STATEMENT BY THE ADVISORY COUNCIL OF THE MEDITERRANEAN CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY FOUNDATION (MCAF) – Valencia, June 3rd 2023

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“Every man is an inhabitant of the Earth, as much as of his homeland” (Arendt, 1983).

“The old is dying, the new fails to see the daylight, in this chiaroscuro monsters
arise”(Gramsci).

We thought we had gotten rid of Daech, we thought we had gotten rid of the Coronavirus, of which we were trying to measure the effects on the reconfiguration of our lifestyles. But crises are followed by the kind of tragedies that men in their folly know how to provoke. The Mediterranean and its citizens are being drawn into a reconfiguration of the world that goes far beyond their geographical limits.

The Advisory Council is deeply concerned about the backdrop of the turbulence taking place
across the planet, beyond the Mediterranean perimeter: conflicts between old and new major powers; the war in Ukraine, where old Europe, even in its modern political version of the EU, is revealing its weaknesses to the giants.

The Advisory Council observes the ever‐widening gap between the richest and the poorest, in all the countries of the Mediterranean area, both North and South. Poverty is spreading. Inequalities between North and South, and within each country, are increasing.

The Advisory Council is extremely concerned about the ensuing socio‐political crisis. A crisis of representative democracy in Europe, reflected in people’s disinterest in elections, the loss of credibility of public institutions and scientific discourse, and the rise of the extreme right associated with xenophobia, racism, and violence against the weakest. A growing number of the weakest and poorest, whose distress is driving them to migrate via the Mediterranean to northern “El Dorado”, that are reluctant to welcome them.

The energy challenge is becoming increasingly crucial, creating new geopolitical conflicts and inequalities, which must be addressed in terms of access to a common public good.

WHERE TO FIND A WINDOW OF OPTIMISM?

The Advisory Council is observing the gradual reshaping of new social groupsthat are taking their place alongside old configurations such as political parties, trade unions … These new networks, born of a burgeoning culture of mobility and glocal virtual exchanges (from global to local), are reshuffling the cards of the identity paradigm. They may well be the seeds of future thinking, as well as sources of resistance.

At the heart of these networks have emerged innovative and popular initiatives driven by civil society. They are organized around benevolence, solidarity and creativity, particularly in the search for solutions for the survival in the context of climate change, which is forcing us to rethink our ways of life, on a social, political, and economic level.

THE MCAF

The functioning as a network of the Mediterranean Citizens’ Assembly Foundation (MCAF) is an experimental model and, in this case, a premonitory form of these “expression and pressure groups” of the future. The Advisory Council congratulates the remarkable actions of the Citizen’s Circles, which are the core of the network.

The Advisory Council welcomes the increase in the number of circles, with the formation of the Alicante circle (Spain) and the Catania one (Italy). And the upcoming creation of the Ammán circle (Jordan).

The Advisory Council salutes the continuity of the Foundation’s network and emphasizes that, thanks to its commitment over more than twelve years, the MCAF is now a key player when it comes to civic action in the Mediterranean.

The Advisory Council congratulates the Fondation pour le Progrès de l’Homme (FPH) on its constant support from the very beginning, and looks forward to its continued support in the
years to come.

Given the turbulent geopolitical context of the peoples of the Mediterranean, the close collaboration between the FPH and the MCAF is essential to keep the flame of the civil society alive and to advance the idea of a community of the peoples of the Mediterranean.

PROPOSALS

The MCAF Advisory Council:

‐ expresses its opposition to the dismantling of public services, which will further weaken the poorest by putting health care, education, and culture on the brink of collapse,

‐ reiterates its commitment to the fight against climate change,

‐ affirms its commitment to movements fighting all forms of violence, including violence against women, discrimination, and racism,

‐ expresses its concern at the continuing threats to human rights and individual freedoms in
the Mediterranean, which are often sacrificed in favor of the security approach, particularly in the management of migration issues,

-underlines its concern regarding the attacks by the Israeli occupation and its settlers against Palestinian civilians, notably in Gaza and the West Bank, and reaffirms that the solution to the Palestinian issue is linked to international law guaranteeing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the creation of their state with East Jerusalem as its capital,

‐ expressesits disquiet at the authoritarian drift and lack of respect for human rightsin Algeria and Egypt, as well as at the evolution of the political situation in Tunisia, which is moving further and further away from the democratic process, leaving little room for pluralist participation, excluding opponents through politically‐motivated arrests, and seriously threatening the rule of law,

‐ supports freedom of expression and organization, peaceful and diplomatic conflict resolution, democratic processes, communication, and dialogue, while respecting cultural diversity and universal civilizational values that are both Mediterranean and European,

‐ notes the absence of appropriate economic, social, and environmental policies and measures to promote sustainable development and the rational use and preservation of natural resources in the Mediterranean,

Particularly in the context of climate change, we face increasingly serious problems relating
to water, air, land, food, and renewable energy sources.

‐ stressesthe importance of cooperation with local and regional public entities, as well as with the parliaments of Mediterranean countries, the European Parliament, the African Union, the network of cities, and several civil society organizations.