The State of Qatar participated in the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) under the theme "Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality in the Arab Region," which kicked off on Tuesday in Beirut.
The forum will run until Thursday, organized by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
The State of Qatar's delegation is chaired by HE Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi who made a speech during the first general session of the Forum.
The delegation included HE Qatar's Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Hassan Al Jaber, HE Director of International Cooperation Department Tariq Al Ansari, HE Director of the Associations and Private Institutions Department at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, Naji Abd Rabu Al Ajei and other delegation members.
The forum's opening was attended by HE Member of Parliament Inaya Ezz Al Deen representing HE Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri, HE Member of Parliament Bahia Al Hariri representing HE Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri, Arab and foreign ministers, members of parliament and international organizations representatives.
In a session on achieving sustainable development in the Arab region, HE the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed the State of Qatar's commitment based on the directives of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to support the development operation in the Arab region and the world, especially with providing support to countries that are least developed.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar fulfills its pledge in allocating nearly one percent of its gross national income to support development in the least developed countries. It also carries out direct investment operation in labor-intensive productive areas in these countries, in support of poverty reduction programs and empowerment and equality policies. He confirmed that Qatar will continue on this path which achieves stability, growth, and prosperity in the Arab region.
His Excellency said with directives from HH the Amir, Qatar is deeply aware of the centrality of empowering people and equality in the development process, placing citizens at the heart of this process as real stakeholders in achieving its goals and objectives.
HE Al Hammadi said the State of Qatar has made remarkable progress in recent years, which is clear in the last five international human development reports, where the State of Qatar is still ranked first in the Arab countries and has made significant progress in its global ranking in the Human Development Report.
His Excellency said all indicators of the Human Development Report show that empowerment in the State of Qatar is measured by public welfare rates and access to public works and is amongst the highest in the Arab region. His Excellency added that equality, measured by the equitable distribution of wealth, is also among the highest on the Arab and international levels.
HE Al Hammadi said that Qatar's achievements in the areas of human development meet all the requirements of social and human well-being, stressing that Qatar takes into account that people are the makers of development, its means, and its goal.
HE Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi said that the Arab region faces major challenges in achieving comprehensive development and boosting economic growth, not because of lack of resources or lack of human capacity, but because of the continuing increase in inequality, particularly the stagnation of poverty reduction programs. He pointed out that the poverty rates in the Arab region are still among the highest on the international level, and in some Arab countries they are increasing and exacerbated by armed conflicts, wars, instability, and insecurity, which requires careful consideration of the establishment of a deep and meaningful social dialogue to renew the Arab social contract, leading to the opening of paths towards stability and development.
HE Al Hammadi added that inequality is not limited to economic rates alone, but rather lies in social indicators, as policies of marginalization of women, exclusion of youth and exclusion of the poor are key factors in the failure of the development process. He explained that without achieving social integration through the empowerment of women and youth and equality for the poor, it will be impossible to reach safe and prosperous societies.
HE Foreign Ministry Secretary-General said that the unrest witnessed by a number of countries in the region was a direct result of the lack of equality and empowerment, stressing the State of Qatar's keenness on empowering women, youth and equality among the members of society to ensure the prosperity, development, and well-being of society.
He expressed hope that the achievement of the tasks of comprehensive development, achieving empowerment and equality in the Arab region requires a collective effort and close cooperation between all Arab countries without being hampered by political differences. He stressed the importance of giving priority to the interests of citizens and their rights and that the welfare and progress of the Arab citizen is the basis of Arab-Arab relations.
HE Al Hammadi pointed out that activating the joint Arab action institutions and giving them the capacity and role to anticipate the prospects of development, must be a top priority in joint Arab action, so as to ensure the achievement of the Arab advancement.
HE Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the ESCWA for its efforts to strengthen the development paths in the Arab region and for its contribution to opening up new horizons for comprehensive development in the region. He affirmed the commitment of the State of Qatar to provide all support and assistance to the regional programs carried out by ESCWA.
The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development is an annual high-level regional forum to discuss ways of coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders in the implementation, follow-up, and review of the 2030 Sustainable Development plan.
The forum brings with it the conclusions and recommendations of the region's voice and its contribution to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development of 2019.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs