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Eastern Mediterranean Initiative: Building Regional Dialogue
This event is hybrid. It will take place at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and virtually.
For the participants attending in-person, light lunch will be served at 12h30-13h00 in the break between the two panel discussions.
The people of the Eastern Mediterranean have long been connected by a rich exchange in commerce and ideas that transcended conflicts and empires. In recent years, the region has received renewed international attention after the discovery of large oil and gas deposits. Against the backdrop of long-standing legal and political disputes, hydrocarbon exploitation has sparked new tensions and regional security dynamics. Despite its substantial common history and heritage, the Eastern Mediterranean is rarely thought of us as a distinct region, and the states along its coast have no inclusive multilateral cooperation between them.
Launched in 2020, the Eastern Mediterranean Initiative (EMI) is a track II dialogue process that brings together experts and former officials from around the Eastern Mediterranean region as well as external observers. Convened by the GCSP, the EMI aims to promote a peaceful and prosperous Eastern Mediterranean by building trust and understanding of shared interests. Its long-term ambition is to pave the way for structured cooperation and conflict prevention mechanisms.
The members of the EMI have jointly elaborated ideas and suggestions to address the key issues in the Eastern Mediterranean. To learn more about the EMI and its early achievements, join us for two exciting panel discussions on 16 October 2023, at 11h00-14h15.
Opening remarks will be delivered by Thomas Greminger, Director of the GCSP; and Didier Pfirter, Special Envoy of Switzerland for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Panel 1: Energy as a Catalyst for Cooperation (11h00-12h30)
The discovery of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean has led to major tensions between coastal states. The lack of agreements on maritime boundaries is their main cause. Yet, new discoveries could also be a catalyst for overcoming long standing differences, as strikingly illustrated by the maritime agreement signed in 2022 between Israel and Lebanon. Could this inspire others in the region? Could maritime delimitation principles developed by the EMI assist them?
Panel 2: Towards a Regional Political Framework (13h00-14h15)
Despite the many issues confronting the region as a whole – from political disputes and resource scarcity to environmental degradation and climate change – the Eastern Mediterranean states are missing the multilateral structures to address these challenges collectively. What could a political dialogue forum for the Eastern Mediterranean look like? What issues would it address, and is such a forum feasible?
Ms Antonia Dimou, Director of the Middle East Unit, Institute for Security and Defense Analyses, Athens
Amb Karim Haggag, Professor of Practice, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo
Amb (ret.) Michael Harari, Former Ambassador; Policy Fellow, Mitvim; Lecturer, Political Science Department, Yezreel Valley College