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United Nations Development Programme
Regional Conference on the Formulation of the Regional Programme for Arab States (2018-2021)
RBAS - Regional Bureau for Arab States
Amman - Jordan
22 - 23 May 2017
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Amman - Jordan
UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) is in the process of formulation its next Regional Programme (2018-2021), in line with the development of the new UNDP Strategic Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The new Regional Programme Document (RPD 2018-2021) will focus on selected outcome areas based on a process of extensive consultations with regional and national stakeholders. The content will also be informed by research and evidence that identify key regional development trends and challenges. The new programme will build on best practices and lessons learned from the current phase.

As a key milestone in the formulation process, a regional consultation will be held in Amman on 22-23 May 2017. The consultation will bring together regional counterparts and stakeholders, including representatives from national and regional institutions, donors, experts, and UN representatives.

The objective of the consultation is to discuss the regional development challenges and solicit feedback from the participants on possible entry points for development assistance that could be provided by UNDP. The recommendations of the consultation will inform the drafting process of the regional programme document, which is expected to be finalized in October 2017.

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Mr. Alberto Natta
Regional Programme Analyst
Regional Hub – Bureau for Arab States
Tel: +962 6 2003183

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                                                                                 Regional Conference on

                          Development challenges and priorities in a changing Arab Region

                                      Intercontinental Hotel, Amman, Jordan, 22-23 May 2017


DAY 1 – Monday, 22 May 2017

08.00 – 09.00


09:00 – 09.30



Opening Session

Welcoming remarks on behalf of H.E. the Prime Minister of Jordan

·        H.E. Imad Najib Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation


Opening Remarks

·        Representative, League of Arab States

·        Mourad Wahba, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP

09.30 – 11.30



Ministerial-Level Plenary:

Regional Priorities in the Framework of the Sustainable Development Goals

The Arab states region is seeking to shape its new development agenda in the face of unprecedented political, economic and social pressures and risks. The transformative aspirations of its people face various challenges, including security threats and a shrinking fiscal space, increasing exposure to such pressures and risks. Moving forward requires closer collaboration among different stakeholders and a stronger focus on inclusion and resilience as central elements of this new regional agenda. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offers a comprehensive universal framework to operationalize those concepts in a contextualized manner that also emphasizes: leaving no one behind; using it, this ministerial-level session highlights common priorities across the region in support of an inclusive and resilience based development agenda. Participating decision makers will reflect on those priorities to guide and explore transformative entry points for related actions that could strategically support these priorities to reduce vulnerabilities and foster inclusion across all social groups.



·        H.E. Inaya Ezzeddine, Minister of Administrative Reform and Development, Lebanon

·        H.E. Sabri Saidam, Minister of Education and Higher Education, Palestine

·        H.E. Kamel Ayadi, Minister, President of the Supreme Authority for Administrative and Financial Control, Tunisia

·        H.E. Hala El Said, Minister of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform, Egypt


Moderator: H.E. Reem Abu Hassan, former Minister of Social Development, Jordan


11.30 – 12.00


12.00 – 13.00

Adding Value to the Development Agenda in the Arab States Region through an Integrated Regional Approach

The increasingly cross-country, sub-regional, and region-wide nature of development challenges (and opportunities) invite further collaboration across the Arab states region. This session presents the focus and approach of UNDP’s current Regional Programme for the Arab States, highlighting the main elements of its existing work and perspectives on opportunities for future programming, taking into consideration the new dynamics in the region. In addition, this session’s dual focus on knowledge and partnerships allows participants to discuss the opportunities for and the benefits of bringing together stakeholders as well as the evidence-base needed to support them, including research, analysis, and foresight based on data, statistics and comparative experiences.

Presentation on UNDP RBAS Regional Programme for Arab States


·        Honorable Mr. Ghassan Moukheiber, Member of Parliament, Lebanon

·        Zuhair Abu Faris, Chairman, Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies (ArabEMBs) and Commissioner of the Jordanian Independent Election Commission


Q&A and Open Discussion on Regional Programme with UNDP Team

·     Arkan El Seblani, Hany Torky, Kawtar Zerouali, Malin Herwig, Quang Le



Yakup Beris – Regional Programme Coordinator for Arab States, RBAS, UNDP


13.00 – 14.30


14.30 – 16.30

Thematic Session 1: Fostering Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth and Development

This session examines economic, environmental and energy-related risks and vulnerabilities that are both internal and external to the region. It highlights processes that may exclude or marginalize certain groups, such as women and youth, from access to natural resources and economic opportunities, thus increasing their exposure to climatic disasters and economic risks. This session’s dual focus on climate resilience and job-rich growth will allow participants to consider opportunities for inclusive, sustainable, and resilient development in the region. 



·        Kishan Khoday -Regional Team Leader- Climate Change, DRR, Energy and Environment, UNDP

·        Khalid Al Wazani, Strategy and Knowledge Advisor - MBRF


·        Ahmed Badr, Executive Director, Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Efficiency

·        Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General, The Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Kuwait

·        Majdi Hassen, Executive Director of Institut Arabe des Chefs dEntreprises (IACE), Tunisia

·        Tamer Mahmoud Abdelaziz, Director of Regional Trade Agreements, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Egypt

Moderator:  Rima Younes El Khatib - Vice- Director and Trade in Services Coordinator at the Foreign Affairs Department, Central Bank of Lebanon.

16.30 – 16.45


16.45 – 18.00

Fostering Development Cooperation in the Arab States region

With the multi-dimensional and interconnected nature of the global goals and an increasingly diverse range of actors at all levels, development cooperation can be a powerful lever to initiate policy and programme integration required to implement the SDGs. This session explores how such development cooperation can be leveraged and discusses potential improvements that could be pursued by national and international development partners.


·        Marjeta Jager - Deputy Director-General in DG International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

·        H.E. Said Hindam, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Cooperation for Development, Egypt

·        Roberto Valent, Special Representative, UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People

·        Ramla Khalidi, Chief of Strategy, Evaluation and Partnership Section, ESCWA


Moderator: Ms. Sophie de Caen - Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP.

DAY 2 – Tuesday, 23 May 2017

9.00 – 11.00

Thematic Session 2: Strengthening Inclusive Governance and Sustaining Peace

This session explores the structural fragilities that are linked to governance gaps and/or the outbreak of conflict, which are inter-connected and which result in various forms of humanitarian and developmental crises, including but not limited to wide-ranging displacement. This includes various political, economic and social issues that drive conflict as well as key gaps that undermine governance systems in the region, such as limited participation, ineffective public administration, weak rule of law and systemic corruption. This session aims to have a forward-looking perspective into how governments and non-governmental actors may cooperate to counteract such fragilities with the aim of better addressing the region’s development challenges that are often cross-border in nature with spillover effects. This session’s dual focus on governance and peace allows participants to probe into the underlying root causes of related fragilities and offer suggestions for actions that national actors and the international development community could support going forward in the framework of regional platforms for inclusive governance reform and conflict management and peace-building.


·        Karam Karam, Regional Advisor, Emerging and Conflict Related Issues Division, ESCWA

·        Mostafa Hunter, International Governance Expert and President of Egyptian Health Governance and Transparency Association


·        Hilda Ajeilat, Chairperson, Jordan Transparency Center, Jordan

·        Dr. Nizar Barkouti - Director General and Senior Governance Advisor – Office of the Head of Government, Tunisia

·        Dr. Salem Al Dwili , Advisor, Ministry of Economy and Planning, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

·        Mounia Terraz,  Centre d etudes Féminines en Islam (CERFI), Morocco



·        H.E. Ghassan Al Khatib – former Minister of Information, Palestine


11.00 – 11.15


11.15 – 13.15

Thematic Session 3: Engaging with and for women and youth

Programmatic work needs to engage key stakeholders and benefit those who are most in need of support. The Arab region’s total population has doubled since the 1980s and exceeded 392 million in 2016. This trend is expected to continue in the next few decades. In this context, the role of youth and women carry particular significance across all thematic areas of work. On the one hand, 60% of the region’s population is under the age of 30 and this percentage is expected to grow further by 2025, adding pressure to the region’s economies to create sufficient jobs and economic opportunities for them. On the other hand, although women represent half of the region’s population, their political and economic empowerment are generally assessed lower than elsewhere. Both that may be depicted as challenges currently also equally offer a window of opportunity to the economies and societies in the region. This session’s dual focus on women and youth, with differentiated discussion on each, allows the participants to deepen the thinking on the role of women and youth, both as partners and as beneficiaries, in development work that aims to capitalize on this window of opportunity.


·        Jad Chaaban, Team Leader, 2016 UNDP Arab Human Development Report on Youth,  American University of Beirut

·        Blerta Aliko, ?Deputy Regional Director of Arab States, UN Women


·        Hibaaq Osman, Founder and CEO, Karama

·        H.E. Asma Khader, President, Sisterhood Is Global Institute, Jordan

·        Bader Zamareh, youth representative, Palestine

·        Maha AlSalehi, youth representative, Yemen


·        H.E. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General, League of Arab States

13.15 – 14.15

Open Floor Discussion


Zena Ali Ahmed - Deputy Director, Regional Hub for Arab States, UNDP

14.15 – 14.30

Closing remarks

Khaled Abdelshafi – Director, Regional Hub for Arab States, UNDP




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The aim of the Regional Programme is to serve as a bridge between country and global initiatives, and facilitate cooperation among countries sharing similar geographic, social and economic conditions. The work of the Regional Programme is an integral part of RBAS work. It represents four out of seven outcome areas of the UNDP Strategic Plan (2014-2017).

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