Queen takes part in regional workshop – women’s empowerment is included in a workshop


Her Majesty Queen Rania delivers an address at the opening session of a regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world (Photo by Nasser Ayoub)

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Sunday attended a regional workshop on the Post-2015 Development Priorities for the Arab world.

A group of leaders from civil society, research institutes and academia from Arab countries are participating in the two-day workshop in Amman to discuss the main development challenges and priorities of the Arab world that will help shape the Post-2015 Development Agenda, according to a statement released by the Queen’s office.

Her Majesty is one of two members representing the Arab world on the UN High Level Panel (HLP), which was appointed last summer by UN 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 UN Foundation (UNF) in partnership with the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) and in cooperation with University of Jordan’s Centre for Strategic Studies and the Columbia University Middle East Research Centre (CUMERC). Participants will submit a summary report of highlights and outcomes to the HLP.

“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 at 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.”

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 curricula.

KAFD Chairman 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 that are essential to shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Amina Mohammad, special adviser to the UN secretary-general on Post-2015 Development Planning, talked about their action plan and praised Her Majesty for her support and efforts at the regional and international levels.

Sima Bahous, assistant secretary general of the UN and regional director of the UNDP bureau for Arab states, gave a presentation about the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 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 statement said.

The event, which was held at CUMERC, brought together participants from Jordan, the UAE, 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 Ibrahim Saif, resident scholar at Carnegie Middle East Centre, talked about the distribution of economic returns, as well as job creation and entrepreneurship.

Participants also attended the women’s empowerment session, which was presented by Maya Morsy, country coordinator of UN Women Egypt, and coordinated by Dalia Mogahed, executive director at the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies.

Another session on inequalities was presented by Ibrahim Awad, professor at the American University of Cairo.

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