The European Union and the Libyan government agreed concrete steps to enhance cooperation on two priority sectors for the Libyan people, health and higher education, at a Libya-EU Interministerial Meeting on 5-6 April in Tunis.
The meeting, co-chaired by EU Head of Delegation to Libya Bettina Muscheidt and Director for International Cooperation at the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Elkuni, gathered more than 50 Libyan delegates from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Planning, Local Government, Health and Education, together with representatives from European Union Headquarters in Brussels and the EU Delegation to Libya, as well as experts and practitioners in the field across Libya.
In both areas, the event allowed content-rich discussions on ongoing and future cooperation programmes, with the aim to best address the views of Libyan stakeholders and the needs of the Libyan people. The agreed conclusions will guide follow-up activities in the next weeks and months.
The EU Head of Delegation, Bettina Muscheidt, said:
“For two days practitioners, government officials and experts have reflected on how to best move projects in health and education forward, despite the sometimes difficult conditions in Libya. This has helped all of us to formulate clear measurable goals with strict timelines, with priority given to primary healthcare and exchange opportunities for students.”
In the health sector, the European Union committed in particular to immediately launch Primary Healthcare pilot clinics, starting with four cities – Gharyan, Zliten, Tripoli and Benghazi –, with the aim to develop best practices for the whole country. It will also support the training for staff of the Ministry of Health, including through exchange visits abroad and sharing of good practices amongst Mental Health and Psychosocial Support practitioners within Libya.
In its next assistance programme, the EU will aim to address urgent priorities for maternal health, mental health, cancer and diabetes care, and blood safety. Close cooperation with practitioners on the ground will ensure that all programmes respond to local conditions.
In the education sector, the EU is already supporting the rehabilitation of Universities in Benghazi and Sirt as a co-funder of the Stabilisation Facility; the training of international relations offices of Libyan universities, as well as online education programmes.
On the basis of today’s meeting, the EU and the Libyan Ministry of Education will work together to increase Libyan access to scholarship grants, including through Erasmus+. The EU will also – in cooperation with UNICEF – explore opportunities to support school rehabilitation, the review of curriculum of primary and secondary education, and training of teachers.