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Peace and Stability Key Prerequisite for Sustainable Development in the Region


The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development organized by ESCWA from 3 to 5 May 2017 in Rabat, Morocco, stressed the importance of peace and stability as a prerequisite for sustainable development in the Arab region.
Held under the theme “Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing Arab Region,” the Forum agreed
on a number of key messages that the Moroccan delegation, on behalf of the region, will bring to the attention of the High-Level Political Forum to be held in New York this coming July. Participants also agreed on a number of ideas and measures that would activate the regional dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The regional follow-up and review measures will be a key component of this agenda which will take shape within the forthcoming months, so that it can be presented during the 2018 Arab Forum for Sustainable Development.
The Forum confirmed its support for the Palestinian People in its quest to end the Israeli occupation and voiced solidarity with Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons who are on food strike and with their just human demands according to the International Human Rights Law and the International Humanitarian Law.
The participants were comprised of high-level representatives of ministries, bodies concerned with planning and following up on the of the 2030 Agenda, Arab parliaments, a wide range of regional and international institutions, civil society organisations, the private sector and centres of expertise, among others.
The Forum constituted an occasions for Arab countries and bodies concerned with sustainable development to exchange experiences, expertise, and lessons learned on national and regional accomplishments, and on future work priorities in view of key regional development opportunities and challenges.
The Forum had started with an opening session on 3 May that saw statements of Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and ESCWA Acting Executive Secretary Khawla Mattar. They focused on the need to exert all efforts to enhance regional cooperation in order to fight the real reasons behind poverty and vulnerability across the Arab world, including to establish efficient, inclusive, and capable institutions and to reinforce partnerships.
El Othmani stressed that sustainable development will not be achieved as long as there is no minimum level of security and stability. He added that “the Forum is an opportunity to collectively think about finding solutions and means for a sustainable development in the Arab countries without overlooking building the capacity of people which is key to real development.”
For her part, Mattar underscored that, at the regional level, everybody is aware of the circumstances and difficulties that might hamper the achievement of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region. “This comes at a time when colossal challenges and chronic and emerging crises face the region, namely the Israeli occupation of Palestine, wars and armed conflicts which have led to a surge of refugees and displaced not witnessed since World War II, and rises in poverty, unemployment and inequality,” she added.
Mattar concluded: “We will not be hindered by the challenges facing us; if they have defeated part of our present, there will not be any room for them in the future. With all our efforts, each from their own stand, we can turn challenges into an opportunity, and provide our peoples and the world with our best capabilities, experiences, values, and qualities.”