Collaboration and representation in global forums

The Green MENA Network is a network that collects and connects green initiatives, businesses and activists from the Middle East and North-Africa (MENA). In June, we had the opportunity to bring together a group of 16 key actors for a workshop in Ajloun, Jordan. The participants had a wide range of backgrounds; Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Regional connections

The meeting proved to be a relevant and well-received opportunity. An intersectoral MENA-regional approach is unusual. As a result, there was a lot of enthusiasm for getting to know each other and exploring opportunities for collaboration. The setting was breathtaking: we stayed in Ajloun, a mountainous forest region in northern Jordan, with beautiful panorama views all the way to Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. 

Energy transition & food sovereignty

Two central themes were selected to focus on: energy transition and food sovereignty. In both fields, it is felt that MENA-countries are treated colonially by Western companies and governments. “Our farmers should be able to choose what and how they produce. They should have access to water, land, and seeds.” According to MENA stakeholders, EU-MENA cooperation projects on energy transition do not prioritize the benefits of the MENA, but rather on the needs of the EU. People in MENA-countries have grown accustomed to such standards as a result of the region’s long history of colonial relations. “We need to decolonize our minds first and then the relation with the EU.”


MENA Representation

Participants acknowledge a lack of quality representation from the MENA-region in global discussions on these topics. They would like to contribute to its improvement. The participants are committed to staying in touch and want to collaborate in the writing of a regional strategy but time was too short to start working on regional agendas yet. And we at the Greater Middle East Platform will continue to strive to make EU trade and aid more sustainable and greener.

For an impression of the workshop, check out this video produced by one of the participants.

Author: Sylva van Rosse