led resolutions passed and the declaration of Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary as a Wetland of International Importance, also known as a Ramsar Site

By WAM
DUBAI, Oct 30 2018 (WAM)

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) concluded the 13th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) in Dubai, with three UAE-led resolutions passed and the declaration of Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary as a Wetland of International Importance, also known as a Ramsar Site.

After negotiations led by MOCCAE, two new UAE-submitted and one UAE-supported resolutions were adopted at COP13. One of the resolutions put forth by the UAE – in line with the Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future theme – aims to protect and manage wetlands under specific guidelines that increase climate change and extreme weather events resilience. In addition, the resolution calls on all countries to involve various stakeholders, including governments, private sector entities, non-governmental organisations, research centers, educational institutions, tourism industry, heritage and culture sector, indigenous peoples and local communities to take part in the decision-making process on wetland issues.

The second resolution adopted includes sustainable urbanization, climate change and wetlands to invite the United Nations General Assembly to recognize February 2, the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, as World Wetland Day. Another resolution was supported by the UAE to introduce Arabic as an official Convention language, aside from English, French and Spanish, so as to foster engagement, raise awareness and improve the implementation of the Convention for Arabic-speaking contracting parties. In addition, it would help appreciate the range of distinct wetland types such as wadis, sabkhas and oases in Arab countries.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment , said: “Throughout COP13, there were many references made to climate change and its negative effects, and more importantly, how wetlands can play a major role in the mitigation of climate change and to support countries in meeting their Sustainable Development Goals. As a pioneer in the region for green economy and environmental efforts, the UAE was honored to have hosted COP13 and to drive international cooperation and the exchange of best practices to protect these valuable ecosystems that have an impact on our lives, society and our future.”

At the closing ceremony of COP13, Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of Ramsar Convention, said: “For the first time we have the evidence that we are losing wetlands, and their critical services for people, three times faster than forests. My hope is that for the next three years until the next COP, parties can rise to this challenge and implement policies that will effectively integrate wetlands in the sustainable development agenda. The Ramsar Secretariat will support parties to ensure to turn the tide and reverse wetlands’ loss.”

Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality – the main sponsor of COP13, said: “Dubai Municipality’s vision focuses on building a happy and sustainable city, and a part of achieving that goal is to ensure the protection and sustainability of the environment. We are proud to now have a second Ramsar Site of International Importance, and to continue protecting our ecologically-significant areas. Through COP13, we are confident that each of us will play our part in furthering the cause for the protection and wise use of wetlands for humanity.”

Located between Jebel Ali and Ras Ghantoot and spanning 21.85 km2, Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary was recognized as the UAE’s eighth Ramsar Site, due to housing rare and unique wetland types comprising coral reefs, mangroves, shallow lagoons, seagrass, oyster beds and sandy shorelines, that support 539 species of vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species of flora and fauna. The sandy beaches of Jebel Ali are also one of the key breeding sites for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle. Established in 1998, Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary is recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as one of the Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the Arabian Gulf.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment was also instrumental in launching the results of the Emirates Nature-WWF Coastal and Marine Habitat Mapping project in the Northern Emirates, on the sidelines of COP13. The project mapped 783.2 km2 in total area along a 400 kilometers’ coastline, in which 17 habitat types were identified. With increasing human activities taking place at sea, along with the growing effects of climate change, marine spatial management is crucial in achieving the sustainable and wise management of marine resources.

Six Chinese cities were awarded the Wetland City Accreditation at COP13, in appreciation of China’s commendable efforts on the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The other cities given the Wetland City Accreditation were Amiens, Courteranges, Pont Audemer and Saint Omer in France, Lakes by Tata in Hungary, Republic of Korea’s Changnyeong, Inje, Jeju and Suncheon, Mitsinjo in Madagascar, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Ghar el Melh in Tunisia.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national events and global cooperation for the conservation of wetlands and the rational use of their resources.

 

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hatem Mohamed

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