Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) commitment to lessen unemployment and enhance social and economic integration

April 4th 2019

The 4th UfM Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labor, titled "Jobs, Skills and Opportunities for All", was held on April 2 and 3 in Cascais, Portugal. Participants discussed the most pressing needs of the labor market in the Euro-Mediterranean region. In particular, persistent inequality in access to jobs, mainly for women and young people.

Within the region, youth unemployment was twice as high as that of adults, while on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, young people were even three times more unlikely than adults to find work. Women continued to be under-represented in the labor market due to barriers and a persistent gap between legislative efforts and actual implementations.

UfM ministers agreed to focus action on four priorities:

• Support the creation of decent jobs and entrepreneurship

• Mobilize public and private actors to create partnerships and synergies

• Build inclusive labor markets to integrate potentially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups

• Invest in quality education systems and training, skills, and employability in an ever- changing working world (especially in the digital sector)

To reduce the excessive sharing of the informal economy, participating ministers also highlighted the potential of the social and solidarity economy. They highlighted the benefits of the Mediterranean Jobs Initiative (Med4Jobs), which promoted regional cooperation projects in the areas of youth employability; the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and inclusive growth.

They concluded that economic progress and social cohesion must go hand-in-hand. Therefore, the ministers reiterated their total commitment to creating the right conditions for integrating gender dimension into regional employment and labor policies. They also stressed the need to measure the impact of policies and committed to formulate a "Community of Practice" to share best practices.

On the sidelines of this conference, the UfM organized an event geared to the signing of a charter towards the promotion of social dialogue in the southern Mediterranean (Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia) as part of the SOLID project.