Beirut, 13 November 2013
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and Carnegie Middle East Centre are organizing a panel discussion on “The Arab Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report: Facing Challenges and Looking Beyond 2015” to be held at 10:00 am on Friday, the 15th of November 2013 at the UN House, Riad El-Solh Square, Beirut. This panel discussion is a follow up to the launching ceremony of the 2013 Arab MDGs Report that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September of this year.
Presentations will be made by Mr. Khalid Abu-Ismail, Chief, Economic Policy Section, ESCWA and Mr. Niranjan Sarangi, First Economic Affairs Officer, ESCWA before listening to the remarks of Mr. Mohammad Pournik, Expert on Poverty and MDGs and Mr. Mohammad Faour, Senior Associate, Carnegie Middle East Center.
The ESCWA Communication and Information Unit (ECIU) invites media institutions to take part in the discussion and submit the names of their delegates by Thursday 14 November 2013 on the following numbers: 76-046402 or 70-993144. This arrangement is required in order to facilitate the access of media representatives to the UN House. The media participation in this activity is intended to enrich the joint efforts provided by the United Nations and its partners to promote the MDGs in the Arab region in view of achieving regional integration and sustainable human development.
Despite strong progress towards the achievement of many targets of the MDGs in the Arab region, inequalities remain between countries and within countries. In addition, recent political transitions in some countries may provide an opportunity to meet people’s aspirations, yet they remain a current threat to MDG progress. Conflicts in the region affect an already vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment and hunger. Unemployment is expected to have reached 14.8 per cent in 2013, above 1990 level. This renders the policy challenge “decent work for all” urgent and manifold, especially with regard to improving the low participation of women and youth. Expected increases in poverty and unemployment are likely to contribute to a continuing increase of people suffering from hunger (20 per cent in the near future, up from 15 per cent in 2011).
The Arab MDGs Report is a response to a request by the UN General Assembly for a periodic assessment of progress towards MDGs in the Arab region. It was jointly prepared by LAS, the UN organizations members of the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) and the Regional UN Development Group for the Arab States, and coordinated by ESCWA. The members of the thematic working group on MDGs within RCM are: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); the United nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and the World Health Organization (WHO).