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CIO 2020-2021


i. Cooperation in the field of health in the post-Covid 19 period

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated once again that cooperation both at the international and at the regional level is key to cope with such global challenges.

The transboundary nature of the pandemic requires a coordinated response. Effective distribution of limited resources, providing timely assistance and sharing lessons-learnt and best practices have been crucial during this period. Continued experience sharing among the SEECP Participants in the post Covid-19 period would also be an added-value to joint efforts in this field.

As a socio-economic consequence of this crisis, a wide spectrum of sectors deeply felt the negative impact of the pandemic. In the post Covid-19 period, international partnerships will be crucial for bringing back economic growth. International and regional organizations will have a role to play in achieving sustainable recovery.

Regional fora will also have a role in shaping tailor-made responses to the post-Covid 19 socio-economic challenges. In this regard, SEECP would play an important role to initiate a dialogue for the socio-economic recovery of the SEE region as a whole.

ii. Brain drain, developing the quality of human capital and education

Brain drain has been occupying the agenda of the region for some time. After the late 1990s, a significant number of people did return to the region. Nonetheless, in the last decade, unmet economic expectations and negative perceptions towards the quality of life in SEE resulted in a new wave of emigration from the region. It is important to develop regional responses to overcome brain drain, which stands out as one of the most prominent socio-economic problems in the region.

Developing the quality of human capital through training and education, while avoiding skill mismatch is required. In cooperation with relevant the private sector representatives, development of small and medium enterprises is also necessary.

Exchange of views on education and training, sharing national experience in digitalization in education and training, carrying out common work on special education, exchange of information on employment practices and exploring views of diaspora and opinion leaders will also help the Participants to work together under this priority topic.

iii. Connectivity, Strengthening intra-regional infrastructure

South East Europe has been at the cross-roads on major trade routes throughout history. The economic development of the region would benefit from renewed and improved connectivity infrastructure.

Improving connectivity among the countries in the region and with neighbouring regions would also play a decisive role in stimulating economic growth and promoting job opportunities. Sustainable connectivity, which is a significant factor in attracting investments and the consolidation of regional infrastructures needs to be encouraged through activities especially in the economic, infrastructural, people-to-people and digital connectivity fields in collaboration with the regional representatives of private sector.

Exchanges of views at Ministerial and/or technical levels on connectivity in key sectors such as transport, energy, technology and science would be instrumental to pave the way for further progress on this topic.

iv. Increasing intra-regional and extra-regional trade

Having taken into account the low share of intra-regional trade within the overall trade of the region and its limited market access to third countries, a focus on promotion and facilitation of trade within the SEE region and SEE region’s access to other markets would help better use of such potential and also contribute to overcoming the socio-economic challenges of the region.

In cooperation with the private sector, highlighting the importance of transport connectivity, exploiting the full potentials of maritime ports having higher international connectivity and trade facilitation intra-SEE trade, which could be built upon the existing legal arrangements within the SEE Region would be required. Trade Ministers would benefit from a gathering where they can interactively address these issues.

v. Migration management

Migratory pressures have been challenging the SEECP Participants for a long time. Cooperation, assistance and capacity building are necessary.

SEECP partners would also benefit from exploring ways to develop common best practices regarding this regional challenge.

vi. Youth, Culture and Tourism

Increasing people-to-people

connectivity through encouraging dialogue among youth, also by highlighting the common cultural values of the region as well as promoting tourism potential of South East Europe would tap into a rich potential which would contribute to addressing various challenges in the region.

The role of worldwide diasporas of the regional participants in promoting the youth, culture and tourism of the region would be beneficial.

vii. Security

The crucial role of the judiciary in countering important common challenges of the region, organized crime and terrorism in particular, needs to be supported through regional cooperation. Building capacity through sharing experience, lessons learnt and best practices would be beneficial in this regard.

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