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Participants at Arab Development Forum Discuss “World We Want”

UNDP11 April 2012: “Voices and Choices for the Development Agenda in the Arab States,” a two-day forum held in Amman, Jordan, from 10-11 April 2013, provided an opportunity for Arab civil society to discuss “the world we want.” Participants exchanged ideas and regional priorities for the post-2015 development agenda, as a complement to the formal, intergovernmental consultations.

Participants convened in plenary and working group sessions to consider the current status and trends, and future prospects and policy orientation on: conflict prevention and social cohesion; environmental sustainability; poverty reduction, employment creation and inclusive growth; access to and quality of services such as education and health; and voice and participation. The topic of inequalities was mainstreamed throughout the sessions.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark recognized Arab achievements on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while highlighting areas in which the region is lagging, such as improving access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, combating food security and hunger, and reducing child mortality. She stressed the credibility of the post-2015 agenda in the Arab region “will depend on whether development progress can be re-established across the region, on how the underlying challenges to MDG achievement are reflected in a post-2015 agenda, and on whether the agenda appears relevant to the region.” Clark also summarized emerging views from consultations on the post-2015 agenda, noting calls to address, inter alia: decent work and job creation; inequality; and links between equity, poverty eradication and sustainability.

Sima Bahous, Arab States Regional Chair, UN Development Group (UNDG), emphasized the role of civil society in driving Arab development, saying “the people in the Arab region are searching for a new path based on shared trust and vision between the citizen and the state.”

The Forum built on Arab national consultations in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. According to UNDP, the regional event's outcomes will be captured in a report that will feed into the report by the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP). Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, who opened the Forum, serves an HLP member. [UNDP Press Release] [Statement of UNDP Administrator] [Arab Development Forum Website]