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United Nations Development Programme
First Meeting of UNDP-Sida Working Group on Trade and SDGs for Arab Countries
AfTIAS - Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States
Cairo - Egypt
09 - 10 May 2017
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Cairo - Egypt



Strong regional trade policies have the capacity to underpin the implementation of the economic, social and environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, effective trade and trade-related policies can assist in the establishment of a competitive and efficient Pan-Arabic market. To this end, a cooperation between the United Nation Development Project (UNDP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) establishes the UNDP-Sida Trade and SDG in Arab countries Working Group, hereinafter Working Group. 

It aims to establish an evidence-based dialogue for standardized, sustainable and inclusive policy proposals, tailored to the Arab region. It also targets at enhancing the capacity of analysis of impacts and linkages between trade and SDGs as well as the comprehensive understanding. The Working Group’s responsibilities and work scope are defined in the adopted Terms of Reference (ToR). 
The targeted Working Group output is two-fold, a technical analysis and formulation of specified recommendations for development of feasible policy proposals. 

The Working Group, firstly, serves to enhance the analytical understanding of the contribution of trade and trade-related activities. For the analysis, experts will assist with establishment of relevant indicators to benchmark impacts of the trade for Arab economic integration within the framework of SDGs. At the same time, they will also help to design benchmarking indicators to record effectiveness of support by programmes of technical assistance of the Sweden Government to Arab countries. This would be carried out to benchmark efficiency of support activities on the basis of the strategies of regional cooperation of 2016-2020 by Sida.

The Working Group is, secondly, expected to assist Arab policy and decision makers with policy proposals aimed at improvement of Arab connectivity for subsequent steps, while taking account of interests of Arab countries. In doing so, outputs of the Working Group may support implementation of socio-economic programmes towards closer economic integration. Especially trade may serve as a tool for sustainable development.

This first meeting of the Working Group is held to enable members to consider and adopt a structured work program. Members will also discuss background papers which are prepared as the basis for further deliberations and exchange of views. The focus could be on enhancement of understanding of how trade could affect transformational impacts to achievement of SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, and 17. As trade is a major engine for inclusive and sustainable growth, it is essential to incorporate into key policies and measures relevant features of contribution of trade to the implementation of SDGs in the Arab context.

Target Outputs:
1. Adopted the action plan of the Working Group in line with the project document.
2. Consolidated understanding of challenges of modernization and reform of trade and trade-related policies.
3. Identification of key trends of Arab economic integration within challenging multilateral trade and investment.
4. Identification of areas and substance of key interest to Arab countries.

Preparatory works:
1. Identified experts prepare the background papers on the relationship between trade in agro-products and Arab economic integration and on the contribution of value chain in strengthening trade and economic integration.
2. Interventions by members of the Working Group in terms of providing technical inputs to the background papers (being circulated three weeks prior to the effective date of the meeting) will be made on voluntary basis.
3. UNDP will be the technical secretariat for the Working Group.

Contact points:
Mr. Quang Anh Le, Chief Technical Advisor ([email protected])
Ms. Melanie Theisinger, Junior researcher ([email protected])
Ms. Anne-Marie Rihane, Junior researcher ([email protected]).

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First Meeting of the Working Group.pdf

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