Monday, 13/7/2020 | 5:12 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Libyan mayors and migration in spotlight at ARLEM

​Local politicians from across Europe and the Mediterranean will meet in Nicosia, capital of the Republic of Cyprus, on 18-19 January with relations between the European Union and its neighbourhood being reshaped by conflict, migration, social change and a review of the EU’s neighbourhood policy.

These changes have shaped the agenda of the seventh plenary session of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM), which is being held in Nicosia at the invitation of the city’s mayor, Mr Constantinos Yiorkhadjis.

An hour-long debate with mayors from Libya will give local political leaders – led by the Mayor of Tripoli, Abdelrauf Beitelmal – an opportunity to set out the challenges and needs of the country’s communities as the United Nations continues its efforts to ensure that an agreement in mid-December to form a ‘government of national unity’ is implemented. 

A debate on migration will feature speakers from three UN agencies – the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Habitat – as well as presentations by two organisations, the European Training Foundation and Eurochambres, that are seeking to help refugees and migrants acquire skills suited to the labour market in their new homes.

Improving skills and integrating migrants are two themes in a report that will be adopted by ARLEM. The author of the report, on ‘Employment and territorial development in the Mediterranean region’, is Ms Eleni Loukaidou (EPP/Cyprus).

The other report scheduled for adoption – on ‘A sustainable urban agenda for the Mediterranean region’ – has been drafted by Fawzi Masad, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of Amman, capital of Jordan and one of the cities most affected by the refugee crisis created by the war in Syria. His report contains a set of proposals that reflect the need of local authorities in the Mediterranean to adjust policies to reflect changes such as urbanisation and climate change.

The reports come at a time when the EU is considering how to adjust the European Neighbourhood Policy. Regions and cities on both sides of the Mediterranean are anxious to ensure that the policy review reflects the realities and potential of local government. The event closes with a debate on how local and regional authorities can work with civil society to develop and help local communities.