Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

II Experts’ Meeting: Employment, skills and entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean (Barcelona, Spain)


A conference

6 July 2012, Barcelona, Spain 

This conference was organised by the Union For the Mediterranean in cooperation with the OECD LEED Programme and the City of Barcelona through Barcelona Activa


What / How / Contact



The Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme and the City of Barcelona through Barcelona Activa, co-organised an expert meeting in Barcelona on the 18th of July 2011 focusing on skills for employment and entrepreneurship development in the Mediterranean countries. The meeting was attended by Ministries, agencies, universities, specialised research centres, business organisations, development agencies, and non-for profit organizations from the Mediterranean region.

It was commonly agreed to set up a platform based in Barcelona to foster skills development, entrepreneurship and SMEs in the Mediterranean at national, regional and local levels, so all the actors concerned, public and private, could work together to share and produce knowledge about experiences and best implementation pathways for actions in a more effective and permanent bases.

Based on the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative, the Business Development division of the UfM, jointly with the OECD, UNCTAD, ETF plus Barcelona Activa and Business Development Center of Jordan, have established a permanent Experts’ Board on Employment, Skills and Entrepreneurship Strategies in the Mediterranean, with the following objectives:


Monitor, study and report on best practices in the field.


Determine a strategy on the most effective way to disseminate and implement these best practices.


Liaise, contact, promote and advocate these best practices to an agreed number of Ministries from the Mediterranean countries.


Establish a set of objective indicators to define and assess the implementation of the afore mentioned best practices.


Operate as Advisory Board for the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (M4J) developed by the UfM.

The II Experts’ meeting on Employment, Skills and Entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean which took  place on 6 July 2012 was devoted to develop further the key areas of work which were identified in July 2011. The meeting was organised in the framework of the Transnational Workshop within the Med Ked project, a project devoted to foster knowledge-based Entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean, which is co-funded by the MED Programme, a transnational programme of territorial cooperation, financed as an instrument of the European Union regional policy.



The event was organised as an experts’ discussion. The identified key issues to be tackled were:

Theme I: Identification and up-scaling of best practices - the Mediterranean initiative for jobs (M4J)

At the 2nd UfM Ministerial meeting on employment (Brussels, November 2010), Euro-Mediterranean Ministers requested the UfM to improve coordination among donors, including donors from the private sector, with a view to promoting projects on employment. In line with this request, the UfM has developed the Mediterranean Initiative for Jobs (M4J), a programme designed to promote and replicate a number of private sector job creation projects in the South and Eastern Mediterranean. The initiative relies on a cross-sectoral, project-based approach. It covers both the supply and demand side of the labour market by targeting the three core issues of employability, job intermediation and business enabling infrastructure. The session focused on the synergies that were being developed in the framework of the initiative as well as on the first best practice projects that were implemented.

Theme II: Improving skills in small businesses - What happens after exposure to others' good practice?

This session brought together three different training experiences from the small business world. The first addresseed policy and support mechanisms to improve the interface between business and the education and training sector. The second looked at how small businesses are supported through training for operating in international markets. The final good practice addresseed national mechanisms to foster availability of training for SMEs. The presentationswere followed by parallel, break-out groups. Participants chose one break-out group. With an objective of determining the value of the good practices for back-home developments, each break group considered the following questions:

  • What are the issues from the good practice that are immediately appealing, and why?
  • What concretely can we do (as individuals or as a collective) to build on the knowledge and know-how shared through the good practice today?

Theme III: Innovative approaches to foster Mediterranean knowledge-based entrepreneurship (KBE)

On the long-term, Mediterranean economies will have to rely more on production and use of knowledge than ever before and on the entrepreneurial spirit as a key asset for growth. For a prosperous future a shift toward a Knowledge Economy is needed; thus Knowledge Based Entrepreneurship (KBE) plays a crucial role to exploit and bring knowledge to the market transforming it into new business opportunities. In this panel, experts shared experiences, good practices and discussion on supporting schemes for the start up, growth and development of Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean. Which are the common needs of Knowledge-based Entrepreneurs? Could we benefit from a Mediterranean approach to foster KBE?

Theme IV: Fostering  employment and skills strategies through public-private partnerships (PPP)

The growing globalisation and fierce competition among countries, cities and communities in the current environment together with the profound economic crisis requires a transformation of the competitiveness model, as well as an improvement in the public sector support services. The socio-economic development requires intense forms of public-private collaboration in both the design and the implementation of public policies and strategies in the Mediterranean region. The private sector must become a true "partner” towards the public interest. What models of PPP for skills and employment strategies? What are the roles of private and public sector? Is there a characteristic of the Mediterranean PPPs? Are there other local stakeholders needed for designing inclusive strategies?

Key conclusions from each session and an operational working plan were discussed in the final session of the experts’ meeting. 




For further information please contact Roger Albinyana at the Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat or Ms. Cristina Martinez at the OECD Secretariat.