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PRESS RELEASE

BEI/09/198

Marseille, October 9, 2009

The Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration is launched today

Marseille, October 9, 2009 – The World Bank launches, together with the European Investment Bank, the Governments of Egypt, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, and the City of Marseille, the Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration (MCMI). The Center will facilitate access to best knowledge and practices and improve cooperation to support development policies geared towards greater integration and convergence in the Mediterranean Region.

Development challenges in the Mediterranean region are increasingly complex and have to deal with interdependence in many areas. The Center will offer a platform for public and independent institutions from the region to discuss these challenges learn from each other and strengthen local, national and regional capacities to manage interdependence.

“MCMI is an integral part of World Bank and European partnership to promote regional integration through knowledge sharing, innovation and harmonization of standards, regulation and laying ground work for regional development project. More than ever national development strategies need to take interdependence into account. Mediterranean countries need to make informed policy choices to realize the potential of interdependence. Our partner countries are therefore keen to learn from each other’s experiences, successes and development challenges. We are striving to ensure this partnership results in concrete deliverable for the benefit of the region to reduce unemployment and poverty.” says Shamshad Akhtar, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region.

The MCMI areas of engagement include five clusters with 14 programs focusing on:

  • urban and spatial development;

  • sustainable development;

  • transport and logistics;

  • skills, employment and labor mobility challenges including youth and;

  • knowledge economy, innovation and technology.

“In the Mediterranean Basin which is one of the most populated arid region, we need to look together for the means to preserve the common space and public goods we are sharing in order to ensure sustainability for the population of the region. This is indeed what the MCMI aims at, and the meaning we ambition to convey concerning "the Mediterranean integration" says Christian Masset, General Director of Globalization, Development and Partnerships, French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Coordinating these programs through the Center’s platform will allow for more efficiency and better synergies notably through sharing of experiences, policy strategies, highlighting lessons learned and case studies, and proposing analytical tools to benchmark countries’ progress.

“The Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration brings innovation in the field of technical assistance to Mediterranean countries. On the one hand, multilateral donors such as the World Bank and the EIB, and bilateral donors mutualize their assistance effort to the modernization of Country Members public policies. On the other hand, they enrich their respective approaches by linking to other non-financial development players such as academic networks, United Nations agencies and civil society representatives. The countries of the Southern rim of the Meditarean are fully on board as founding members, and participate both to the design and implementation of activities, thus laying the ground for an equal partnership.” says Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice President.

The MCMI is a World Bank administered platform for multi-partner programs. It will be guided by a 12-member Strategic Council, representing various partners, who will provide strategic orientation.

The City of Marseille is a key partner and can facilitate innovative cooperation by hosting other institutions for Mediterranean cooperation including United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Plan Bleu.

“As a Founding Member of the MCMI, the City of Marseille will have the opportunity to upgrade its skills and know-how through multilateral cooperation programs. The developed programs will benefit from a leverage effect thanks to the pooling of financial means carried out by each partner. The Phoecean City thus reinforces its strategic position in the Mediterranean Basin” says Jean-Claude Gaudin, Senator – Mayor of Marseille.

Contacts:

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For more information on World Bank’s program in the Middle East and North Africa, please visit:

http://www.worldbank.org/mena ,


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