Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah has participated along with a group of leaders from civil society, research institutes and academia from Arab countries in a regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world. The workshop, which started here on Sunday, aims at discussing the main development challenges and priorities of the Arab world which will help shape the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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 two-day event is hosted by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) 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," she added.
"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," she said.
Later, Her Majesty attended part of "Education and Skills" session, which discussed the quality of education, teachers and their skills, as well as school curricula.
Chairman of King Abdullah II Fund for Development Omar Razzaz talked about future development challenges and how to overcome them in the context of the Post 2015 development agenda. Razzaz also gave examples of the inquiries and issues the workshops will be addressing.
UNF Vice President for UN Relations 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.
Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post 2015 Development Planning Amina Mohammad talked about an action plan to develop the agenda and praised Her Majesty for her support and efforts on the regional and international levels.
Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States of UNDP Sima Bahous gave a presentation about the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Arab region.
This event, which brings together about 60 experts, 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.
Participants in the event, held at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC), represent 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 Resident Scholar at Carnegie Middle East Center Ibrahim Saif 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 Country Coordinator of UN Women Egypt Maya Morsi and coordinated by Executive Director at Gallup Center for Muslim Studies Dalia Mojahed. Another session titled "Inequalities" was presented by Professor at the American University of Cairo Ibrahim Awad.