“MED – Rome Mediterranean Dialogues” is an independent and high-level initiative aimed at giving new momentum to cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean. The leaders involved, representing governments, international organizations and civil society, will gather in Rome to address shared challenges in the region and reshape a comprehensive dialogue structured around the conference’s 4 pillars: Shared Prosperity, Migration, Shared Security and Media, Culture & Society.
Under the “Shared Prosperity” pillar, specific attention is devoted to the role that business leaders and civil society can play to foster prosperity and political stability in a region where new opportunities may be seized. The latter include the opening of new commercial routes, such as the doubling of the Suez Canal or China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and the strengthening of energy links within and between the two shores. In this context, MED 2016 also addresses two related topics: matching energy security objectives with sustainable development goals, and engaging Sub-Saharan African countries in dialogues that are often limited to the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean.
Discussions on “Shared Security” are focused on viable strategies to fight terrorism and promote successful postconflict transitions and institution-building aimed at enhancing resilience in Mediterranean countries. This will be all the more possible if new opportunities are offered to young generations across the region through: more inclusive growth, putting an end to the narratives of hatred and exclusion that fuel jihadist movements; intelligence cooperation and engagement of local communities to counter violent extremism and organized crime. These goals require an additional effort: rethinking the regional order in the MENA area by exploring the possible effects of the Iranian nuclear deal, the forthcoming Trump presidency, as well as the role played by international actors such as Russia and China.
The recent rise in migrant and refugee flows is turning into a humanitarian crisis. In this context, the “Migration” pillar encourages discussion about migration-related topics, including: identifying safe and legal routes for asylum seekers; fostering social inclusion; providing protection and assistance to migrants in need; and efficiently combining counter-trafficking policies with the respect of human rights.
Media, Culture & Society
The “Civil Society and Culture” pillar builds upon the acknowledgment that the Mediterranean region is a unique“melting pot” of cultures and religions, with important historical legacies, and a rich natural and cultural heritage. Topics in this pillar are: social and religious pluralism; counter-narratives to fight religious extremism; the role of the media in overcoming bias and misperceptions; and the crucial role of women and the younger generations.