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United Nations Development Programme
Trade and Sustainable Development Goals in Arab Countries UNDP-SIDA Trade and SDGs Working Group II Meeting
AfTIAS - Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States
Cairo - Egypt
18 - 20 Sep 2017
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Cairo - Egypt
The Second Meeting of the Working Group builds on important progress that has been made in gaining a better understanding of the role of trade in sustainable development. The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a paradigm shift towards a multi-dimensional sustainability framework to achieve social development, economic development, environmental sustainability and peacebuilding and governance by focusing on inclusivity, equilibrium, viability and equity.

The First Meeting of the Working Group discussed sector-specific goals, and their interlinkages within the agricultural, manufacturing and services sector. The Working Group determined the importance of Global Value Chains and the necessity of better regional integration in global value chains which would lead to enhanced sustainable development. Trade policy for the SDGs and intra-Arab integration cannot be achieved in sectoral silos.

To this end, the UNDP-SIDA cooperation aims to establish an evidence-based dialogue for standardized, sustainable and inclusive policy proposals that address the challenges, opportunities and dynamics of the Arab region. It also aims at enhancing the capacity of analysis of impacts and linkages between trade and SDGs and their comprehensive understanding. The Working Group’s responsibilities and scope of work are defined in the adopted Terms of Reference (ToR). 

In the Second Meeting of the Working Group, the measurability of the SIDA strategy within regard to prioritized for trade and SDGs. To this end, findings from agriculture, global value chains, regional integration, and multi-sector econometrical analysis will be assessed and may serve as the basis for the development of respective indicators as identified in the project document. Additional topics related to services negotiations, Rules of Origin, Fintech, and E-Commerce, and Green Technologies may be introduced in this Second Working Group meeting to bridge the knowledge gaps identified in the First Meeting of the Working Group. 

This Working Group aims to contribute to producing relevant technical analysis, designing specific indicators, and identifying specific policy recommendations. In the Arab region, there is a need to deepen stakeholders’ analytical understanding of the contribution of trade and trade related activities to the implementation of the economic, social and environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) The experts will assist with the establishment of relevant indicators to benchmark the impacts of trade on the Arab economic integration within the framework of the 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.

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