The last decade was difficult for the Arab region. A few countries fell into civil war while others suffered from serious political and economic instability. As a result, millions of people across the region saw their well-being put in jeopardy. Too many lives were lost. More people still were displaced, propelled into poverty, or stripped from access to basic human rights and needs like food, water, and education.
The region had made some strides in recovery but was hit, at the end of 2019, by the most serious health threat in decades, the COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on people’s lives, societies, economies, and health systems all over the world. However, we, at ESCWA, spare no effort to support member States in recovering then realigning priorities towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today more than ever, the 2030 Agenda and Global Goals remain our map and compass. Our focus in this edition of our annual report is 2019. Let us turn these pages together to look back on our achievements and difficulties, and draw lessons for a future in which we will need to be more innovative, agile and ‘on track’.