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Overview

The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) brings together Arab Governments and a broad range of stakeholders to address sustainable development priorities from a regional perspective, discuss progress, review national experiences, and enhance the region’s voice at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

AFSD advocates an inclusive and participatory approach to the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, providing a platform for dialogue among government representatives, parliamentarians, academia, the private sector, regional intergovernmental bodies, civil society organizations, and young people, among others.

AFSD is organized annually by ESCWA, in collaboration with the League of Arab States and other United Nations entities operating in Arab countries.

The 2030 Agenda provides the guiding light we need to end the pandemic, to respond to its socioeconomic impacts, and to chart a course for a transformative recovery.”
Secretary-General António Guterres

AFSD-2021 is convened under the theme “Accelerating progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID” and will review SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17.

AFSD-2021 provides a unique forward-looking opportunity to review the Arab region’s development trajectory, discuss practical approaches to tackle the pandemic, and consider the extent to which current and future development planning and policies support SDG implementation.



1. Opening Session

Vice Minister of Economy and Planning, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Statement

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group

Statement

Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS)

Statement

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

Statement

Guest Speaker


Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Moh'd Ali Bahr AlUloom, Co-facilitator of the Ministerial Declaration/2021 Session of ECOSCO and the HLPF and Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations Biography Statement


Statements by Member States


H.E Mr. Marwan Al-Refai, Acting Secretary General of Planning and International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan download statement


H.E. Mrs. Amna Al-Rumaihi, Under-Secretary for National Economy, Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Kingdom of Bahrain download statement


H.E. Ambassador Bouraoui Imam, Ambassador of the Republic of Tunisia in Lebanon download statement


Mr. Nacim Gaouaoui, Acting Director General of Multilateral Relations, People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria download statement


Mr. Fadlala Garzaldeen, Deputy Head of the Planning and International Cooperation Commission, Syrian Arab Republic download statement


Ms. Maha Abdul Kareem Alrawi, Director General of the Human Development Department, Ministry of Planning, Republic of Iraq watch video download statement


H.E. Dr. Ahmad bin Hassen Al-Hammadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar watch video


H.E. Mr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, State of Kuwait download statement


H.E. Dr. Hala Helmy El Saeed Younis, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Arab Republic of Egypt Watch video


H.E. Mr. M'hamed Grine, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Lebanon download statement


2. Plenary Sessions

Monday, 29 March 2021, 11:45-13:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

Extreme poverty, multidimensional poverty and vulnerability to poverty are on the rise in the Arab region and have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This session will identify key interventions to reduce poverty and mitigate the poverty impacts of the pandemic on the region, to address the needs of groups at greater risk of being left behind and reduce vulnerability to future shocks.

Moderator:

H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Elbadawi, Managing Director, Economic Research Forum, Egypt

Panellists:

Ms. Rana Jawad, Associate Professor in Social Policy, University of Bath, UK

H.E. Ms. Nivine El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Egypt

Mr. Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director, Arab NGO Network for Development, Lebanon

Mr. Touhami Abdelkhalek, Professor, National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, Rabat, Morocco

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 1 download

Monday, 29 March 2021, 14:00 - 15:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

Reducing inequalities in the Arab region requires reasserting the role of the State as the guarantor of equal economic and social rights, and implementing policies to equitably redistribute resources. This session will present experiences from the region on reducing inequalities and equitably redistributing resources in the socioeconomic and political domains, and on ensuring sustainable access to social services in the COVID-19 recovery and in future crises.

Moderator:

Mr. Ishac Diwan, Professor of Economics, Paris Sciences et Lettres, and Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

Panellists:

H.E. Mr. Ali Hameed Mukhlif Al Douleimy, Minister of Education, Iraq

Ms. Lama Al-Natour, Head of Development Coordination Unit, Ministry of Education, Jordan

Ms. Lala Arabian, Executive Manager, Insan Association, Lebanon

Mr. Mohamed Elagati, Researcher and Director, Arab Forum for Alternatives, Egypt

Ms. Jahda Abou Khalil, General Director, Arab Organization of Persons with Disabilities, Lebanon

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 10 download

Monday, 29 March 2021, 15:45-17:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

In the region, progress on SDG 2 depends on structured and tailored investment in sustainable agriculture, the broader use of knowledge and technologies to increase agricultural productivity and resiliency, and an end to conflict. This session will present experiences from the region to expand access and strengthen production of safe and nutritious food through a multi-sectoral approach, to address the needs of groups at risk of being left behind, and improve the resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand future shocks.

Moderator:

Ms. Ismahane Elouafi,Chief Scientist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Panellists:

H.E. Mr. Said Al-Masri, Former Minister of Agriculture, Jordan

H.E. Ms. Wafaa Dikah Hamzeh, Senior Adviser, Agriculture and International Cooperation, Former Minister, Lebanon

Ms. Linda Shaker Berbari, Expert on Public Health Nutrition and Policy, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Lebanon

Ms. Maryam Aleisa, Founder, Re:food Company, Kuwait

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 2 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 10:00-11:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The commitment to build resilient health-care systems and introduce immediate measures to recover from the pandemic needs to be translated into a rights-based and multisectoral approach to human health and wellbeing. This session will identify key interventions for strengthening the resilience of health systems, to ensure continuity of health services and emergency preparedness and responses for all hazards.

Moderator:

H.E. Ms. Maha El Rabbat, WHO Director-General’s Special Envoys on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response, Egypt

Key intervention:

Mr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, WHO, Cairo

Panellists:

H.E. Mr. Ahmed Al-Saidi, Minister of Health, Oman

Ambassador Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, League of Arab States (TBC)

Mr. Kamel Mohanna, Founder Amel Association International, Lebanon

Mr. Fadi Jardali, Director of the Knowledge to Policy Center, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 3 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 11:45-13:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The production of timely high-quality disaggregated data is not only a technical pillar for achieving the 2030 Agenda; it is also a fundamental political for ensuring inclusivity and justice.
This session will identify key policy choices to strengthen statistical systems by investing more in innovative tools, to respond to data needs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery and beyond, and for robust implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda in the region.

Moderator:

Ms. Ola Awad, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestine

Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations (Video)

Panellists:

Ms. Siham Zarrari, Head of the Household Surveys Division High Commission for Planning, Morocco

Mr. Ayman Zohri, President of the Egyptian Society for Migration Studies and Adjunct Professor, American University in Cairo, Egypt

Mr. Youssif Al Riami, General Director of Economic Statistics, National Center for Statistics and Information, Oman

Mr. Ziad Abdallah, Head of the IT Department, Central Administration of Statistics, Lebanon

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 17 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 14:00-15:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

A shift in economic thinking and planning aimed at economic structural transformation is necessary for the region to move forward on SDG 8. This session will identify policy choices to increase responsiveness of social protection systems and endorse labour rights in the response to COVID-19, so as to increase decent employment opportunities and protect those most at risk from the pandemic’s impact.

Moderator:

Ms. Raghda El-Ebrashi, Head of Management and Organization Department at The German University in Cairo and Founder and Chairperson of "Alashanek Ya Balady”, Egypt

Panellists:

Mr. Fayez Al-Mutairi, Director General, Arab Labour Organisation, Cairo

H.E. Mr. Abdullah Abuthnain, Vice Minister of Human Resources and Social Development for Labour, Saudi Arabia

Ms. Christeen Haddadin, Managing Director, ’17 Ventures’, Jordan

Ms. Naima Hammami, Member of the Executive Office, Tunisian General Labour Union, Tunisia

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 8 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 14:00-15:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

SDG 12 encapsulates the entire sustainable development paradigm at the local, national, regional and global levels. This session will identify opportunities to build back better post-COVID through an integrated approach to economic recovery that leaves no one behind, and addresses climate change and unsustainable consumption and production challenges in the region.

Moderator:

Ms. Samira Al-Kandari, Deputy Director, Environment Public Authority, Kuwait

Panellists:

Ms. Maha Al-Ma'ayta, Director, Directorate of Policies and International Cooperation, Ministry of Environment, Jordan

Ms. Sumaya Yusuf Hasan, Assistant Professor, Environmental Management Programme, Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain

Mr. Zaid Al-Shabanat, Director of the National Program for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia

Mr. Moez El Shohdi, Co-Founder and CEO, Egyptian Food Bank and the Food Banking Regional Network, Egypt

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 12 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 15:45-17:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The impact of climate change is acute in the Arab region, as temperatures continue to climb. Vulnerability is also on the rise as vast numbers of people confront growing water scarcity and droughts. This session will present key interventions to ensure a green recovery from COVID-19 in the Arab region. It will also explore innovative financial instruments and new ways of thinking about resource use at the national and community levels to accelerate achievement of SDG 13.

Moderator:

Mr. Jamal Saghir, Senior Advisor and Member of the Board, Global Centre for Adaptation

Panellists:

H.E. Ms. Marieme Bekaye, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania

H.E Ms. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Egypt

Mr. Ahmed Abu Thaher, Director General for Projects and International Relations, Environment Quality Authority, Palestine

Mr. Ahmed Al Qabany, Head of Climate Change Unit, Islamic Development Bank Group

Ms. Noura Mansouri, Research fellow, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), Saudi Arabia

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 13 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 15:45-17:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

Women’s full political and economic participation will be critical to achieving SDG 5 and all the other SDGs by 2030. The COVID-19 crisis has presented additional challenges for women and girls in the region, and emphasized the importance of integrating the voices and needs of women and girls in response and recovery efforts. This session will present a snapshot of the key interventions for the promotion of women’s participation and leadership, so as to accelerate inclusive and sustainable knowledge-based economies to build back better from COVID-19 and get back on track to achieve SDG 5 and the 2030 Agenda.

Moderator:

H.E. Mr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Kuwait

Panellists:

H.E. Mr. Magued Osman, Member, National Council for Women and Head, Egypt’s Women’s Observatory, Egypt

Ms. Lina Abou Habib, Co-chair of Arab States Civil Society Organizations and Feminists Network, Lebanon

Ms. Jennifer Suleiman, Chief Sustainability Officer, Zain Group, Kuwait

Ms. Martine Najem, Instructor of Public Health Practice, Center for Public Health Practice, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 5 download

Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 17:30 -19:00 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The commitment to achieving the SDGs needs to be complemented by concrete financing solutions across funding sources, including the public and private sectors. The COVID-19 crisis has presented additional financing challenges, especially as Governments expand social protection systems and re-prioritize spending on health and education. Financing for development policies serve as key means of implementation of the COVID-19 recovery, and of an SDG-centric build-forward agenda. This session will synthesize the options presented at the global level and anchor them to the regional context. It will offer an opportunity for high-level engagement on regional policy options to facilitate the COVID-19 recovery and ensure a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future.

Moderator:

Ms. Sabine Oueiss, Business and Political Editor, Annahar Newspaper, Lebanon

Panellists:

H.E. Ms. Dalia Grybauskaite, Former President of Lithuania, Co-chair of the Panel of Eminent Persons on Financial Accountability, Corruption, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI), Lithuania

H.E. Mr. Saleh Kharabsheh, Former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jordan

H.E. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Vice President of ECOSOC and Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN

H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note download

Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 10:00-11:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

COVID-19 has simultaneously highlighted the governance deficit in the region and the important role of institutions in responding to the multiple crises caused by the pandemic. It has also thrown into further relief the multiple humanitarian crises in the region, as conflict and violence continue to ravage communities and infrastructure, further exacerbating vulnerabilities.

Moderator:

Ms. Lamia Moubayed Bissat, Director, Institute of Finance Basil Fuleihan, Lebanon

Panellists:

Mr. Mohamed Mefteh, Director General of the Central Governance Cell, Ministry of Health, Tunisia

Mr. Omar Mashaqbeh, Director of the National Aid Fund, Jordan

Mr. Daoud Deek, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Social Development, Palestine

Ms. Yousra Sidani, Elected Member and Certified Public Accountant, Beirut Municipality, Lebanon

Ms. Kinda Mohamadieh, Third World Network, Geneva Office

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 16 download

Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 11:45 - 13:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

Technology’s potential to advance sustainable development in Arab countries is immense, and has been further highlighted during the COVID-19 crisis. This session will identify concrete policy options from the region to enhance the role of technology in supporting sustainable development, including digital and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. The session will also explore regional experiences in strengthening entrepreneurship and digital solutions in specific sectors, including agriculture and the environment.

Moderator:

Ms. Sana Ghenima, CEO, SANABIL MED, Tunisia

Launch of the ESCWA Digital Arabic Content Award for Sustainable Development

Panellists:

H.E. Mr. Imad Sabouni, Head of Planning Commission and International Cooperation, Syrian Arab Republic

Mr. Saeed Ali, Head of Technical Support section, Information Technology Department, Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, United Arab Emirates

Mr. Mohamed Muse Hassan, Director, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (IITE) Institute, SIMAD University,Somalia

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Background Note on SDG 17 download

3. High-level Multi-stakeholder Dialogue

Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 15:00-16:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The 2030 Agenda in the Arab region at the start of the Decade of Action: Looking Up, Looking Ahead

The Arab States region faces a number of challenges not as unique in their nature as they are in their concentration: conflict and displacement, inequality, high unemployment especially for women and youth, water scarcity, non-productive economies and struggling LDCs, and some of the worst humanitarian crises globally.

Over three days, the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development-2021 has provided an interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder review of progress, challenges and looked into practical policy options to move forward nationally and regionally: to establish more inclusive social protection systems, to reform the health sector, to steer growth towards both productivity and sustainability, and to mobilize means of implementation for recovery, action and acceleration.

The High-Level Dialogue with UN Deputy Secretary General Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is an opportunity to look up from the road mapping and path charting to consider the people of the region, those whose lives, voices and well-being are at stake. It is a reminder of why all this work and where it should lead. Founded on the principle that the 2030 Agenda is one for everyone, the HLD will address two issues:

1. How are the people of the region pushing against challenges to raise the bar on what could be accomplished to create more just, sustainable, inclusive and prosperous societies?

2. What has been unleashed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that all stakeholders, including governments and the UN, need to embrace and safeguard and build upon to get to 2030?


Session Chair:

Ms. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary, UN ESCWA

Moderator:

Ms. Maisaa Youssef, AFSD-2021 Secretariat

Special Guest:

Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations

Panellists:

Ms. Hania Sholkamy, Professor, American University in Cairo

Mr. Adnan Al Amine, Professor, Founder of the Lebanese Association for Educational Sciences, Lebanon

Mr. Mohamed Al Maitami, Professor, Former minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Yemen

Ms. Zahra Langhi, Member of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum and Co-founder and CEO of Libyan Women's Platform for Peace, Libya

Mr. Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Majid Al Futtaim

Ms. Hiba Ghandour, MD and activist, Lebanon

List of Biographies (in progress) download

4. Special Events

Monday, 29 March 2021, 17:30-19:00 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

A Food Systems Summit will be held in September 2021 with a broad vision to launch actions, solutions and strategies that better align food systems with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and identify pathways to accelerate progress towards food security while considering COVID-19. The Arab Regional Food Systems Dialogue will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders to consolidate regional views, perspectives and experiences and establish pathways and actions for equitable and sustainable food systems transformation.

Moderator:

Ms. Nawal Al Hamed, Deputy Director General, Public Authority for Food and Nutrition, Kuwait

Opening

Ms. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary ESCWA

H.E Mr. Dy Ould Zein, Minister of Rural Development, Mauritania, Chair of General Assembly of AOAD

2021 Food Systems Summit

Mr. Martin Frick, Deputy of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Food System Summit 2021

Mr. David Nabarro, Senior Advisor for the FSS Dialogues

Views and Perspectives on Food Systems

H.E. Ms. Jihad Abdullah Alfathel, Member of Shoora Council of Bahrain, Deputy Chairman, Parliamentarian Network for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa and Arab World

Ms. Fatima Eltahir Alhassan, Secretary General of the Food Security Technical Secretariat, Sudan

Mr. Tareq Hassan, Head of the Arab Youth Sustainable Development Network (AYSDN)

Interactive Discussion

Mr. Rami Zurayk, Professor and Chairperson, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Closing:

H.E. Mr. Ibrahim El Dukhairi, Director General, AOAD

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Session Flyer download

Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 13:30-15:00 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The AFSD-2021 Youth Roundtable will provide a platform for youth to:
● deliberate on their challenges and priorities in the current context of the pandemic and in three selected themes: 1) Participation, Civic Engagement, and Peacebuilding; 2) Wellbeing and Access to Health Services; and 3) Skilling and Learning to Earning;
● present their experiences as they work to address these challenges;
● propose entry points to integrate the empowerment of youth and their involvement in recovery plans.

Moderator:

Mr. Hatim Aznag, Regional Focal Point of the MENA Region at the UN Major Group on Children and Youth, Morocco

Panellists:

Mr. Wissem Sghaeir, Political Activist and Expert on Youth and Youth Movements, National Youth Observatory, Tunisia

Ms. Yara Abu El Wafa, Healthcare Technical Advisor, Mott MacDonald, and Co-Founder of Health 2.0, Egypt

Mr. Saddam Sayyalah, Founder and Executive Director, "I Learn", Jordan

List of Biographies (in progress) download

Session Flyer download

Wednesday 31 March 2021, 11:45-13:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

Description

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is partnering with the World Summit Awards (WSA) to launch the ESCWA Digital Arabic Content Award for Sustainable Development. This annual award will be an opportunity to highlight the benefits of digital technologies and platforms for advancing sustainable development and accelerating progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The award will be open to institutions and young entrepreneurs from the Arab region who are able to demonstrate that their digital Arabic content applications or products have had a clear impact on one or more dimension of sustainable development. Participating institutions may be public or private, academic and non-governmental. Participating young entrepreneurs may be from established start-ups, teams of young people, or individuals who are younger than 35 years.

Stay tuned for more information on rules and conditions and the Call for Application.

The Award will be launched at AFSD-2021 during the Plenary Session on Review of SDG17: Bridging Gaps and Strengthening the Role of Technology in Response to the Pandemic. For inquiries, please contact: escwa-dac@un.org

Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 13:30-14:15 (Beirut Time – UTC+3)
Format: Zoom

The reform agenda of the Secretary General include reforms at the regional level aimed at optimizing the use of the UN’s regional assets to best support member States in delivering the 2030 Agenda. Part of the regional reform agenda is strengthening inter-agency collaborative actions through a “Regional Collaborative Platform” bolstered by a set of Issues-Based Coalitions. This session will present the results achieved in 2020 and outline the planned results for 2021.

Speaker:

Mr. Mounir Tabet, UN ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary, representing the Arab States Regional Collaboration Platform

List of Biographies (in progress) download

5. Special Sessions

Special session 1: Rethinking sustainable development under fragility and conflict Details watch recorded session

Special session 2: Auditing the SDGs in the Arab region Details watch recorded session

Special session 3: Mental health and psychosocial support in the context of COVID-19: implications for the Arab Region Details watch recorded session

Special session 4: Localization and multi-stakeholder partnerships: means to materialize the 2030 Agenda in conflict-affected countries Details link to the recorded session

Special session 5: Migration governance in the Arab region: priorities, opportunities and lessons learnt from the first regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in the Arab region Details link to the recorded session Passcode: AWs6pf&18!

Special session 6: Catalysing private sector engagement in the Decade of Action: stories of Sustainable solutions Details link to the recorded session Passcode: 6+8$T#3T

Special session 7: SDG-climate security nexus in Arab countries Details

Special session 8: Open Science: The Gateway for Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID Details

Special session 9: COVID-19 and the impact on the environment Details watch recorded session

Special session 10: Accelerating Gender Justice in the Arab region: a pathway to achieving the 2030 Agenda post-COVID Details Register to watch this recording

Special session 11: The humanitarian-development-peace nexus as a transformative pathway for SDG progress in protracted crises, including COVID-19: challenges and opportunities Details link to the recorded session, Passcode: f7aLvD7*

6. Knowledge Fair

IOM

Contributions and Counting: Guidance on Measuring the Economic Impact of your Diaspora beyond Remittances link watch video

“Contributions and Counting: Guidance on Measuring the Economic Impact of your Diaspora beyond Remittances” provides guidance for governments and national authorities looking to understand and measure the economic contributions made by their diaspora to their country of origin – that is, contributions beyond financial remittances. These economic contributions include investment, trade, tourism and philanthropy. It uses a structured approach to understanding existing data collection frameworks and how they can be modified to isolate foreign capital inflows made by the diaspora through the aforementioned channels.

UNDP

Global Knowledge Index 2020 link

Produced annually through the partnership between UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, the Global Knowledge Index measures the knowledge performance of countries and serves as a tool to guide policymakers in the development of knowledge economies.

UNDP

Accelerator Labs link watch video

Accelerator Labs in 13 of the 17 countries UNDP serves in the Arab States (among the UNDP Global Accelerator Lab Network in 91 locations supporting 115 countries) have powered UNDP for faster learning about today’s toughest development challenges, supporting governments with actionable insights, and acting as catalysts for COVID-19 recovery. The Labs in the region have been actively exploring opportunities, mapping local solutions, experimenting with new approaches, forging new partnerships, and are now looking to scale their findings in line with corporate strategic priorities.

UNDP

Behavioural Science Blog link

UNDP Arab States has been spearheading the application of behavioural science to advance human-centered development practice in areas such as the prevention of violent extremism, youth and women’s entrepreneurship, and Covid-19 response. This blog offers an overview of UNDP’s latest thinking on the use of behavioural science, including a link to a global dashboard of BeSci applications across UNDP.

UNDP

Online global engagement for Women, Peace & Security: WPS Beyond 2020 link 1 link 2

In May 2020, UNDP launched an online global engagement to explore the role of women peacebuilders in post-conflict economic and political decision-making. The engagement was led by UNDP in cooperation with UN Women, WILPF (Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom) and ICAN (International Civil Society Action Network). The initiative attracted more than 32,000 visitors, and hundreds of contributions and local solutions (Female: 57% and Male: 42%) from 173 countries.

UNDP

Colour of Innovation Podcast link

UNDP Arab States’ podcast show, Colour of Innovation, is designed to share inspiring stories of innovators from across the region. In Season 2, launched in December 2019, thousands of listeners heard among others about the digital economy in Palestine, youth employment in Iraq, citizen participation in Tunisia, artificial intelligence in Sudan, urban mobility in Lebanon, and solutions for persons with disabilities in Egypt. Season 1, launched in September 2018, looked at the use of WhatsApp as an innovative survey tool in Lebanon, solar energy in Palestine and Sudan, water filtration in Yemen, social innovation camps in Egypt, civic tech in Palestine and Tunisia, and the use of behavioural insights for the prevention of violent extremism in Sudan and Yemen.

UNDP

Innovation Repository in Arab States link

UNDP in the Arab States has created a platform to for the innovation work across the region. It keeps up-to-date records of innovation projects, activities and other forms of innovation as good practices conducted by UNDP at the national and regional levels. It also serves as an information-sharing platform for innovators and all contributors to sustainable development for solutions mapping, exploration, scaling-up, and collaboration at national, regional and global level.

UNDRR

The Guidance Note on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks link

“The Guidance Note on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks” aims at supporting Resident Coordinator Offices and UN Country Teams in ensuring that each stage of the Cooperation Framework, which is developed in consultation with governments in line with national development priorities, is disaster- and climate-risk informed. It further enables the identification of country programming actions that support resilience-building at national and local levels.

UNEP

Integrating biodiversity into the Sustainable Development Agenda: An analysis of Voluntary National Reviews link

Biodiversity underpins our lives and well-being. However, only few countries mention it as a priority for sustainable development. This study analyses a sample of 30 Voluntary National Reviews and suggests best practices for better reporting on biodiversity in the implementation of the SDGs.

UNESCO

Disinformation in Times of Crises watch video

Dr. Hussein Amin, Director of the Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo, speaks about the Center’s most recent collaborative project with UNESCO, WHO and UNIC, Entitled: “Disinformation in Times of Crises”. The project, which took place in the fall of 2020, sought to unpack the issue of disinformation and misinformation at the time of COVID-19, through a series of webinars that hosted media professionals and experts from across the Arab region.

UNESCWA

Arab SDG Monitor link

A data-driven, dynamic, and user-friendly SDG dashboard with country and regional visualizations. The dashboard presents SDG stories from different perspectives using heat maps, scorecards, speedometers, and others to monitor progress towards 2030 targets.

UNESCWA

E-Handbook on SDG Metadata link

The E-Handbook is a resourceful tool that provides up- to-date and in-depth information on the Sustainable Development indicators (SDGs) for both data producers and users to improve production, analysis and dissemination of indicators. The E-Handbook includes: SDG Framework; Official metadata; Focal point per indicator; Gender indicators in SDG framework; and other resources.

UNESCWA

Multidimensional Poverty Index Assist Tool (MAT) link

The state-of-the-art online platform of the Multidimensional Poverty Index Assist Tool (MAT) enables state officials to construct an appropriate national multidimensional poverty index (MPI) using advanced diagnostics, with transparency, accuracy and accountability. The MAT empowers states to use their microdata surveys to assess the incidence and depth of multidimensional deprivations in population, and is envisioned to help states track their status and growth, and simulate developmental shocks.

UNESCWA

Tracking Food Security in the Arab region link

The tool presents and applies a Food Security Monitoring Framework that helps countries assess their food security situation through 3 outcome and 21 causal indicators, including a few from the SDGs, and covering the four food security dimensions of availability, access, utilization and stability. Performance is visualized through a chart and a table summarizing key data and trends. The framework was developed by ESCWA in collaboration and partnership with Arab countries, selected Regional Organizations and experts and with support from Sida.

UNESCWA

The RICCAR Regional Knowledge Hub link to website link to Data Portal

The RICCAR Regional Knowledge Hub is an open, interactive online platform that enables access to data, information and knowledge on climate-related analyses in the Arab region. It comprises a website and a data porta component and includes access to climate and integrated vulnerability assessment tools for informing climate change adaptation planning, policies and decision making in the Arab region. The Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region (RICCAR) is an inter-agency regional initiative coordinated under the umbrella of the Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies at ESCWA.

WFP

Hydroponics in Palestine watch video

The video provides an example of WFP innovative hydroponics techniques to strengthen resilience of vulnerable families and insecure Palestinians, especially women. This is achieved through providing climate-resilient agriculture assets that curb food insecurity, help them generate income and improve their livelihoods.

WFP

EMPACT Lebanon watch video 1 watch video 2 link

These two short videos feature WFP's EMPACT programme targeting refugees, and how participants acquire digital skills through tailored and focused vocational training programmes to become financially self-reliant. In strong collaboration with leading tech firms, the trainees are connected with online work opportunities upon completion of the training programmes.

7. Pre-Meetings

● Arab Regional Parliamentary Forum on the 2030 Agenda: The impact of COVID-19 on SDG implementation and the role of parliaments pdf report link to event webpage

● Environmental Dimension of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Within the COVID-19 Pandemic, Can We Still Accelerate Action to Achieve SDG12 in the Arab Region? pdf report link to event webpage

● Regional Meeting of Civil Society Organizations on Sustainable Development in the Arab Region pdf report link to event webpage

Outcome Messages of the Preparatory Regional Consultations for Sustainable Development

8. Documents

● Information Note link

● Programme of Work link

● Arab Sustainable Development Report (ASDR-2020) link

● Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Arab Region link

● 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development link

● The 2021 VNR Handbook link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2014 link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2015 link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2016 link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2017 link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2018 link

● Arab Sustainable Development Forum 2019 link

● DOCUMENT 1 link

● DOCUMENT 2 link

● DOCUMENT 3 link

● Regional emergency response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 PDF

● COVID-19 Economic Cost to the Arab Region PDF watch video

● Mitigating the impact of COVID-19: Poverty and food insecurity in the Arab region PDF watch video

● The Impact of COVID-19 on gender relations in the Arab Region PDF watch video

● The impact of COVID-19 on the Water-Scarce in the Arab region PDF watch video

● The impact of COVID-19 on Arab Economies: Trade and Foreign Direct Investment PDF watch video

● Effect of COVID-19 on price and expenditure statistics PDF

● Mapping of government measures taken to protect persons with disabilities from COVID-19, and efforts to provide accessible information and awareness materials (in Arabic) PDF

● The Impact of COVID-19 on Arab Financial Systems PDF watch video

● The Impact of COVID-19 on Young People in the Arab Region PDF watch video

● A Solidarity Tax to Address the Impact of COVID-19 on Poverty in the Arab Region PDF watch video

● The Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons in the Arab Region PDF watch video

● Limited fiscal space puts the Arab region recovery from COVID-19 at risk PDF watch video

● Poverty in Lebanon: Solidarity is vital to address the impact of multiple overlapping shocks PDF watch video

● Is Food Security in Lebanon under Threat? PDF watch video

● Impact of COVID-19 on Transport in the Arab region PDF watch video

● Lebanon's Formal Private Sector: the bitter reality of 2020 PDF watch video

● Key messages from the Arab region to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2020 link

● AFSD 2021 Outcomes (coming soon)

9. Media Corner

Social Media

Engage with us on Instagram and Facebook, and tag @UNESCWA!

News and Press releases

Media Advisory (23 March)
Format: Zoom

Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021: Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID



What:

The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 (AFSD-2021) is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in partnership with UN entities working in the Arab region and the League of Arab States (LAS). It will focus on the theme of “Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”.

When:

From Monday 29 to Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 10:00hrs.

Where:

Virtually via Zoom.

Who:

Ahmad Abu al-Ghayt, Secretary General of the League of Arab States;

Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim, General Supervisor of the Secretariat of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA), Vice-Minister of Economy and Planning, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Development Fund, Saudi Arabia;

Amina Mohamad, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations;

Dr.Rola Dashti, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCWA.

To follow AFSD-2021 sessions, you can register by clicking here.

Participants include ministers, high-level State representatives, delegates from ministries and entities concerned with planning and following up on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; parliamentarians; regional and international institutions; civil society organizations; the private sector; academic and research centres, and the media.

Why:

The AFSD is the primary regional mechanism for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region. Its findings and recommendations, conveying key messages from the Arab region and its countries, are submitted to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), scheduled to be held in July.

AFSD-2021 features a variety of plenaries, special sessions and workshop-style special events revolving around three subthemes:

1. Accelerating action on the SDGs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery;


2. Response to the COVID-19 pandemic through specialized and priority areas;


3. National, regional and global processes including voluntary national reviews (VNRs) and messages to the global summit.


AFSD-2021 is the first Arab Forum to be held in the Decade of Action to deliver on the SDGs, during a period where Governments and communities worldwide are trying to contain and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

About ESCWA

One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.

For more information:

Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961- 81-769-888; email:sleiman2@un.org

Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: harb1@un.org

Arab Forum for Sustainable Development kicks off, calling for acceleration of progress on 2030 Agenda post-COVID



Beirut, 29 March 2021 (ESCWA)--The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 (AFSD) kicked off today, focusing on “Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”. A joint effort of the UN development system in the Arab region, the Forum is held in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS) and hosted virtually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

The Forum was inaugurated by LAS Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti.

In his statement, Aboul Gheit said that COVID-19 has led to a state of confusion and disruption affecting all aspects of human activity, but people showed an extraordinary ability to adapt to the situation, harnessing technology to communicate. He added that, in order to recover fast and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, actions are required on two fronts: moving forward towards cutting the debts of the most indebted countries that are preventing them from implementing their national plans; and urging states, organizations and the private sector to provide additional resources to achieve sustainable development.

This year’s edition of the AFSD is the first one held in the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals, during a period where Governments and communities worldwide are trying to contain and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Arab Sustainable Development Report (ASDR) sounded the alarm that the region was not on track to achieving those Goals even before the onset of the pandemic.

In his capacity as Chair of the Ministerial Segment of AFSD-2021, Al-Ibrahim said that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Arab region imposed new flexible means to adapt to the challenges and limit the resulting damages. He noted the new work modalities at the level of the private, public and non-profit sectors that can be adopted to accelerate the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Al-Ibrahim added that the AFSD-2021 will be a platform to join the efforts in addressing the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and affecting the implementation of the global goals.

While some Arab countries have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, its impact will be felt in the region for years to come across the various dimensions of development. Consequently, dismantling the structural barriers identified in ASDR 2020 is critical to the region’s efforts towards a sustainable recovery.

To date, close to 80,000 people across the region have died from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the pandemic has impacted food insecurity, which increased dramatically, affecting 52 million people. Women and girls are also at an increased risk of violence. In addition, rampant unemployment among young people and women has become the highest worldwide at 23%, at a time when the top 10% of the Arab region's adult population owns 76% of the wealth.

“To succeed in recovery, we must rally around peaceful solutions to end conflict where they exist; enhance governance and civic space, everywhere; always with the 2030 Agenda as our North

Star,” the UN Deputy Chief said. “The United Nations is working to support you on every step of this journey. The Secretary-General continues to be a strong advocate for COVID-19 vaccines to be a global public good, available to everyone, everywhere,” she added.

Over three days, the Forum will feature a variety of plenaries, special sessions and workshop-style special events, revolving around three subthemes: (1) Accelerating action on the SDGs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery; (2) Response to the COVID-19 pandemic through specialized and priority areas; and (3) National and regional follow-up and review, including voluntary national reviews of progress towards the SDGs. Plenary sessions will be livestreamed on ESCWA channels.

Dashti reiterated the calls of ESCWA for innovative solutions to reduce or freeze countries’ debts, and for the activation of cooperation mechanisms between Arab countries. “Our plea cannot become a reality without collective action. Without solidarity and collaboration between individuals, countries, the Arab region, and the rest of the world,” she stressed. She also announced the development of an official statistics portal that facilitates access to and exchange of data between Arab Governments and United Nations organizations, as well as the "Manara" platform, which provides interactive tools, studies, indicators and courses to strengthen knowledge nationally, regionally and internationally.

Over 1,300 participants, including high-level representatives of Arab Governments, regional intergovernmental organizations, civil society networks and organizations, the private sector, parliamentarians, academics, young people and the media, will come together in a space of dialogue dedicated to fostering a culture of knowledge exchange and a spirit of collaboration.

AFSD is the primary regional mechanism for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Its findings and recommendations, conveying key messages from the Arab region and its countries, will be submitted to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, to be held in July 2021. For more information, visit the AFSD webpage: afsd-2021.unescwa.org.

***



About ESCWA

One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.

For further information and to organize interviews, please contact:

Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961- 81-769-888; email: sleiman2@un.org

Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: harb1@un.org

Arab Forum for Sustainable Development calls for a paradigm shift building forward from COVID-19



Beirut, 1 April 2021 (ESCWA)--In the Arab region, the population groups who are suffering the most from the COVID-19 pandemic are those who had long been neglected. Countries must thus expand the scope of social protection to ensure inclusion and fulfil the promise of “leaving no one behind”, during and beyond the recovery phase. That is one of the key messages ofthe Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 (AFSD-2021), which closed on Wednesday 31 March after three days of virtual discussions on “Accelerating progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”.

Among other recommendations, Participants urged for reactivating the role of public institutions in ensuring fair distribution of services and resources, with a view to upholding human rights, preserving dignity and including everyone in recovery efforts. Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as Chair of AFSD-2021, will submit those recommendations to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, to be held in New York in July 2021.

Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim detailed the key messages in his closing statement, highlighting the fact that “the pandemic encouraged everyone to invest, develop and innovate, and pushed Governments to think about proactive rather than reactive strategies to overcome future crises”.

The Forum, organized by the UN development system in the Arab region in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS) and hosted virtually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), gathered some 2000 experts from more than 50 countries from the region and beyond. They discussed the interlinked challenges facing the Arab region in achieving the Global Goals on poverty, hunger, health, gender equality, economic growth, peace and justice, and strong institutions, as well as partnerships for development, data collection and technology, stressing the need for strengthening cooperation among countries and stakeholders in designing and implementing development policies and programmes.

The closing session was attended by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti. In her statement, Mohammed urged everyone to avoid “canned solutions” and identify the specific problems hampering the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in each country in order to propose appropriate answers.

The issue of financing development was debated at length: participants called for adopting a regional road for combating illicit financial flows, tax evasion and financial corruption, and bridging the financing gaps for the SDGs, increasing financial revenues and redirecting expenditures in the recovery phase.

On the sidelines, ESCWA and the FAO Regional Office organized an Arab regional dialogue on the Food Systems Summit during which participants discussed regional perspectives and experiences on rendering food systems equitable and sustainable. During another special event, ESCWA and the World Summit Awards (WSA) launched the Digital Arabic Content Award for sustainable development in the Arab region to reward institutions and young entrepreneurs from Arab countries for innovative digital Arabic content applications or products that have a clear impact on society.

“Let us remember that we are 436 million Arabs with 436 million ambitions and more, and let us work together, armed with our values and solid will and relying on science and innovation, to fulfill our dreams and achieve security, justice and prosperity.” It is with those words that Dashti concluded the Forum.

This year’s edition of the AFSD is the first one held in the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, during a period where Governments and communities worldwide are trying to contain and recover from COVID-19. In 2020, the Arab Sustainable Development Report (ASDR) sounded the alarm that the region was not on track to achieving those Goals even before the onset of the pandemic.

For more information, visit the AFSD webpage: afsd-2021.unescwa.org.

***



About ESCWA

One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.

For further information and to organize interviews, please contact:

Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961- 81-769-888; email: sleiman2@un.org

Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: harb1@un.org

Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 convenes virtually



The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 (AFSD) convened from 29 to 31 March gathering over 2,000 participants including high-level representatives of Arab Governments, regional intergovernmental organizations, civil society networks and organizations, the private sector, parliamentarians, academics, young people and the media.

Entitled “Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”, the Forum was held by the UN development system in the Arab region and in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS), and hosted virtually by ESCWA. The opening featured statements by LAS Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti.

The Forum featured a variety of plenaries, special sessions and workshop-style special events, revolving around three subthemes: (1) Accelerating action on the SDGs in the context of the COVID-19 recovery; (2) Response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (3) Voluntary national reviews of progress towards the SDGs.

Digital Arabic Content Award



As part of its endeavors to bridge the gap in digital Arabic content, ESCWA, in partnership with the World Summit Awards (WSA), launched at the AFSD-2021 the Digital Arabic Content Award for sustainable development in the Arab region.

Applications are open to institutions and entrepreneurs younger than 35 from Arab countries to submit digital Arabic content applications or products that have a clear impact on society. The call for applications will be open in May till October through a dedicated platform, details of which will be announced later.

The award, delivered annually, highlights the benefits of digital technologies, and promotes the creation of quality content related to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially that the share of Arabic content on the Internet does not exceed 1% of total global content.

Arab Dialogue on Food Systems



On the sidelines of the AFSD-2021, ESCWA and the Regional Office of FAO jointly organized an Arab regional dialogue on the Food Systems Summit, scheduled to be held in September 2021.

In her statement, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of food systems, with 50 million people suffering from undernutrition, and a third of women of childbearing age suffering from anemia. She added that food security in the region was weak due to factors including poverty, unemployment, occupation and conflict. Limited food production due to water and arable land scarcity, and the rise in food spending also contributed to worsen the situation.

Participants discussed regional perspectives and experiences related to pathways and actions for equitable and sustainable food systems, and to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Financing for development and COVID-19



The COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional financing challenges, especially as Governments expand social protection systems and re-prioritize spending on health and education. Thus, financing for development policies becomes key means of implementation of the COVID-19 recovery, and of an SDG-centric build-forward agenda.

In this context, ESCWA held on the sidelines of the AFSD-2021 a session on “Financing for Development: what is possible and necessary in the Arab region to achieve the 2030 Agenda” to propose concrete financing solutions and discuss regional policy options to facilitate recovery from COVID-19.

Participants called for adopting a regional roadmap for combating illicit financial flows, tax evasion and financial corruption, and bridging the financing gaps for the SDGs, increasing financial revenues and redirecting expenditures in the recovery phase.

Youth roundtable at the AFSD-2021



During the AFSD-2021, ESCWA gathered on Wednesday 31 March young activists and experts in a roundtable to deliberate about the challenges they are facing due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The roundtable discussions revolved around three themes: civic engagement and peacebuilding; wellbeing and access to health services; and skilling and learning to earning. It provided a platform for youth to discuss their priorities, present their experiences as they work to address the challenges they face, and to propose entry-points to integrate the empowerment of youth and their involvement in recovery plans.

In her intervention, Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, commended the motivation of youth to lead and stand out against inequalities. She also highlighted the UN Youth Strategy launched in 2018 to put the 2030 Agenda into action.

A paradigm shift to build forward from COVID-19



On 31 March, participants in the AFSD-2021 called for expanding the scope of social protection to ensure inclusion and fulfil the promise of “leaving no one behind”, during and beyond the recovery phase.

Recommendations were read by the Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim in the closing session. Participants also urged for reactivating the role of public institutions in ensuring fair distribution of services and resources, with a view to upholding human rights, preserving dignity and including everyone in recovery efforts. In his address, Al-Ibrahim highlighted the fact that “the pandemic encouraged everyone to invest, develop and innovate, and pushed Governments to think about proactive rather than reactive strategies to overcome future crises”.

In her concluding remarks, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said: “Let us remember that we are 436 million Arabs with 436 million ambitions and more, and let us work together, armed with our values and solid will and relying on science and innovation, to fulfil our dreams and achieve security, justice and prosperity.”

First Regional Collaborative Platform meeting



On 26 March, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed chaired the first annual meeting of the Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP) for Arab States, a new mechanism bringing together UN entities at the regional level to support sustainable development.

The Arab region, similarly to other parts of the world, continues to suffer, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, from protracted humanitarian crises caused by conflict, resource scarcity and natural disasters. Under such unprecedented circumstances, the UN has been making progress on its bold reforms to boost support to countries, making the most of its assets at all levels.

Representatives of 30 UN regional entities at the virtual meeting welcomed the new RCP as a crucial mechanism to support countries in the region to achieve the SDGs. Through it, eight inter-agency issue-based coalitions were created, focusing on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus; migration; the environment; the economy; social services; urbanization; gender justice and equality; and youth empowerment.

Videos

AFSD 2021: The message of ESCWA Executive Secretary Dr. Rola Dashti

Video Gallery

AFSD in the press

Press Release on the Opening of AFSD download

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