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Regional Cooperation as a Catalyst for Development in a Changing Environment: ESCWA region Rima Khalaf Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary UNESCWA.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Cooperation as a Catalyst for Development in a Changing Environment: ESCWA region Rima Khalaf Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary UNESCWA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Cooperation as a Catalyst for Development in a Changing Environment: ESCWA region Rima Khalaf Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary UNESCWA

2 Arab Regional Cooperation Preceded others… as far back as 1945 Objective: Full economic integration Pan Arab Unity Institutions & Agreements League of Arab States 1945 Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation Treaty 1950 the Convention on Trade and Transit 1953; Greater Arab Economic Unity 1957 Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement

3 Results Regional Institutional infrastructure. High levels of Intra Arab ODA High intra regional tourism. Modest Achievement in trade: o Intra regional trade 11% Better performance in sub-regional groupings: GCC Critically Informal integration, between people, have by far surpassed formal cooperation 3

4 Uprisings across the region Demands: Freedom, dignity, social justice Key questions Where is the region headed to? What role can the UN system play? How can we leverage existing partnerships? How to forge new ones? Arab World is Changing Slide 4 Impact on Regional Cooperation: the What? the Who?

5 An Arab Spring? More like concurrent four seasons Spring: Successful Regime Change (Egypt &Tunisia) Summer: Violence. Fall: Negotiated transformation Winter: Forestalled political reforms. Slide 5

6 KEY CHALLENGES 1.Successful Transition: Forging a new social contract. Building democratic institutions & Culture. Dealing with counter-revolutionary forces. 2.Violent Transition: Humanitarian crises, Physical destruction of infrastructure Rebuilding state institutions (not modernizing) 3. Negotiated Transition: Reform initiatives promising but outcome uncertain. 4. Forestalled Transition: Deflects problems and may be fiscally unsustainable

7 Regional cooperation & support for long term gains It Integration can be catalyst for growth: Existing complementarities Different Production Structures Diverse Endowments Shared cultural heritage Similar socio-political history Regional cooperation can help address shortcomings: Under-performing public institutions Weak social policies, especially social protection. Comparatively high level of trade protection Weak Regulatory environment Low-quality of educational system Slide 7

8 Opportunities Transparent business environment Integrated social strategies and programs Open civil society Better education to boost innovation and entrepreneurship Current efforts need to be leveraged Challenges Weak institutions (esp. Economic) Breaking rent-seeking networks Ensuring inclusive development Current events may affect business climate

9 Slide 9 Partners for Development - Rising to the challenge (selected examples) Addressing Infrastructure constraints. Enhancing negotiating capacities to attract investments (Negotiations of bilateral investment treaties). Institutional development & capacity building for Arab Parliaments on the advancement of women, management of shared water resources and improving accessibility for physically disabled. Strengthen capacities to formulate national youth policies Better Business Environment Strengthening legislative Institutions Addressing needs of Youth

10 Slide 10 Partners for Development - Rising to the challenge (selected examples, contd) Working towards achieving IADGs Assessment and Policy Options for MDGs Development of regional tracking indicators of MDGs. Beyond 2015: Future UN Development Agenda Improving engagement in Global negotiations Supporting MCs, along with stakeholders, in the preparations for Rio+20 WTO negotiations (Doha Round). Sustainable Management of natural resources Legal framework on shared water resources. An inventory on shared water basins.

11 Slide 11 Partners for Development - Rising to the challenge (selected examples, contd) Partners for - Harmonization of cyber legislation Establishing STI observatories Dissem- ination of Science, Technology and Innovation ESCWA Technology Centre Advancement of Social Development Programmes that foster results-based and participatory development Setting-up of Knowledge Networks for Disadvantaged Communities. National dialogue on Integrated Social Protection

12 Partners for - Achievements: enrolment and E leaning initiatives Educational Challenges: Quality not Quantity Pervasive conflict Cooperation most fruitful in: Curricula development Quality assessment and accreditation. Slide 12 Partners for Development- Rising to the Challenge Cross-cutting issues---Education Education

13 Regional cooperation efforts as catalysts Partners for - 13 Regional cooperation can be a catalyst for development beyond trade and formal economic agreements. Recent social movements showed importance of informal channels, challenging the conventional top- down integration mechanism ESCWA promotes a multidimensional integration and cooperation approach including the economic (exchange of goods, labor, and capital) and the non- economic dimension (social, environmental, institutional, etc…) at all levels (from the top policymaking and institutional levels to the grassroots).

14 Slide 14 League of Arab States National Governments in 14 Member States UN Partners at the country level International Regional National Gulf Cooperation Council OIC Islamic Develop- ment Bank Private Sector Civil Society UN Secretariat: Department of Economic and Social Affairs Other donors UN Develop ment Group World Bank, IMF, etc. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Regional Offices of Funds, Agencies and Programmes UNDP Regional Bureau for the Arab States Other international organisation s (e.g. IPU) Strengthening existing cooperation for better South-South Cooperation others Regional Commissions

15 THANK YOU شكراً 15


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