UNDP Regional Director: The Arab people look to their leaders for bold actions to maximize political, social and economic inclusion

21 Jan 2013

THE THIRD ARAB ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT

Riyadh, UN Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of UNDPs Bureau for Arab States, Dr. Sima Bahous, said in Riyadh today that the Third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit is an opportune time for the Arab Leaders to address the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Arab populations for equitable development, dignity and freedom.

“This is the first time that the Economic and Social Development Summit convenes after the Region has witnessed major transformations,” said Bahous, who represented UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark at the Summit.

Bahous expressed appreciation to Saudi Arabia for hosting the Summit at this critical juncture of the Arab Region's development trajectory, and reaffirmed UNDPs steadfast support to the Arab States in accelerating reform, advancing democratic governance, curbing poverty, and achieving sustainable socioeconomic development.

She added: “As Tunisians and Egyptians celebrate the second anniversary of their revolutions, all Arabs look to their leaders to adopt a new social contract of mutual accountability between the state and its citizens and a political-economy model that fosters inclusion and maximizes economic opportunities especially for youth, women, the marginalized and minorities.”

The Arab Region is continuing on a vitally important course of change, Bahous said, which we should seize to bring about broader and more sustainable development.  She noted that the agenda of the Summit addresses key development priorities which are at the core of UNDPs development cooperation in the Arab Region, citing the Summit agenda, which covers: strengthening investment to help curb poverty and create employment; means to develop sources of renewable energy over the next 2 decades; accelerating the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda; as well fighting non-communicable diseases.

“It is imperative that this Summit puts in place effective means to follow through with the recommendations agreed,” stressed Bahous. “UNDP stands ready to collaborate with the League of Arab States and all Arab countries in the region to support the realization of this ambitious agenda”.

She lauded the Riyadh Summit’s focus on accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in all Arab countries by 2015 and in delineating the Arab development priorities beyond the MDGs.

Bahous also stressed that promoting and facilitating investment flows across all Arab nations is an important step towards regional economic integration. UNDP’s second Arab Development Challenges Report for 2011 argued that reducing barriers to movement of goods and services, labour and investment will help create a market of 350 million people thus allowing specialization amongst Arab countries based on their inherent advantages and allowing the region to build up its productive potential for engaging with the larger World.

UNDP’s first Arab Development Challenges Report for 2009, produced jointly with the Arab League served as basis for the different programmes which were endorsed in the first Kuwait Arab Economic and Social Summit in 2009 aimed at helping achieve the MDGs and reducing poverty and unemployment.

UNDP’s Regional Director will also be holding bilateral meetings with high-level Arab and Saudi officials to discuss UNDP’s cooperation with the governments on a series of initiatives, including some that are currently underway to address key issues in focus at the Summit.

In Saudi Arabia, through a new National Energy Efficiency Programme, UNDP helps develop institutional capacity of the new Saudi Energy Efficiency Center as a hub for developing new clean energy policies and measures in public and private sectors. Through a Sustainable Development Policy and Planning initiative, UNDP is helping partners explore integrated approaches to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability into national and local decision-making processes.

UNDP is also working with partners in Saudi Arabia on supporting new national strategies and institutional capacities for issues such as water conservation, south-south cooperation, the role of the Kingdom as a global partner in development and youth and women empowerment.

Contact Information

May Hamoud AL-Faraj
Public Relations Assistant, UNDP office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 1 488-5301 Ext.333
Fax: +966 (1) 488-5309
E-mail: may.al-faraj@undp.org

Noeman AlSayyad

Regional Communication Advisor, UNDP Regional Center in Cairo
Tel: +20 2 2456 4942
Mobile: +20 10 0181 1876
E-mail: noeman.alsayyad@undp.org