After numerous local meetings, fostering and creating a strong network of Young Professionals from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Track II Young Professionals (YPF) forum convened a regional meeting at the end of January in Nicosia, Cyprus, to broaden its circles of engagement.
The YPF network, funded by the European Union and the US Embassy to Israel, with its approximately 40 committed participants, active in diverse fields, who have met more than 8 times for various workshops or community building projects, presents an invaluable opportunity to now move into a collaborative project ideation and implementation phase.
This workshop brought together approximately 30 emerging environmental leaders from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and other MENA countries, to learn effective tools and strategies in environmental advocacy in support of regional integration.
The workshop focused on the regional approaches to advocacy skills, in an attempt to explore in-depth the relationship between environmental advocacy projects on the ground and the promotion of regional policy development. This workshop was a continuation of the previous YPF regional gathering held in Jordan in late 2019, in which the above needs arose.
Regional experts from Turkey, Palestine, and Israel using their extensive experiences to provide critical exposure to the interconnected environmental challenges currently facing the eastern Mediterranean region conducted the workshop. Participants studied and analyzed case studies, engage in hands-on group exercises and explored ways to leverage their collective expertise to overcome barriers to communication, build and strengthen their professional network to move their career forward.
The next step for the Forum is engagement with regional actors to design and implement cross-border initiatives across the Middle East and North Africa. We will do so by employing the regional and international advocacy tools required to accomplish this, and by recognizing the need to promote specific policies for a broader impact.
The participants of the YPF have direct experience with the immense challenges facing cross-border cooperation in the region. Nevertheless, they have made a commitment to continue and further develop this process, in belief that our commonalities are greater than our differences, and that we must work together to create a positive change on the ground.
Submitted by Dagan Ben Zvi