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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Queen Rania takes part in the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab World Regional Workshop

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department, Amman) – Under the patronage and attendance of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, a group of leaders from civil society, research institutes and academia from Arab countries started today in Amman a two-day regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world.

The workshop aims at discussing the main development challenges and priorities of the Arab world which will help shape the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Her Majesty Queen Rania is one of two members representing the Arab world on the U.N. High Level Panel (HLP), which was appointed last summer by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to help advise on the shape of the Post-2015 development agenda.

The March 3-4 event is hosted by the United Nations Foundation in partnership with the King Abdullah Fund for Development and in cooperation with University of Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies and the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC). Participants will submit a summary report of highlights and outcomes to the High Level Panel.

"In the last few years, a lot of countries in the Arab world have changed. We need to build new strategies and set out new goals based on the priorities of individuals, we need development strategies that empower Arabs and keep up with their ambitions." Queen Rania said in an address to the opening session.

"Today, we have new opportunities and new challenges. Challenges such as the quality of our education, the global economic crises, high costs of living, increased rates of unemployment, conflicts, and lack of security. All these challenges not only impede the process of development, but also cause it to deteriorate."

"We are gathered here to learn from the lessons and experiences we gained from the previous phase. Today, we are more aware of our countries' needs, therefore, our recommendations must aim at improving the life of each person in the Arab world, to help unleash their potential and achieve their ambitions. This can be achieved through your hard work, wise planning and sharp vision."

Later, Her Majesty also attended part of a session on Education and Skills which discussed the quality of education, teachers and their skills, as well as school curriculum.

Dr. Omar Razzaz, Chairman of King Abdullah II Fund for Development, talked about future development challenges and how to overcome them in the context of the Post 2015 development agenda. Dr. Razzaz also gave examples of the inquiries and issues the workshops will be addressing.

UNF Vice President for UN Relations Mrs. Suzan Myers spoke about the importance of such gatherings that aim at collecting information and learning about different ideas and perspectives which are essential to shaping the Post 2015 development agenda.

Mrs. Amina Mohammad, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post 2015 Development Planning, talked about their action plan and praised Her Majesty for her support and efforts on the regional and international levels.

Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States of UNDP gave a presentation about the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Arab region.

While there are six country consultations and multiple smaller meetings on post-2015 to be held in Arab states, the March 3-4 convening of about 60 experts in Amman is a means for its participants to engage in the post-2015 dialogue and the key issues specific to the Arab region especially in the themes of education, growth and employment, women’s empowerment, inequalities, governance and freedom.

The event, which was held at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC), brought together participants from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and Palestine.

The workshop also included other sessions such as the Sustainable Growth and Employment session where Dr. Ibrahim Saif, Resident Scholar at Carnegie Middle East Center, talked about the distribution of economic returns, as well as job creation and entrepreneurship.

Participants also took part in the Women’s Empowerment session which was presented by Dr. Maya Morsy, Country Coordinator of UN Women Egypt and coordinated by Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director at Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. Another session titled Inequalities was presented by Dr. Ibrahim Awad, Professor at the American University of Cairo.

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