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Supporting the 2030 Agenda: Enforcing Competition Policy in the Arab Region

Beirut, Lebanon

A year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Member States are undertaking the complex process of incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their national development planning policies. Considering the challenges and opportunities of Arab countries, economic governance is a crucial area where improvements would lead to significant development gains. Applying effective regulatory frameworks, including competition policy, can help countries to achieve the SDGs. For example, by promoting foreign investment, removing barriers to entry for small and medium-sized enterprises, enhancing technological innovation and efficiency, protecting and empowering consumers, and promoting overall economic growth.
For these benefits to materialize, laws need to be well designed, implemented, and effectively enforced. To continue regional efforts to that effect, the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) is scheduled for 25 and 26 October 2016 in Beirut (draft agenda below). Within the regular work programme of the Economic Governance and Planning Section at UNESCWA/EDID, the EGM is part of a series of activities on the topic of “Measuring Economic Governance in the Context of National Development Planning”.
The content of this EGM builds on the outcomes of earlier ESCWA EGMs in June 2014 and December 2015. Based on ESCWA’s analysis of the status quo and strength of competition regimes in the region, the previous discussions considered the formulation and implementation of competition related legal frameworks, therefore this meeting focuses on enforcement and advocacy in the broader context of the 2030 Agenda.
The objectives of the meeting include:
•          Explore how the effective application of the tools of competition policy in the Arab region -  from legal frameworks to advocacy - can support  the achievement of national and international development goals;
•          Discuss key challenges associated with the enforcement of effective competition policy and regulation regimes in the Arab region and how they relate to achieving development gains;
•          Share experiences, international and regional good practice examples, and lessons learned on practical aspects of competition policy enforcement.