2014

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For the first time, a high representative stands for the private sector in this ministerial meeting

President Mohamed Choucair has represented ASCAME during the 9th ministerial meeting on Euro-Mediterranean industrial cooperation

The event took place on the 19th of February in Brussels. 43 ministers from UfM countries met in order to discuss subjects related to the industrial cooperation, especially the future strategy of industrial cooperation, a strategy ASCAME has heavily participated in with the aim to defend the interests of Mediterranean SMEs.

Launching of a tender in the framework of the OPTIMED project

In the framework of its participation in the EU funded project, under the ENPI CBC MED programme: "OPTIMED- Rationalizing Mediterranean Sea Ways: from Southern-Eastern to Northern-Western ports" -IIB_3.2_0465, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon -CCIABML launches a tender related to: Design, development and testing of a new information platform devised to enable businesses to plan shipping and identify the best freights transport option from the North-Western region to the South-Eastern region of the Mediterranean basin.

The platform should be developed in accordance with international accessibility standards and shall provide the users with all available options in terms of ports and connections, times, space availability, and service frequency.

Participation is open to all legal persons, participating either individually or in a grouping (consortium) of tenderers, which are established in a Member State of the European Union or in a country covered by the ENPI Regulation (EC) 1638/2006. Participation is also open to international organizations. The deadline for sending the application form is on the 10th of February 2015.

Kindly find here the contract notice and the application form

For more information, please visit the CCIA-BML site: www.ccib.org.lb

 

EUROMED Invest in Barcelona supports Tourism in the Mediterranean

EUROMED Invest project aims to develop lasting business investment and relations within the Euro-Med area to contribute to the inclusive economic development of tourism in the region

 Green tourism is one of the several priority niches identified by the EUROMED Invest project as a strategic area of investment in the Euro Mediterranean Region

• Mediterranean countries propose the creation of a common touristic brand

• In the framework of the MEDITOUR forum, the creation of a “Mediterranean Tourism Agency” was debated. 

In the framework of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, the 6th edition of the Mediterranean Tourism Forum (Meditour) took place in Barcelona on the 28th of November last. The forum – organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon, ASCAME, and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Barcelona – was focused this year on Lebanon, especially on Beirut, as a main cultural, intellectual and tourist center, and a potential future ecotourism center in the eastern Mediterranean.

The forum was organized in the framework of the EUROMED Invest project, as a “Sector Alliance Committee” for Tourism, bringing together the most representative organisations of the Euro-Mediterranean Region working on the tourism sector. This is one of the key European co-financed projects aims to stimulate private investment and economic relations in the Euro-Mediterranean area, primarily relating to five key sectors: Tourism, Transport & Logistics, Agro-food, Water & Alternative Energies and Cultural & Creative Industries. Indeed, reinvigorating the

Tourism sector in the Eastern Mediterranean is one of the project’s principle goals.

The forum has represented the most important international platform for networking in the Mediterranean region, and provided an exchange of expertise and views about the latest trends in Tourism.

One of the key debates of the forum focused on the importance of establishing a Mediterranean brand to support the complementarities of the tourism sector of both Mediterranean shores. Another much debated topic was the importance of the creation of a Mediterranean Tourism Agency. The session which tackled this issue counted on the participation of, among others, Emmanuel Noutary, Coordinator of EuroMed Invest project and General Delegate of ANIMA Investment Network, and count also on the participation of Jerónimo Pérez Casero, President of Málaga Chamber of Commerce and President of ASCAME’s Tourism Commission.

The event was inaugurated by the Lebanese Minister of Tourism, Mr. Michel Pharaon; the President of ASCAME and of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon, Mr. Mohamed Choucair; the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Barcelona, Mr. Miquel Valls, the President of Businessmed, Mr. Jacques Sarraf and the President of the Mediterranean Franchise Federation, Mr. Charles Arbid. This first session was moderated by the Managing Director of the Barcelona Tourism Board, Mr. Jordi William Carnes.

The President of ASCAME, Mr. Mohamed Choucair, highlighted that the tourism in the Mediterranean region should increase 80% by 2025. The president also mentioned the good prospects for the future of tourism, due to the growing interest of the region from new markets such as Asia, and especially China and India. Mohamed Choucair highly believes that in order to increase the number of tourists, the Mediterranean Region must be promoted as a whole and not as a group of countries. He adds that the collaboration among all the countries of the region is essential to create a common touristic offer and to prevent the unbalanced competition that might exist in the sector.

The Minister of Tourism of Lebanon highlighted that the number of tourists in Lebanon has increased despite of the riots that took place between June and September.

Mr. Rao on behalf of UNESCO highlighted the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Mediterranean Region, with 236 World Heritage sites and 56 Elements on the Intangible Heritage List. Mr. Rao emphasized the efforts that UNESCO is making to safeguard and promote this heritage through its sustainable tourism programme.

The special session on Lebanon entitled “The Challenge of Tourism in the Country of Cedars” was moderated by the General Director of the Ministry of Tourism in Lebanon, Mrs. Nada Sardouk. The forum counted on the participation of the President of the Lebanese Federation for Tourism Industries, Mr. Pierre Achkar: The President of Beiteddine Festival, Mrs. Nora Joumblatt; the President of the Municipality of Jbeil-Byblos, Mr. Ziad Hawat; the President of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon, Mr. Jean Abboud, the Representative of Ecotourism, Mr. Rafic Bazerji, the management member of the Businessmen Association in Tripoli and North, Mr. Wassim el Naghi and the Office Manager of Solidere, Mrs. Micheline Abi Samra.

During the session, the actions to be implemented in order to recover from the crisis of the tourist sector, which has directly affected the countries of the North and the South of the Mediterranean, as a consequence of the instability in the region, were discussed. In these countries, the tourism sector accounted for around 8.5 million jobs in direct and indirect employment (15% of total employment).

Furthermore, the aim of the sessions about the country of Cedars was to consolidate the initiatives to be undertaken by the sector, in order to maximize the efficient use of the current infrastructure and tourism regional development investment program, which will reach one trillion dollars. The main objectives of this plan, supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), are to increase the airports capacity, to increase air fleets to 150% and to improve the tourist accommodation.

Ms. Esther Martinez – acting as Chairperson of the EUROMED Invest Sector Alliance Committee for Tourism – was responsible for moderating the session on “The Future of Travel and Tourism in the Mediterranean Region – A Vision to 2025”. This highly stimulating session counted on the participation of Rodolfo Giampieri, President form the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce and President of Ancona Chamber of Commerce; Antonio López de Ávila, President of SEGITOUR, a State-owned Company for the Management of Innovation and Tourism Technologies in Spain and Michel Frenzel, Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

During this session, it was strongly highlighted the issue regarding the regional and local security as well as the political, economic, social and technological key factors for the tourism development.

It was also highly remarked that travel & tourism are a global key driver of socio-economic progress in the Mediterranean Region through the creation of jobs, enterprises and infrastructure development.

The special session about “The Green Tourism” allowed the participants to discuss the different strategies available and good practices regarding a green and sustainable development of tourism, as well as the role that the municipalities and the private sector should play in order to promote the change of the tourism offer in the region.

Green Tourism is one of the key priority niches identified by the EUROMED Invest project as a strategic area of investment in the Euro Mediterranean Region, with a view to promoting the sustainable growth of the sector on the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The session counted on the participation of Charles Arden-Clarke, Acting Head of 10YFP Secretariat in UNEP; Mohammad Asfour, Chair of World GBC MENA Network and Board Member of the World Green Building Council; Mary Mulvey, CEO of Ecotourism Ireland; José Guillermo Díaz, CEO of Artiem Hotels and Núria Sendrós Rius, from the Protected Natural Spaces Department, of the Genralitat de Catalunya, and representing the MEET Project.

Finally, the participants of the session regarding the Mediterranean Tourism Agency determined some of the requirements and the features that the future Mediterranean Tourism Agency would need to have. The Agency should be able to offer the entire industry, key and precise sector information, to forecast the sector trends.

The 8th edition of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders gathered, during three days, more than 1300 international and regional business leaders and policymakers from the private sector, as well as policy authorities and international organizations which will discuss and analyze the Euro-Mediterranean policies, as well as the economic situation of the Mediterranean Region, highlighting the opportunities of the green economy and the sustainability, as main driving forces for the economic and social growth of the Mediterranean Region.

ASCAME collaborates with the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise)

The Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) have signed on November 26th a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to create an efficient and sustainable network between the Mediterranean Cruise Ports by involving the Mediterranean private sector.

The Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports (MedCruise) have signed on November 26th a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the framework of the main regional economic event: the 8th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders which took place from 26th to 28th November 2014 in Barcelona. This agreement, which will intensify the cooperation between both institutions and support the growing cruise industry as a facilitator for the economic and social development of the region, was signed between the President of ASCAME, Mr. Mohamed Choucair and the President of Med Cruise, Ms. Carla Salvadó.

“MedCruise and ASCAME will contribute to the creation of an efficient and sustainable network with the final aim to support cruise activities in the Mediterranean region, its people and its businesses all over the world,” said Salvadό. “Our association accelerates its work to bring more cruise visitors to our region. MedCruise is committed to developing an investment-friendly environment and thus fostering initiatives in the Mediterranean region and its adjoining seas in order to establish a stable, sustainable and long-lasting cruise growth.”

MedCruise counts 70 members representing more than 100 ports around the Mediterranean region, including the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Near Atlantic, plus 32 associate members, representing other associations, tourist boards and ship/port agents. The Association assists its members in benefiting from the growth of the cruise industry by providing networking, promotional, and professional development opportunities.

Through this agreement, both associations will share best practices, collaborate on ongoing and future international projects in the Mediterranean region, and organize and participate in bilateral meetings, events and workshops linking strategic sectors of mutual interest such as Mediterranean ports, transport & logistics and tourism.

ASCAME participates in the International Mediterranean Energy Conference

The International Mediterranean Energy Conference took place the 8th of December in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference was organized by ASCAME and the Chamber of Commerce of Istanbul. As the President of the ASCAME Commission of Conventional Energies said: “The event was held in a context where energy is a key and challenging factor of development in our region and the energy interdependence and complementarity which links the countries from both shores of the region encourages us to reflect on more in-depth energy cooperation”

The event represented a great opportunity to discuss the latest development and the opportunities and challenges that may represent the energy sector in the region. Taner Yıldız, Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources was present at the event and made a noteworthy speech about the climate change, energy expenditures and global energy projects. The Minister said: ‘’The energy projects should be human-focused and the outcomes of the projects should be shared among world countries in an equal way.’’ Energy experts from leading institutions such as Union for the Mediterranean, International Gas Union, International Finance Corporation, United Nations Development Programme and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were present at the conference as speakers.

They highlighted the important role that Mediterranean countries play in strengthening energy sector in the context of new technologies, energy efficiency policies, opportunities, corporation and economic sustainability both for European and world countries. Olgu Okumuş, Manager of the Energy Project in Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) talked about UfM facts and figures in short, private investment and the regional projects of UfM in six different priority areas such as water & environment, energy & climate change, higher education & research. Mr. Adonai Herrera Martinez from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) highlighted EBRD’s Sustainable Energy Financing and Sustainable Energy Financing Investments in Turkey between 2009 – 2014, EBRD in the Mediterranean and Policy for Sustainable Energy.

The presentation of Deputy General Manager, Mr. Erdal Çalıkoğlu from General Directorate of Renewable Energy, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources focused on Energy Efficiency and Energy Efficiency Vision of Turkey. Karan Mangotra, Project Manager of the United Nations Development Programme Energy Efficiency Projects, talked about the National Action Plan for Climate Change in India. He mentioned that ‘’Protecting the poor and vulnerable sections of society through an inclusive and sustainable development strategy sensitive to climate change.’’ Dr. Sohbet Karbuz, Director of Mediterranean Observatory for Energy (OME) made a presentation about East Mediterranean Gas: Developing Trends, Constraints and Opportunities and Key Determinants of Israel-Cyprus-Turkey gas pipeline.

Mehmet Efe Biresselioğlu, Head of Sustainable Energy in Izmir University of Economics referred to the subjects including energy security, new energy paradigm and energy efficiency. Torstein Indreboe, Honorary Secretary General of International Gas Union mentioned that ‘’To act in favour of gas as an integral part of a sustainable global energy future.’’ In his presentation, he focused on global energy politics and global vision for gas.’’

Foster in Med project organized the 1st Mediterranean Solar Forum in Barcelona

The event was organized in the framework of a capitalisation event of the FOSTEr in Med project. The forum took place in the framework of the VIII Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders.

• The forum took place in the framework of the VIII Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders.

• The event was organized in the framework of a capitalisation event of the FOSTEr in Med project.

• New opportunities in the Mediterranean region were discussed during the forum. 

• Technology and partnerships are key factors for achieving a local economic benefit.

• 25M of € of investment in solar energy in the Mediterranean, from the 6 European confinanced projects involved in the forum.

In the framework of the 8th edition of the Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders that was held from the 26th to the 28th of November, ASCAME and the Chamber of Commerce of Industry and Navigation of Barcelona organized the 1st Mediterranean Solar Forum, which analyzed the challenges and opportunities that the Solar Energy Market represents in the Mediterranean basin.

This VIII edition of the Mediterranean Week of Economic leaders, focused on key aspects essential to the sustainable and inclusive development of the Mediterranean region such as renewable energies and eco-efficiency. This year the focus will be made on Green Economy as a main driving force for the economic and social growth of the region.

The event was organized in the framework of a capitalization event of the FOSTEr in Med project, whose objective is to transfer the know how in the solar energy field, to implement and promote a share design methodology and to promote innovative Solar Energy technologies at civil society level. The PV Building Integration (BIPV) is a practice that allows the use of PV modules as architectural elements. The main outputs of the project are the 5 PV plants that will be installed public buildings in 5 of the regions involved which are: Alexandria (Egypt), Beirut (Lebanon), Aqaba (Jordan), Tunis (Tunisia) and Cagliari (Italy).

The Mediterranean Solar Forum focus on social impact, training, policy impact and the challenges in the solar sector.

The event gathered, for the first time, 6 strategic projects of the “ENPI CBC MED Solar cluster” established in Amman, Jordan in October 2013 and composed of all the ENPI CBC MED Strategic Projects promoting the growth of the Mediterranean Solar sector: FOSTEr in MED; SHAAMS; MED SOLAR; DIDSOLITPB; STS-MED and MED DESIRE.

These projects from the European Union Neighborhood Policy financing instrument (ENPI), included European Union members and partner countries regions located along the both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and are working on the promotion and the development of the solar energy sector in the Mediterranean basin.

The Mediterranean Solar Forum was inaugurated by Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President, European Investment Bank (EIB); Teresa Ribeiro, Deputy Secretary General for Energy of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM); Abdelmalik Aadiati, representing the Chamber of Tangiers and ASCAME’s Renewable Energy Commission, and Alaa Ezz, in representation of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and responsible for leading both ASCAME’s Environment Commission and the ENPI CBC MED Solar Projects Cluster.

During the inauguration it was discussed the importance of promoting a Mediterranean platform of solar energy in order to establish an economic and strategic alliance.

During the session, the need of creating more projects was also highlighted as well as the need of using new opportunity tools to boost the development of the solar energy.

The session about leveraging investment in the Mediterranean Solar Market, counted on the participation of Xavier Valvé, Director of Trama Medioambiental, Giles Dickson, Vice-president of Environmental Policies and Global Advocacy, Alstom Group and Ionannis Vourdoubas, Professor of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete and Mariano Vizcaino, Director of International Development, Abengoa Solar, and it was moderated by Caty Arévalo, Environment Correspondent of EFE Agency.

The importance of choosing wisely how to invest in solar energy was one of the issues discussed during the session. Beside this, it was highlighted the new opportunities in the North and South Mediterranean, as well as the differences between both shores.

Of particular discussion in the session were the main reasons for using solar energy, in particular for the technical and local economic development of each of the regions and also the affordable cost and positive macroeconomic impact.

It was also highly remarked that technology and partnerships are key factors for boosting local economy benefits.

In relation to solar energy investment, the state of the art in Greece was presented as an example of a country which has very attractive feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic systems, as well as large investment from European Funds.

The session on Regional Cooperation for the Promotion of the Solar Sector counted on expert presentation and in depth dialogue between the ENPI CBC Med Solar Cluster on the state of policy and legislation, education and training, infrastructures.

The debate was moderated by Luca Palazzo, Joint Managing Authority of ENPI CBC MED and involved the participation of Guiseppe Desogus from the University of Cagliari as a spokesman for the FOSTEr in MED project; Cristian Bardaji from Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, as representative of the SHAAMS project; Antonie Graillot from TramaAmbiental as a representative of MED SOLAR project; Álex Parella from the Autonomous University of Barcelona representing DIDSOLIT-PB; Fabio Maria Montangnino, Managing Director of ARCA Constortium and a representative of STS-MED project and Juan Pablo Jiménez from Andalusian Institute of Technology on behalf of the MED DESIRE project.

During the debate, 4 main themes were discussed related to challenges and opportunities of solar infrastructures (on-grid PV systems, off-grid PV systems, back-up PV systems); programs and necessities of education and training on solar energy; the impact and involvement of society in the implementation of solar energy; and policy and legislation on the solar sector.

All 6 solar projects have common objectives such as raising public awareness on energy efficiency through the transferability and implementation of good practices in legal, regulatory, economic and organizational issues including the promotion of new financing mechanisms to facilitate the take up of solar technologies: opportunities and potentialities of solar energy solutions, collaborative activities by public and private stakeholders, common MED long-term approach towards solar energy and encouraging informed debates.

During the debate, features of on-grid Photovoltaic System were presented. It was highlighted that it is a technical challenge that can be boosted by: simply policy, easy building integration, and a high importance for the development of the industry in the Mediterranean sector.

On the other hand, the features of back-up photovoltaic systems were presented, which among others are: more technological complexity, they offer energy management systems, reduce fuel consumption and increase employment.

The last session was related to the VI Medacity with a special edition of the future Mediterranean Cities: New energies for sustainability – the Era of solar energy.

The session count on the participation of Malek Kabariti, Former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Jordan; Enric Fuster, of Innopro and Expert in Regional Specialization; Guisepe Desogous from the Univesity of Cagliari; Farida Boukhtouche Cherfa, Reserch Officer form the Development Center of Renewable Energies; and Rosa Paradell, Director of the Smart City Business Institute, while it was moderated by Manel Manchón, Political correspondent on the financial daily Economía Digital.

During the session the integration of renewable energies in cities was the topic of debate, such as PV solar, wind energy, the use of numerical technology to manage energy and the energy independence with efficiency, in order to reduce the cost of living.

One of the presentations revealed that by the 2020 the 40% of the consumption of national energy will be from the renewable energy. Nowadays more than 50% of the world population lives in urban areas. These cities are responsible for 70% of the worldwide energy consumption, and at the same time they are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gases emissions. By 2050 almost 70% of the world’s population is projected to be urban based, highlighting the need for debate on the integration of more sustainable energy solutions in our cities.

The Mediterranean Solar Forum was also held in the framework of the SHAAMS project, which has the goal of promoting the development of common strategies in the solar energy sector in the Mediterranean in close collaboration between public and private actors. The main outputs of the project are 24 multilateral exchange missions, 8 capacity building actions and 3 technology transfer and brokerage events (Jordan, Lebanon and Spain) and STS-MED project that focus on the development, implementation and diffusion of pioneering technologies to improve energy efficiency in public buildings. These 3 projects belong to the network of ASCAME, which is the main representative Association of private sector in the Mediterranean and it is currently represented in the consortia of 22 projects in the Mediterranean basin.

The forum will also count on the collaboration of the MED-SOLAR project that is building 4 solar plants models on the roof of hospitals and universities in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan with the intention of promoting and transferring occidental know-how technology while solving structural energy problems in these countries. The DIDSOLITPB project’s objective, which was also in the forum, is to promote the sustainable and harmonious cooperation process at the Mediterranean Basin level by dealing with the common challenges and enhancing its endogenous potential. It finances cooperation projects as a contribution to the economic, social, environmental and cultural development of the Mediterranean region.

The last project that takes part of the Med Solar cluster is MED DESIRE project that works to facilitate the take up of distributed solar energy and energy efficiency in the target regions, by achieving effective cross-border cooperation and by raising public awareness on the related benefits for the environment and for sustainable local development.

For further information about Foster in Med please don't hesitate to visit www.fosterinmed.eu

ASCAME collaborates with the Union of Mediterranean Confederation of Enterprises (BusinessMed)

The Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Union of Mediterranean Confederation of Enterprises (BusinessMed) have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to foster the economic and social development of the Mediterranean business community. The main regional economic event: the 8th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders took place from 26th to 28th November 2014 in Barcelona.

This agreement, whose objective is to develop the Mediterranean business community and maximize the bilateral and multilateral Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, was signed between the President of ASCAME, Mr. Mohamed Choucair and the President of BusinessMed, Mr. Jacques Jean Sarraf. The Union of Mediterranean Confederations of Enterprises (BUSINESSMED) is a regional professional organisation created thanks to the will, determination and militancy of the federations' presidents of the twelve members and which aims at accelerating the integration and the social and economic development in the region. BUSINESSMED main objective is economic integration within Europe and World economy.

Today BusinessMed gather the main professionals’ organizations from Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Italy, Greece, France, Germany, Serbia, Portugal, Turkey, Spain and Mauritania. Through the signature of this MoU, ASCAME consolidates its role as main representative of the Mediterranean private sector. Both institutions commit to participate in the respective actions’ programs and collaborate in the implementation of international projects in the Mediterranean region.

ASCAME and the ICC/WCF sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chamber Federation (WCF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday 26th in order to strengthen the role of the Mediterranean business community.

The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chamber Federation (WCF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday 26th in the framework of the main economic event in the region: the 8th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders which took place from the 26th to the 28th of November 2014 in Barcelona and the XXIII ASCAME General Assembly held on November 26th.

This agreement was signed by the President of ASCAME, Mr. Mohamed Choucair and the President of the WCF, Mr. Peter Mihoc and aims at promoting the best business practices and disseminates know-how among companies and especially SMEs in the region. “I believe it is safe to say that now the future of the global economy depends heavily on SMEs and they can count on ICC and WCF to strengthen their activities” has announced the President of the WCF. Mr Mihok also applauded the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding as an excellent first step to tap into new opportunities to exchange and promote best practices, as well as encourage entrepreneurial initiatives.

Finally, he highlighted the important role chambers play in strengthening economic recovery in the Mediterranean area through stronger small- and medium-sized enterprises. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world business organization. It represents all the sectors and all the regions and gathers thousands of companies and professional federations within its national committees, in more than 120 countries. It plays a leading role in elaborating the rules of international trade and sharing best practices.

The World Chamber Federation (WCF) is an integral part of the ICC’s plans and aims at fostering the creation of networks and exchange of information about the best chambers’ practices. This agreement is in line with the mission of ASCAME to consolidate the role of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce by helping them to reach the best practices at the international scale. Besides, through this agreement, ASCAME will join nine other regional transnational bodies including EurochambresAssociation of Iberoamerican Chambers of Commerce (AICO), African and Francophone Consular Chambers (CPCCAF), Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), and Junior Chamber International (JCI) and will allow the ICC/WCF to play a major role in the Mediterranean region. As the first initiative of this new Memorandum of Understanding, ASCAME will participate in the World Chamber Congress organized by the ICC/WCF which will take place on June 10th to 12th, 2015 in Torino, Italy.

The OPTIMED partners met in Barcelona for the 2nd Steering Committee meeting

On December 1st and 2nd, the partners of the OPTIMED project have met for a two-days meeting in order to discuss the progress of the project. The meeting has been organized by one of the project’s partner, the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) in the emblematic Casa Llotja de Mar.

On December 2nd the administrative and financial issues related to the project were discussed as well as the planning of the first interim report. Following the meeting of the management group, the 2nd meeting of the Steering Committee took place, during which the main lines of action and delays related to the project were discussed and approved.

Finally, the meeting ended over with a discussion between the partners and Mr. S. D’Alfonso, Senior Project Manager of the Transport and Urban Development Department of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) to analyze how to integrate the Optimed project with the initiatives of the UfM.

At the occasion of her visit in Barcelona, the General Director of Transport of the Sardinia Region, Ms. Gabriella Massidda along with the Technical Coordinator of the project, Mr. Paolo Fadda and the director of the 2E3S, Mr. Eduard Rodés, have met, on December 2nd, the General Director of Transport and Mobility of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Mr. Pere Padrosa in order to share views and ideas about the Transport sector in both regions and to present the OPTIMED project.

With a total budget of €1,999,403.13, OPTIMED is a project funded under ENPI CBC MED, the financial instrument supporting the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) in the Mediterranean basin. It aims at promoting new opportunities, facilities, tools and skills in order to improve the commercial connections and relationships between public and private operators in maritime transport and logistics sector from Southern – Eastern to Northern – Western ports of the Mediterranean Sea.

The project will identify and spread the opportunities of the new maritime trade network and the potentialities of a supporting tool like the virtual logistics platform among economic operators from EU and Mediterranean Partner countries.

ASCAME and UFM collaborate in the benefit of the economic integration in the Mediterranean

The Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) have signed an agreement on Wednesday 26th of November 2014 to strengthen the private sector’s involvement in economic and social development in the Mediterranean region.

ASCAME and the Secretariat of the UfM have signed a new strategic cooperation agreement on November 26th, 2014 in the framework of the 8th Mediterranean Week of Economic leaders which took place from November 26th to 28th in Barcelona.

According to the signatories: the President of ASCAME, Mr. Mohamed Choucair and the General Secretary of the UfM, Mr. Fathallah Sijilmassi, this strategic agreement, which aims at promoting the participation of the companies and the involvement of the Mediterranean private sector in the activities implemented by ASCAME and the UfM, allows both institutions to pursue their collaboration, already fruitful, started in 2011.

Fostering employment opportunities, promoting social business initiatives, facilitating investment flow and increasing the overall attractiveness of the Euro-Mediterranean region for investment will be some of the alliance’s priority lines of action. More specifically, the agreement aims to support initiatives that promote job creation and entrepreneurship especially targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 90% of businesses in the region.

“The private sector is an essential partner to foster greater investment opportunities and trade as well as technology and knowledge transfer in our region (…)The Secretariat is happy to work together with ASCAME to develop an investment-friendly environment and, thus, foster private sector initiatives which should be the basis for sound, sustainable and long-lasting economic growth”, said Mr. Fathallah sijilmassi. He particularly stressed the importance of developing specific projects which involve young entrepreneurs and which facilitate access to technical and financial tools.

“Our objective is to strengthen collaboration between the private and public sectors, thereby promoting socio-economic development on both shores of the Mediterranean and contributing to job creation, especially for youth”, added the President of ASCAME. “Fostering internationalisation of SMEs and facilitating trade and investment flow in the region will be crucial to emerge from the current crisis and generate opportunities for growth”, he continued.

In the framework of the 8th Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders, UfM Secretary General Sijilmassi received the ASCAME Prize from the hands of President Choucair in recognition of the UfM Secretariat’s efforts and achievements to promote business development and private sector involvement in the Mediterranean developmental agenda.

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