Beirut, 23 March 2017 (Communication and Information Unit) – A regional meeting on “Corridors for Vital Connectivity in the Arab Region,” organized today by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), identified priority actions and joint initiatives that promote regional connectivity and that can be pursued in the future.
“The importance of connecting national networks to different infrastructures is recognized as a fundamental basis to integrate the resources available throughout countries and regions, to maximize the advantages of each country and to create a unified economic space for production and distribution that promotes competition and innovation and creates more investments and work opportunities,” said ESCWA Executive Secretary, Mohamed Ali Alhakim in his opening statement.
"The difficult circumstances in our region should not prevent us from looking forward to a glimmer of hope thanks to the concerted efforts of the institutions participating in this meeting, a glimmer of hope that may turn our aspirations into a viable project that achieves part of the desired dynamic connectivity," he added.
Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Mr. Kamal Hassan Ali, spoke about transport as a productive activity that creates economic value and as an effective tool in the economic distribution process by playing the main role in the exchange and distribution of goods. He said that “it is considered as the main pillar for activating cooperation agreements in various fields of joint Arab action.” He also pointed out that the implementation of electrical networks connectivity projects is considered as one of the important achievements in the field of Arab integration.
“Recent experience vis-à-vis regional and global economic developments show that over the past several decades, countries in different regions of the world have achieved greater economic prosperity by significantly boosting their intra-trade and intra-investment levels and adopting mutually beneficial economic policies and cooperation programs,” said Syed Quadry, Manager of the Country Strategy and Market Integration Division at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
Meanwhile, the ESCWA Regional Advisor on Transport and Logistics, Yarob Badr, underlined that achieving inclusive and comprehensive development depends on the operation of efficient and resilient infrastructure networks to support vital flows of people, energy, materials and goods and information These include oil and gas, electricity and other renewable energies, water and telecommunication networks.
“Various challenges continue to hinder inclusive development in many parts of the Arab region,” Mr. Badr warned. “A profound investigation on the role of regional integration in addressing these challenges is therefore necessary, through equitable and balanced cooperation based on a common agreed vision of the future.
This Regional Consultation on “Corridors for Vital Connectivity in the Arab Region” was an opportunity for dialogue between experts from various regional organizations on the most effective ways to promote regional connectivity despite political, economic, and security challenges.
Issues raised addressed connectivity opportunities in the areas of transport and logistics, electricity and renewable energies, in addition to the integration of the segments of these networks as improved corridors for comprehensive development.
The meeting brought together experts from the United Nations System, the League of Arab States (LAS), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), the Maghreb Bank for Investment and External Trade (BMICE), the OPEC Fund for Development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), the Arab Planning Institute, and other regional financial institutions and development banks.
It was a follow-up meeting to the IDB consultative forum with Regional Cooperation Organisations (RCO), held in Jeddah on 14-15 May 2017.
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