Arab post-2015 forum calls for active participation in shaping “the world we want”
Amman, Jordan – Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah opened today the regional Arab Development Forum in Jordan launched by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) as part of the worldwide UN led consultations on the global development agenda beyond 2015, when the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire.
The two-day forum will identify regional priorities for the global development framework that will succeed the MDGs framework. Her Majesty is one of two members representing the Arab World on the UN High Level Panel advising UN Chief Ban Ki-moon on the Post-2015 global development agenda.
The Millennium Development Goals framework – set to expire at the end of 2015 - has galvanized development efforts and stimulated tremendous progress against poverty reduction since its rolling out in the year 2001.
The forum is an opportunity for approximately 200 participants representing civil society, academia and the private sector from across the Arab region to identify priorities, challenges and generate ideas towards national visions on the post-2015 development agenda.
“The Arab Development Forum is an excellent opportunity for civil society in the Arab region to come together and discuss the world they want,” said Helen Clark, Chair of the United Nations Development Group. “It is also an important chance to contribute to the global discussion towards the world’s next development framework.”
Issues focused on Wednesday included poverty reduction and employment creation, and conflict prevention and social cohesion. On Thursday delegates will discuss priorities in the areas of voice and participation, health, education, and environmental sustainability.
The forum builds on the national consultations that the United Nations Development Group is facilitating in the Arab region. Discussions have been held in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.
Earlier this week, Her Majesty discussed with Ms. Clark the outputs of her meetings with Arab leaders from civil society, research institutes and academia held last month in Amman to outline the main development challenges and priorities of the Arab World that will help shape the post-2015 development agenda.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Sima Bahous, Arab States Regional Chair for the United Nations Development Group, highlighted the importance of civil society as a driving force of development in the Arab region.
“The people in the Arab region are searching for a new path based on shared trust and vision between the citizen and the state,” she said. “Youth want to shape their own destinies and contribute to the progress of their societies for a better future.”
The forum was attended by 2011 Noble Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, who is also a member of the U.N. High Level Panel; Helen Clark, Chair of UNDG and UNDP Administrator; Sima Bahous, Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, Chair of the regional UNDG; Ahmad Alhindawi, UNSG’s Envoy on Youth; Costanza Farina, UN Resident Coordinator in Jordan; Corinne Woods, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign; Regional Directors of UN Agencies working on development; and representatives from civil society, academia and the private sector from all over the Arab region.
The outcomes of the forum will be captured in a report that will feed into the Report of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, this June. Her Majesty Queen Rania is one of the 26 global leaders serving on the panel, including representatives of governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and youth.
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