Join us on June 12th at 6:45 a.m. GMT for a lively discussion from the Regional Conference on Economic Integration in Beirut on the findings and recommendations of the World Bank study “Over the Horizon: A New Levant.”
“Dismantling Mediterranean Myths” is the Center for Mediterranean Integration’s new blog series. Using facts and statistics, it confronts misconceptions about the region. By opening up barriers, the series hopes to reframe, refresh and advance the thinking on Mediterranean issues.
The inaugural issue focuses on the myth of “Islamic Fertility” and is based on a contribution by Youssef Courbage, Research Director of the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris.
Beirut, Rabat and Tunis: New studies evaluate the cost of environmental degradation due to solid waste mismanagement
Solid Waste Management is a Priority
“Solid waste management is a priority in the Mediterranean region”, so said the last joint Horizon 2020 report of the European Environment Agency and UNEP/MAP (May 2014). Better managing solid waste is indeed essential for human wellbeing, control of health risks, limitation of Green House Gases and air pollution. It would also help solving the mounting problem of marine litter. According to data by SWEEP-NET, a regional network created by GIZ in 2009, which gathers information and helps national agencies promote best practices in solid waste management, the situation in the region has been deteriorating over the past 4 years with a 20% increase of non-collected waste and a 5.5 % increase of unsoundly disposal of waste. Numerous reasons are behind these difficulties: high rate of urbanization and changes in the way of life leading to increased waste generation (around 2% per year), low tax recovery level implying feeble investment efforts, and lastly political instability after the Arab spring making public decisions hesitant in contracting private sector operators.
This mismanagement of solid waste also translates in real cost for society. In the 90’s the World Bank was pioneer in supporting evaluations of the cost of environmental degradation (COED) and in 2010 a World Bank report described the history of COED in Middle East and North Africa.
Join us for a lively discussion from the Regional Conference on Economic Integration in Beirut on the findings and recommendations of the World Bank study “Over the Horizon: A New Levant.”
Representatives from the private sector in the Levant will discuss the potentials for and barriers to deeper regional integration in goods and services trade. Key questions that will be addressed: Where are the untapped potentials for regional integration, and in which sectors? How can Levant economies benefit from complementarities and competitiveness through regional trade integration? What are the behind-the-border barriers? And what are the suggested policies/actions to remove these barriers in the short and long-term?
Participating in the discussion will be ministers of trade and economy, governors of central banks, representatives of chambers from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories as well as entrepreneurs, think tanks, and academics.
The MENA integration team at the World Bank is reaching out to MENA citizens living abroad to get their views of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) citizens living abroad on how they would like to contribute to the economic development of their country of origin. The findings from this survey will provide a better understanding of the MENA diaspora contributions to their countries of origin for the purposes of informing the World Bank, development partners, and governments on policies and programs that can enhance the development benefits of migration and diaspora.
Many countries have seen the development of some sectors thanks to the return of their diaspora to home countries or strong links between diaspora and professionals in home countries (e.g. India, Chile, Ireland, etc.). Despite a number of publications on the role of diaspora in several countries and case studies, very little is known on the role of the diaspora in MENA countries.
The survey questionnaire is structured around six main sections, following the outline below. Please complete all the questions to provide us with a comprehensive picture.
Section I. General Information
Section II. General Engagement of MENA citizens living abroad
Section III. Investment Opportunities
Section IV. Trade Opportunities
Section V. Skills Transfers
Section VI. Role of the Government and Development Institutions
The data in this study will be kept confidential. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will not be shared with any commercial or other parties. There will be no individual attribution to any survey response. You are free to participate in this study or withdraw at any time.
At the end of this survey you will be invited, if you wish so, to submit your name and email address as an entry in the drawing for a free iPad and to get the results of the analysis.
Take the poll:
Thank you for your participation!
By Casey Weston*
Living in Marseille should give those of us working at the Center for Mediterranean Integration a unique perspective on the MENA region; after all, 20% of Marseille’s population is foreign-born, including many immigrants from MENA. In my particular neighborhood, tagines are more popular than ratatouilles, and “Salaam” more commonly heard than “Bonjour.” I recently stepped out of my quartier, however, to don my urban planning hat and visit a famous edifice in Marseille’s posh south side designed by urban planning visionary, Le Corbusier. From the building’s rooftop, I could see the legacy of Le Corbusier’s design aesthetic looming in the distance: large public housing towers surrounded by ample green space but relegated to foothills far afoot from most public transportation, most jobs, and the vibrant city center. Unfortunately, this type of designed exclusion is not unique to public housing residents; it also greets many migrants when they first arrive in their destination cities.
By Manjula Luthria*
When US-born 24-year old aspiring physician Ms. Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America in September last year, she inspired a celebration of beauty, brains, ambition and America’s diversity. At the same time twitter exploded with angry tweets protesting the crowning of a “foreigner, terrorist, Miss 7-11.” In January this year, the annual Superbowl event featured a one-minute Coca Cola advertisement featuring children and adults from all walks of life – mostly immigrants - across the country, singing "America the Beautiful" in multiple languages. The advertisement sparked outrage with detractors swearing to never buy a coke product again, and supporters calling these people xenophobic and bonkers. In February this year, the Swiss - known for their inherent language diversity with German, French and Italian spoken in different parts of the country - held a referendum to impose quotas on the movement of people between the EU and Switzerland which won by a narrow margin. And last week’s European Parliament elections showered gains on euro-skeptic and anti-immigration parties.
To those of us who work on migration, events like the above pose a mystery.
Policymakers in many countries around the Mediterranean (Euro-Med countries) have been concerned that elevated non-performing loans (NPLs) and the obstacles that banks face in resolving them could constrain credit growth, and then economic activity and job creation. Where NPL levels are high, policy action may be needed to stimulate NPL work-outs so that banks can deploy capital on new credit instead of managing problem loans that impair earnings. To stop the adverse feedback loop between low credit and subdued economic growth, regulators should explore ways to fine-tune incentives for banks and provide momentum for NPL work-outs and bank restructuring.
By Paul Scott Prettitore*
Family Code Reforms Set Grounds for Gender Equality
In 2004, the Government of Morocco made major amendments to its Family Code, known as the Moudawana. These reforms addressed two key aspects of gender inequality. The first was that husbands and wives were provided ‘joint responsibility’ in family matters, making both de jure heads of household. This could support women’s increased influence in household decision-making. The second was that women were no longer required to be obedient to their husbands. Obedience had been used as a justification for husbands to, among other things, forbid wives from working, traveling, controlling their own incomes and acquiring economic assets. The reforms also introduced some degree of flexibility in applying traditional views of rights and responsibilities of men and women within the family. For example, married couples can opt now to conclude contracts covering the management of economic assets linked to marriage, allowing for greater equality in control of assets. Men, however, remain legally obligated to provide financial maintenance to the family, which is often cited as justification for head-of-household status.