SHADE MED: the conclusions of the Conference. Looking ahead to 2024 / Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI

ROME. The 12th edition of the Conference SHADE MED 2023 – “Shared Awareness and De-confliction in the Mediterranean Sea“, took place in Rome on the 06th and the 07th of December. The event, co-organized with the NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood, saw the participation of high-level speakers who drew a picture of the complex situation that the Mediterranean region is experiencing.

In these two fruitful days, we had the pleasure of welcoming representatives from international organizations, such as NATO, UNHCR, INTERPOL, from the EU, like EEAS (External Action Service) including EUMS (Military Staff), EUISS (Institute for Security Studies), FRONTEX (Border and Coast Guard Agency) and scholars from the CHDS (Italian Center for Higher Defense Studies) and IAI (International Affairs Institute) and many others, renowned guests and knowledgeable participants including Officers, Diplomats, Academics, and students from 31 countries.

“There is no silver bullet, neither a certain solution but we, the international community, can make the difference. Operating at sea, like EU Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI or NATO Operation SEA GUARDIAN, in the daily job in our offices, in the Academies and Research Centers, in the Governmental Institutions we represent an extraordinary example of cooperation. Our efforts can have impact not only in the Mediterranean but everywhere around the world”Rear Admiral Stefano Turchetto, Operation Commander of EUNAVFOR MED Operation IRINI, stated in his closing remarks to the Conference.

German forces operating within the Operation IRINI

During the main panel discussion and the working groups, different points of view and solutions of current challenges to security in the Mediterranean Area were presented by the participants. It is precisely the aim of SHADE MED, indeed, to create an opportunity for sharing and reflect on different opinions by drawing inspiration from key-note speakers and panelists.

“I cannot end this SHADE MED edition without special thanks to the insightful contributions of the presenters and the great job done by the highly professional moderators who chaired the panels and working groups. Let me express, like every year, our gratitude to NATO MARCOM staff for the hard job done co-organizing this conference”, concluded IRINI’s Operation Commander in his final address.

 The SHADE MED 2023 was attended by around 200 guests from 31 countries and 29 organizations.

The success of this edition was confirmed by the high level and number of international authorities participating, to mention a few: Vice Admiral Didier Meleterre, French Navy, Deputy Commander, Allied Maritime Command, Alison Wetson, Deputy Director Security and Defense Policy and Senior Coordinator for Coordinated Maritime Presences; H.E. Andrea Orizio, Ambassador, Political and Security Committee of the EU, Italian Representative, Ariella Viehe, Director of Operations, NATO HQ; Captain Niels Ole Markussen, Director, NATO Shipping Centre, Allied Maritime Command, Rear Admiral Massimiliano Lauretti (Italian Navy General Staff Head of General Planning and Operations); Claudia Gazzini, Senior Analyst for Libya, International Crisis Group, Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative to Italy, the Holy See and San Marino, Emanuela Claudia Del Re, EU Special Representative for the Sahel, Captain Ioannis Agrodimos, EU Branch Chief Operation Coordination CMP (Coordinated Maritime Presence).

H.E. Delphine Pronk, Ambassador, EEAS Deputy Political Director and Chair of the Political and Security Committee of the European Union, sent an introductive video welcoming all participants.

The SHADE MED conference is a clear example of the EU’s willingness to effectively address the Mediterranean security debate. The forum is open to representatives from different Nations and organizations focusing on this key area of common interest. SHADE MED is a unique opportunity to meet other professionals, to exchange best practices and to share experiences gained studying or operating in the Mediterranean Region.

 Shade MED is an open forum bridging three continents from North to South end East to West. Taken as exemplary reference by the latest EU Maritime Security Strategy as an outstanding mechanism for sharing awareness and great tool for multilateral engagement.

 The appointment for SHADE MED 2024 is set, for the moment, for next autumn, when we will take stock of the results and good practice undertaken arising from this year’s outcomes.