Tag Archives: méditerranée

FEMISE MED BRIEF no19 : “Reforming Fossil fuel Subsidies: Challenges and Opportunities for Mediterranean countries”

Stéphane Pouffary & Guillaume de Laboulaye

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

The MED BRIEF “Reforming Fossil fuel Subsidies: Challenges and Opportunities for the South and East Mediterranean countries”, is available here (in french).


Abstract: Fossil fuel subsidies have been used for decades to support economic activities, but above all, officially, to enable poorest households to access low-cost energy services. That being the case, regardless of the country, this reality remains highly questionable given that most of these subsidies benefit the wealthiest households who consume much more energy than lower and middle-income households. Moreover, these subsidies are incompatible with a low-carbon society and they contribute to maintaining unsustainable systems from an environmental, economic and social point of view, creating an energy dependence on exporting countries. This policy brief focuses on the issues and challenges of reforming fossil fuel subsidies in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. It reminds that, far from their initial objective, these subsidies contribute on the one hand to slow down the achievement of national climate commitments and, on the other hand, to increase social and economic imbalances.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union

(Registration Open until May 16th) FEMISE annual conference, Brussels, Belgium, June 13th-14th 2019

FEMISE is happy to announce that its annual conference will take place this year in Brussels, Belgium, on June 13th and 14th 2019.

 

 

 

Please click here to register (deadline extended to May 16th).

This year’s theme will be on:

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: DRAWING AN IMPACTFUL EU-MED ROADMAP

The objectives of this conference are threefold:

(1) To take stock of what the South-Med region has achieved in the past few years in terms
of sustainable development;

(2) To highlight the main challenges they are still facing; and

(3) To propose a road-map on how to move forward towards achieving sustainable
development.

The conference plenary sessions will address the FEMISE four main thematic pillars and will link
them to the SGDs, taking into account their interlinkages, offering a platform for dialogue between
the different stakeholders.

The concept note is available by clicking here.

The FEMISE annual conference provides a platform for the different actors of the EU-Med region of research institutes’ members, academics, policymakers and representatives of the international community including the EU, to engage in a constructive dialogue about the future of the region and the role the EU can play in the context of the new Neighborhoud Policy (ENP). 

World Innovation and Creativity day : FEMISE takes a stand

On world creativity and innovation day, celebrated on April 21st, FEMISE and its researchers’ network gave our editorial committee some insights and analysis on the Mediterranean innovation context

Six days after Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday was the date chosen by the United Nations to celebrate innovation and creativity in the world. A very symbolic choice, as he was a man of universal spirit, an inventor, an engineer as well as an architect and a painter. De Vinci stands for what the United Nations expect for this international day « To encourage creative multidisciplinary thinking to help us achieve the sustainable future we want ». It is this sustainable future that FEMISE and its network of researchers aim at sketching through their work.

The think tank worked at clearing the field of Mediterranean innovation. Researchers first pictured a portrait of the situation, before making suggestions for developing this sector, « which could represent a hope for the future, to solve daily problems », according to CrowdSolving Yomken’s Tamer Taha.

A future already taking place in fact. All researchers agree to say that the international context, economic competitiveness, and growth partly require innovation. « Innovation is actually the only sustainable way of competing in international markets » states Przemyslaw KOWALSKI (CASE, FEMISE). He adds that « expert competition based on innovation and knowledge provides you with a better prospect of economic development and increasing standards of living ». Meanwhile, the General Manager of OPEE and Kedge Business School professor Maarouf Ramadan says that « the Mediterranean region does not avoid the international questioning on innovation ». He indeed studied the issue a lot, and proposed, with researcher Sonia Ben Slimane, a conceptual framework to achieve efficient and effective National Innovation Systems (NIS). « A lot of potential can be unlocked if Med countries start really looking into what aspects they want to develop » states Maryse LOUIS, (ERF, FEMISE General Manager). She highlights how « as we celebrate the World Innovation and Creativity Day, we are reminded of the challenges that the South med Countries are facing to establish their innovation systems ».

 « Investing in research and innovation systems »

«Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa suffer from the so-called missing middle phenomenon, with just a few middle-sized innovative enterprises » adds Markus LOEWE, German Development Institute. The phenomenon is due to 5 factors, including entrepreneurs that « lack access to capital and informational markets » and a of « lack rule of law » which is the most important factor according to the researcher. Maryse LOUIS (ERF, FEMISE) lists the common challenges to the region: low funding of research and development, unclear laws on the IP, coordination between the different actors, the unfavorable private sector environment for Young entrepreneurs and for research.

Thus, change can be an opportunity for systematic innovation. But how can it be achieved? Dalia Seif (FEMISE and ERF) specifies that under the work produced by FEMISE within the EU-funded TheNextSociety project « we have created a Scoreboard with more than 80 variables to measure the performance of innovation in the South Med countries ». This work « is about looking into more details of the innovation performance in these countries from different aspects: institutional, economic and social to be able to point to the challenges in each country and provide a road-map on how to establish an innovation system in these countries ». 

For Sonia Ben Slimane, « there is a necessity to invest in research and education systems », in order to « promote an innovative and creative culture » the researcher explains. She delivers a set of recommendations, from a bigger conciliation between industries and education and research systems to intellectual property protection, not forgetting to mention the financial issue. Yomken is central to this question. Through what it calls « challenges », the Egyptian platform matches companies, NGOs and industries with « young people with creative and innovative ideas » Yomken founder Tamer Taha points out. The platform is managed from Cairo, in several countries.

« Social innovation is also a way of addressing the needs of societies in a more effective and efficient way » states Katarzyna SIDLO (CASE, FEMISE). Success stories of social innovations in the MENA region include childcare services to allow women to go back to education or to the labor market, as well as initiatives to providing training and work opportunities for refugees.

The financial allocation issue is also addressed by Dr. Jocelyn Ventura from FEMISE. He lists some sectors like aeronautics in Morocco, pharmaceutics in Lebanon and Jordan, and praises a strategy in which « local decision-makers allocate resources in well-identified sectors ». Promoting an innovative, creative and developing environment would allow for the Schumpeterian entrepreneur to become the economic revolutionary, following his theory. “

by the Ecomnews Med editorial team in collaboration with FEMISE

FEMISE MED BRIEF no18 : “The EU’s pursuit of ‘resilience’ in southern Mediterranean countries”

Elisabeth Johansson-Nogués & Hani Anouti

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

The latest MED Brief is on “Closing the gender gap: policy-making that promotes inclusive Mediterranean societies”, available here.

 

SummaryThe main aim of this policy brief is to explore the conceptual and practical effects of the EU’s pursuit of resilience in relation to the southern Mediterranean partners. Our findings point to that the more pragmatic EU foreign policy since 2015 and the more flexible EU funding for policy objectives have been welcomed both in Europe and by southern ENP partners. The EU Global Strategy reflects a will to co-design policies with its southern Mediterranean partners. However, while holding great inherent potential, resilience has met with certain unforeseen teething problems in its first years of its implementation due to regional or intra-EU dynamics. Elaborating an effective new ‘resilience toolkit’ could allow reaching better outcomes in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union

Mediterranean: “Facing an increasing water scarcity is one of the greatest challenges”

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22nd and this year its theme is “Leave no one behind”. The event is an opportunity for FEMISE and its partners to take stock of the situation in the Mediterranean, where the water problem has become a crucial issue.

Water is a vital resource, yet it is lacking. World Water Day is an opportunity to take stock of the situation and the objectives to be achieved in order to reduce inequalities in terms of access to water. This year, the theme of this World Day is “Leave no one behind”.

“This is an adaptation of the main commitment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Programme: everyone must be able to benefit from the progress made in sustainable development,” states the UN announcement.

At the same time, the organization published an alarming report a few days earlier. The main conclusion is that more than two billion people in the world, representing three out of ten, do not have access to a drinking water distribution infrastructure. In addition, six out of ten are deprived of sanitation facilities.

The Mediterranean hosts 60% of the “water-poor” population

In the Mediterranean countries, the situation is far from idyllic. On the occasion of this World Day, researchers from the FEMISE network and its partners lean on the issue.

“The Mediterranean represents only 7% of the world population and yet it is home to more than 60% of the so-called water-poor population”, a striking information relayed by Céline Dubreuil, Programme Manager at Plan Bleu, one of the Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Some 28 million Mediterranean people still do not have access to sanitation, the researcher adds, and 18 million do not have access to drinking water.

“Climate change will have specific consequences,” warns Stephane Pouffary from association Energies 2050. “Urban and demographic constraints will be exacerbated.”

As for Julie Harb, researcher at Université de Montréal and FEMISE, she points out that Mediterranean countries such as Lebanon need to respond to two issues: lack of efficiency and lack of funding.

A critical level regarding water availability

Thus, FEMISE and its partners are also working to provide solutions to the issue. According to Karine Moukaddem, researcher at SciencesPo, Eco-Union and FEMISE, “we must find sustainable, less costly and more effective solutions. This is what the Union for the Mediterranean is trying to do, for example, with its platform for cooperation on water resources”.

For his part, Stéphane Pouffary underlines the importance of an inclusive multi-actor approach, which Energies 2050 supports, to build bridges between different actors in order to duplicate projects and bring out concrete arguments.

As Constantin Tsakas, General Secretary of the FEMISE network, points out, “the water issue is becoming increasingly important” in the region, “the balance between water demand and availability has reached a particularly critical level!

Researchers from the FEMISE network and its partners ensure that new irrigation approaches are to be explored, better waste management and increased awareness efforts are needed. Thus, “solutions must also include a culture of innovation that would create a virtuous circle for more efficient management of water resources, both from the supply and demand side,” concludes Julie Harb.

 

by the Ecomnews Med editorial team in collaboration with FEMISE

Altafemina, FEMISE and IM conclude a partnership for women in the Mediterranean !

Samah Ben Dhia (Altafemina) and Constantin Tsakas (IM, FEMISE)

Press release – March 8, 2019

Altafemina, FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée conclude a strategic partnership for women in the Mediterranean

The three institutions are committed actors in their efforts to contribute to inclusive development models, to advocate values ​​of diversity and solidarity and are aware of the need to pool resources to act for strengthening women’s engagement in the Mediterranean. This is why Altafemina, FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée announce today that they decided to collaborate in the framework of a strategic partnership.

The works of the FEMISE think-tank and of Institut de la Méditerranée show that new models are needed in the Mediterranean to bring about social change, to allow young women to have confidence in themselves, to show the whole society the potential of women and to allow growing accustomed to equality of chances. For its part, Altafemina is an exemplary organization whose ambition is to develop a diverse network of professional and social relations, in order to propose strong women dynamics. The activities of Altafemina have a real resonance in the territory of the SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region and the association aims to extend its model internationally.

Thus, this partnership aims to create a constructive virtuous circle in the Mediterranean that is displaying an innovative and distinctive stance, allowing for strong and meaningful proposals to emerge. It will focus on themes ranging from entrepreneurial dynamics carried by women, to the status of women in research and innovation, in environmental economy, in management bodies or in the media. The partners will deploy their cooperation efforts to, amongst other things:

– develop and implement cooperation projects and capacity building programs for women in the EuroMed region,

– create, animate and enhance a Mediterranean ecosystem of female entrepreneurship to create a favourable environment for women entrepreneurs in the EuroMed region,

– organize joint events and publications and carry out awareness-raising campaigns in countries around the Mediterranean.

For Altafemina, FEMISE and Institut de la Méditerranée, Women’s Day does not stop on March 8, but takes place every day!

All together for strong women dynamics in the Mediterranean!

For more information, please contact :

Altafemina : Ms. Samah Ben Dhia, President, contact@altafemina.com, www.altafemina.com                    

IM / FEMISE :
Dr. Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE c.tsakas@femise.org ++ 33 (0)4 91 31 51 95 
www.femise.org

Refugees and hosting countries : integration models and cooperation policy options

In both European and Jordan perspectives, it is crucial to prepare instruments able to capture the ongoing changes and to identify the relevant targets, as well as to monitor the rapidly growing segment of the migrants that has been integrating into the local economic fabric. Italian policy oriented research will soon be facing the need of exploring a new context where a greater share of migrant population will be made up with refugees with a smaller resource assets both in terms of funding sources, social and family networks and safety nets. In this perspective, the mutual contamination of research and political experimentation in distant contexts, 9l1which in many respects start sharing similar concerns, must be cultivated and strengthened. The experience launched in Jordan that addresses the issue of economic integration of refugees is an important basis for the development of specific policies. The small contribution represented by the present study can, in this perspective, provide insights and trace some paths for a desirable deepening of the research.

Med Change Makers e07 : Karine MOUKADDEM, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the MENA region

 

FEMISE recently launched its series of interviews called « Med Change Makers ».

« Med Change Makers » are text and video-based interviews that allow dynamic researchers of the FEMISE network to illustrate how their research addresses a policy-relevant question and how it contributes to the policy-making process in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

 

Going towards Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the South-Med and MENA region

Interview with Karine Moukaddem, SciencesPo, Institut de la Méditerranée and FEMISE

FEMISE places the issue of Inclusiveness at the heart of its research strategy. The issue of women empowerment in the Mediterranean, and more generally in MENA, is of paramount importance to move towards a model of sustainable and inclusive development.

Author of a forthcoming FEMISE MED BRIEF, Karine Moukaddem provides an assessment of existing policy measures on women empowerment in the southern shore of the Mediterranean. She argues that behind the existence of a “Mediterranean paradox” are structural obstacles that are crucial to overcome. Interview :

1. You talk about the “Mediterranean Paradox” while describing the situation of women in the South-Med. What does it imply and what are its root causes?

The Mediterranean Paradox is easy to explain: On the one hand, educational attainments of women improved drastically in the region and female enrolment in schools and universities increased considerably. But on the other hand, women seem to still be struggling to find a place in the labour market. Female labour force participation rates in the region remain lower than in other developing countries and stagnant. In other words, it seems like women participation to the labour market in the South Med is constrained by other factors than access to education.

Regarding the root causes of the paradox, several obstacles are identified as impeding on women’s economic inclusion.

First, the analysis of the labour market structure in the region shows that while in the public sector employment opportunities contract, opportunities in the formal private sector do not rise. Therefore, the increase in the number of educated women translates in an increased female unemployment or a lower female participation in the formal sectors. Second, women’s overall labour participation levels seem to be affected by economic development and improvements in gender equality legislation (or lack of) as well as by the private foreign ownership of the firm and its exporting activities. Other impediments such as the lack of safe, efficient and cheap public transports hamper commuting to work for women.

However, such economic and practical explanations do not explain the whole Paradox; some key factors are cultural. This argument states that women from conservative societies would tend to participate less in the labour market given the large impact of social norms on their trade-off between working outside and being housewives. The considerable negative effect of traditional social norms would be materialised in several conscious and unconscious biases that dissuade women from choosing a professional carrier.

To understand the full situation of women today, all of these arguments matter. The situation is a complex mix between explicit concrete and implicit psychological obstacles that interact both at the macro and micro levels. Women in the South-Med today face structural multi-layered self-reinforcing inequalities deeply rooted in the system.

2. a) Has the situation of women in the South-Med region been improving in terms of concrete economic empowerment?

Yes, it has been improving in the region through some advancement in education mostly and enhanced legislations. Yet, inequalities are still prevalent in the region and concrete economic empowerment seems to be far from reached. The South-Med region seems to be behind in gender equality matters compared to other regions and the situation is actually improving slower than in other developing regions such as East Asia and Pacific or Latin America and the Caribbean. ILO estimates suggest that female labour force participation reached 59% in East Asia and Pacific in 2017, while in Latin America this rate reached 51.5%. As for the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, the female labour force participation is less than half and close to only 20.6% in 2017. The region also lays behind when it comes to a other indicators of women economic and political participation.

b) You argue that the situation is not improving at the correct pace despite the measures adopted, why?

The answer is simple, when it comes to policy making regarding gender equality issues, two aspects are key to understand the inefficiency of the available measures adopted: On the one hand, there are obstacles that impede on the full implementation of measures. On the other hand, these measures are not comprehensive of the situation of women in the region.

First, measures are often hindered by the lack of social will to change. Due to the unconscious biases and other implicit and explicit channels, top-down initiatives are often misunderstood by locals, not accepted by the whole society and seen as inadequate. Mentalities and social norms remain not open to structural change, therefore despite national and international efforts, locals will find a way to deviate or pretend to change the situation without real consequences on empowerment.

Moreover, the measures adopted are often punctual uncoordinated projects and legal adjustments that do not into account the whole picture. The symptoms of the inequality problem are tackled but not the roots. Measures often lack consistency, sustainability/durability and are not part of a holistic approach to the matter. For instance, it is not enough to implement quotas, the system itself needs to work on reforming the role given to women and deconstructing the stereotypes and structural norms. In addition, there is no one South-Med woman but different profiles with different needs and that face different degrees of discrimination. For example, rural women accumulate inequalities and the answers to empower them are not the same as for women living in the capital.

3. How can the state create the conditions for women to fulfil their untapped potential?

To reach a structural empowerment the state needs to implement comprehensive laws and women empowerment needs to be a priority in National agendas, not only an aspiration. There is a need for national strategies creating the conditions allowing women to fulfil their potentials in all sectors of the economy, society and national politics. Creating a flexible national framework that understands women’s needs in each sector of activity and each context, would allow to institutionalize women empowerment. These principles would lead to a better framework for legislative reforms especially in issues such as family law and a modification of educational curricula to support social change.

However, to ensure a real empowerment of women, the state needs to coordinate its action with the other stakeholders. With a focus on children’s education, coordinated action could help change the perceived role of women in the society especially that biases start to develop at a really young age (around 3-5 years old). To make the message more relatable and legitimate, the State needs to work with local leaders such as religious leaders and other influencers that would help mimic good practices and expand the influence of adopted measures. However, working with the whole ecosystem does not mean working on improving the picture of women at the expense of men. It means to include men in the debate and to make them aware of the benefits of gender equality to the whole society.

4. In which ways can the private sector provide solutions to improve the way we invest in women?

Beyond understanding the positive economic externalities of gender equalities, the private sector could help improve policy making by building public-private partnerships in several fields relevant to women empowerment such as the digital sector by training women in coding, investing in vocational training, data gathering and rural areas.

Moreover, to ensure women’s economic empowerment enterprises could offer alternative and flexible working environments that take into account modern perceptions of responsibility sharing in a household. This could mean offering the possibility of work-from home for men and women for 1 day a week or a payed paternity leave on top of the maternity leave or a possibility of bringing children to the office 2 days a week… In addition to these internal policies, enterprises could also install principles of gender equality in their internal functioning by setting a quota in their management boards.

Additionally, enterprises can have an impact on stereotypes and social norms through marketing strategies and Ads. If the message of ads becomes more reliant on gender equality principles, stigmas could decrease.

5. You talk about role modeling and mentoring. How can it contribute to women empowerment?

This is a truly important point. Role modeling and mentoring are essential in order to instigate social change not only by empowering young women and raising their self-esteem and confidence but also by showing men the potential of women and allowing young men to grow accustomed to equality of chances.

On the smaller scale, mentoring can take the figure of small local initiatives working with women on increasing their self-esteem or exploring all the potential professional options available to them. This is the case of portraitists and mentors intend to help women grow more independent and strong.

On the bigger scale, initiatives such as establishing a TV channel featuring women from the region or the launch of a regional comity for gender equality regrouping influential women from different backgrounds could help increase the visibility of success stories. This would allow young women to identify with successful women and thrive to achieve their untapped potential. This is due to a crucial aspect of role modeling, it helps women not only explore their options in terms of goals but also in terms of ways and paths to achieve them.

Social norms can be changed and creating a virtuous circle for women empowerment from within the ecosystem and based on role-modeling, solidarity and mentoring can be a valuable step to achieve this.

 

Interview by Constantin Tsakas

This activity received financial support from the European Union through the FEMISE project on “Support to Economic Research, studies and dialogues of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership”. Any views expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers.

Morocco and Tunisia in Global Value Chains: focus on business services as innovation drivers

In this report we will argue that for a better understanding of how business services can contribute to competitiveness and growth in Morocco and Tunisia decomposing trade flows in terms of value added can be a useful first step. We start from the OECD-WTO Trade in Value Added database (OECD, 2016) to decompose exports in value added in business services from Morocco and Tunisia to the EU28 and to the rest of the world. This decomposition is used to compute several indicators of participation in the GVCs. Two business services industries are examined: computer and related activities and R&D and other business activities.

Combining an adequate trade liberalisation and investment policy reforms and the promotion of business linkages between foreign and domestic firms could help local companies move up to GVCs thanks of the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.

FEMISE MED BRIEF no15 : « Is informality an irrevocable obstacle to Universal Health Coverage ? »

Mohammad Abu-Zaineh, Bruno Ventelou, Khaled Makhloufi

The FEMISE Policy Brief series MED BRIEF aspires to provide Forward Thinking for the EuroMediterranean region. The briefs contain succinct, policy-oriented analysis of relevant EuroMed issues, presenting the views of FEMISE researchers and collaborators to policy-makers.

 

The latest MED Brief on ” Is informality an irrevocable obstacle to Universal Health Coverage (UHC)? Evidence from Tunisia” is available here.

Summary In many developing countries and in particular in the context of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, large fractions of the population are deprived of access to any social security system, mainly because they are working in the informal sector. This paper shows that even among the most precarious workers, the willingness-to-pay for a health insurance system is substantial but varies according to the three different healthcare insurance plans proposed in the survey (giving access to public provider, to private providers, or reimbursement), associated or not with a pension scheme. This suggests that informality, by and in itself, is not an incurable impediment behind the achievement of the UHC goal in Tunisia as long as appropriate insurance plans are offered to the uncovered populations.

The list of FEMISE MED BRIEFS is available here.

The policy brief has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union within the context of the FEMISE program. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.