Queen Rania Opens Arab Post-2015 Forum, Calls for Active Participation in Shaping "The World We Want"

April 10, 2013

(Office of Her Majesty– Press Department- Amman) 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 U.N.-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 U.N. High Level Panel advising U.N. 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.”

In her opening remarks, Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States of UNDP, 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.”

Ahmad Alhindawi, UNSG’s Envoy on Youth stressed the importance of maximizing youth participation in the development process as they are "the driving force but unfortunately not in the driving seat." He added that the post – 2015 agenda is not a wish list, it can be achieved by involving all sectors and not just the government.

Alhindawi referred to what Her Majesty said earlier at the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab World Regional Workshop held in Amman last month, that in order to achieve these development goals it's crucial for us to build partnerships and invest in the development process.

He also added that today "we need a new development contract, not just a new social one."

Dr. Omar Razzaz, Chairman of the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD), presented a summary of the main ideas and themes that have been raised in the March workshop and explained that the priorities in the Arab world are very similar to the global ones.

Dr. Razzaz also highlighted the importance of raising the right questions when it comes to development challenges in the region, and the urgency to revise the old set of goals and whether they were able to meet the Arab region's ambitions.

Issues focused on the first day of the forum include 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.

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, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States of UNDP; 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.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Dania Darwish - Tel: 00962-79-6804793, email: dania.darwish@undp.org

Ethar Khasawneh - Tel: 00962-77-7393138, email: ekhasawneh@rhc.jo

Further information is available on Arab Development Forum