The European Union has approved €84 million in new support for regional projects in the Southern Mediterranean, in key areas ranging from women's empowerment to the environment, civil protection and assistance to business.
A press release said the events of the Arab Spring affecting had been of major significance for the EU's work with the region. "Economic challenges are daunting, with high unemployment and stagnant incomes, while the region is facing significant environmental problems, including the increased impact of climate change. The situation is aggravated by a lack of empowerment for women and poor access to knowledge and education."
Responding to these challenges, the projects funded in the new package are:
Political and economic empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region (€7 million): This project will enable the participation of marginalised women in economic and public life, by addressing barriers that impede their access and engagement. It will advance women's rights in constitutional and legal frameworks and it will improve access to economic opportunities through support to self-employment.
GREEN MED: Towards a greener economy and a healthy environment (€7 million in 2012, €17 million in 2013) has two parts. It will help Mediterranean businesses to integrate environmental protection into their business operations, and it will build capacity for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea through actions related to protected areas, use of maritime resources, and preventing pollution.
Prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters – (PPRD) South II (€5 million) will help partner countries improve the quality of their civil protection services. It will increase capacity and regional co-operation in order to reduce the vulnerability and costs of natural and man-made disasters in the Mediterranean region. It follows on from the current PPRD project, which ends in December 2012.
Support to the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) (2012) (€32 million) will provide, through the European Investment Bank, capital to the private sector. It will support private sector ventures and strengthen the role of the local financial sector through technical assistance.
Euro-Mediterranean partnership global allocation for 2012-2013 (€16 million): this financial instrument allows for a more flexible approach towards preparation of actions and projects in response to the evolving circumstances and unforeseen political and economic developments in the region.
The funding will go towards the ten southern ENP partners, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria (cooperation with Syria being temporarily suspended) and Tunisia.
Source: EU Neighbourhood Info