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A new Foundation of Women for the Mediterranean

17 novembre 2009

Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean agreed Thursday to set up a Foundation of Women for the Mediterranean, for « meetings, initiatives and sharing local experience. » The 40 member states of the Union for the Mediterranean were meeting at ministerial level on Wednesday and Thursday in a conference in Marrakesh co-chaired by France, Egypt, Sweden and Morocco.

In a statement issued at the end of the Conference,  the Union noted that « the role of women in Mediterranean societies progresses, but at different rates, including on the northern shore of the Mediterranean. » The UPM decided that a women’s foundation could « coordinate energies and means » and « create a network of women around the Mediterranean. »

The Foundation, to take effect in 2010, would include a Euro-Mediterranean Observatory on violence against women, with a judicial statute based on French law and « multilateral governance, » the statement said.

The three founding sites will be Paris, Marrakesh and Byblos in Lebanon, but further centres could be set up in countries or towns that are interested in opening them.

The Foundation will be publicly and privately funded « uniquely on a voluntary basis, » but the World Bank will make an initial contribution to get it off the ground.

« There’s an enormous number of initiatives taken by women in the Euro-Mediterranean basin, but nobody federates it all, » France’s Minister of Labour, Social Relations, the Family and Towns Xavier Darcos told AFP. « Here we have something that affects everybody and mobilises forces that ask no less, » he added, acknowledging that the Union « has little else to deal with, essentially for political reasons. »

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