We, Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) representatives in the Maghreb region* and Egypt, convened in Tunis from July 18 to 21, 2019 to develop a shared vision for the Mediterranean, taking the following into account:
- The Mediterranean is one of the oldest regions of human interaction known to the world; it has witnessed the birth of civilizations, diversity, and riches that made it a source of progress for all peoples. This happened in the past with much cooperation and reciprocity, and now, it is time for us to have the courage to demonstrate our human attachment to the Mediterranean and our common cultural heritage.
- The accumulation of common challenges facing our region, which we believe it is time to solve together, while appreciating all previous attempts and efforts made in this regard, respecting the struggle of the citizens of the Mediterranean in their quest for a better life, and knowing that everyone has something to contribute and something to learn from others.
- Universal principles relating to civil, political, economic, and social rights and freedoms, as well as individual and public freedoms, values of equality and freedom, principles of democracy, citizenship, and civil liberties.
- Following in-depth discussions and exchange of ideas among participants, and based on the need for joint cooperation between actors in the region (including members of governments, civil society organizations, parliaments, trade unions and other bodies) and regional institutions (including the European Union, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Arab League, and the African Union),
We hereby declare the following:
There is a need to work towards the establishment of a Mediterranean institutional space where all actors and intervening parties in the Mediterranean region are represented in a balanced, effective, and positive manner.
We therefore call on all actors and intervening parties in the Mediterranean to strive to create this institutional space that would act as a common platform for in-depth discussion and positive solutions regarding:
- Consolidating and enforcing values and principles related to human rights, democracy, and citizenship in the Mediterranean region through cooperation programs between Mediterranean parties, as well as addressing all forms of infringement of freedoms.
- Promoting freedom of movement, ensuring the rights of migrants and refugees, and determining and monitoring the conditions and procedures for their implementation.
- Establishing peace and security in the Mediterranean region, finding ways to support dialogue between conflicting parties, and establishing a mechanism for the immediate cessation of any armed conflicts that may arise in the region.
- Creating a common framework for security agencies in the region to exchange information and combat all forms of extremism, terrorism, hate crimes, and organized crimes.
- Appeasing the conflict over cultural and religious identities and enriching the Mediterranean identity, through promoting and celebrating diversity, respecting the particularity of every community experience, protecting minorities, guaranteeing their fair and positive representation in communities, and providing support and assistance for cultural, economic, media, and knowledge exchange.
- Deepening civil liberties, supporting a strong, diverse, and interconnected civil society, and providing a public space for citizens to carry out all civil activities.
- Enhancing human development and promoting the principles of good governance and sustainable development.
- Establishing sustainable environmental policies that minimize the negative impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss in the region, relying on renewable energies, and preserving natural resources to ensure a better future for the next generations.
- Consolidating common economic interests by revising laws and procedures that restrict the freedom of work, investment, trade, banking exchanges, insurance operations, and social security.
- Developing joint regional programs to reduce unemployment and poverty, respond to crises and emergencies, address all forms of social and economic exclusion, and promote common employment agencies.
- Consolidating equality among citizens in the region based on gender justice and equal access to opportunities.
- Promoting cooperation in education, technology, and knowledge, especially by streamlining mobility procedures, equalizing school certificates and university degrees, and creating joint specialised college institutions.
- Promoting cooperation in the health field and unifying health care and health insurance programs for the peoples of the region.
Now therefore, we ask all actors and intervening parties to establish mechanisms for dialogue through which this vision can be realised. We also call on all actors of the civil society in the region to engage in, interact with, advocate, and expand deliberations around this initiative.
In conclusion, we hereby announce the formation of a committee with members from the participating countries to follow up on the above-mentioned recommendations.
* Algeria / Tunisia / Morocco / Libya / Mauritania