Forum Med, supply chains in the post-pandemic Mediterranean

It was held this morning as part of the seventh edition of the Rome Med – Mediterranean Dialogue Conferences – promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and ISPI – the virtual round table ‘Building up supply chain’s resiliency in a post pandemic Mediterranean: regional trade, digitalization and technological innovation’. The pandemic appears to be on a slowly declining trajectory: its impact on global production and international trade will be lasting.

The closure of borders and the suspension of various commercial activities have had a significant impact on companies, inevitably disrupting and damaging supply chains in all regions. As international trade is expected to undergo significant transformations in the decades to come, building the resilience of supply chains means strengthening the regional market, economic integration, and investing in digitalization and technological innovation.

Digitization is also essential to combat illicit trafficking, as it improves traceability and authentication, as well as contributing to the prevention of fraud and counterfeiting, thus ensuring the safety of products and supply chains. In the Mediterranean region, which remains a highly strategic crossroads for global trade, deeper cooperation and better coordination in the field of technological and digital innovation can mitigate the threats and vulnerabilities of supply chains that would offer an opportunity to strengthen regional trade.

According to Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, “today’s discussion has given us the opportunity to reflect on some post-pandemic scenarios that affect the security dimension in the enlarged Mediterranean, trying to develop new policies to address them. We must ensure that yours. effects do not leave people behind and that organized crime does not take advantage of current circumstances’

“The Covid-19 epidemic has increased the importance of supply chains, in the Mediterranean basin, as in other regions of the world, prompting governments to take actions to accelerate digitalization and to adapt more efficiently and resiliently to effects of climate change, the Algerian government has implemented several measures to revive the digital economy and technology startups and has launched an ambitious program for the knowledge economy ‘, underlined Yacine El Mahdi Oualid, Algerian Minister for Knowledge Economy and Startups.

“One of the most peculiar aspects of the pandemic crisis is that we are witnessing a supply crisis. The determining factors are various: 1. the social distancing, 2. the thinning of stocks due to the progressive adoption of the logic of just -in-time, 3. the progressive geographical concentration in the production of numerous goods, 4. the circumstance that supply problems have affected upstream industries, that is, those located upstream of many supply chains, 5. the precautionary accumulation that has the scarcity of many goods has been accentuated, causing the so-called “bullwhip effect”. A paradgymatic change is needed in the construction of supply chains – also to govern inflationary pressures – passing from the criterion of efficiency to that of resilience. to find an important ally in technology and in particular in Digital Ledger Technology “, commented Marcello Minenna, director of the Italian customs agency.

According to Hafed Belhadj, Chief Procurement Officer, Philip Morris international, “illicit trade adapts quickly: the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that criminal networks, by their very nature, are flexible, opportunistic and do not discriminate against what they trade illegally. Illicit trade is also a global phenomenon and is organized. Criminal networks smuggle illegal goods across borders, establish illegal operations in poorly monitored areas, and create unrest on legitimate businesses, destabilizing communities and countries around the world. This is why collaboration is a key factor in success against illicit trade. The international community simply cannot afford to work in silos. It is necessary to continue to take steps towards real collaboration between the public and private sectors. “

“Cooperation and partnership are essential to ensure peace and security in the Mediterranean, particularly with regard to criminal threats,” said Alfredo Nunzi, Europol Acting Deputy Executive Director Governance. “The region needs greater South-South and North-South cooperation to promote regional investment flows to finance joint projects and enable faster technology and know-how transfers, on a larger scale than achieved so far. “added Blanca Moreno Dodson, Director of the Center for Mediterranean Integration.

According to Vural Ocali of Arkas Holding, “to combat illicit trafficking it is necessary to obtain close cooperation and above all a coordination of knowledge and experience between carriers, customs authorities, law enforcement agencies and brand owners”.