Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative cover

ESCWA Publication: E/ESCWA/OES/2013/3

Country: Arab region

Publication Type: Reports & studies

Cluster: 2030 Agenda and SDG Coordination

Focus Area: Financing for development, Governance & enabling environment, Inclusive development, Resilient development & conflict prevention

Initiatives: Sustainable urban development

SDGs: Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Keywords: Arab countries, Civil society, Cultural cooperation, Economic cooperation, Economic development, Economic integration, Human rights, Nationality, Palestine question, Popular participation, Programmes of action, Protest movements, Revolutions, Statistical data, Trade liberalization, Twenty-first century, Exports, Human security, Immigrants, Intraregional trade, Mass media, Military occupation, Nationality, Palestine question, Service industries, Statistical data, Transport, Transport costs

Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative

January 2014

Around the world, even the greatest powers have opted to be part of larger regional entities in order to manage globalization and the competition it brings. Meanwhile, Arab countries which share a common historical, cultural and spiritual heritage and are bound by one language remain fragmented and divided and try to face individually external pressures, domestic challenges and emerging risks, in a world growing more interconnected and complex each day.

This report calls for a comprehensive integration, which rests on three pillars: stronger political cooperation for good governance and effective external diplomacy; deeper economic integration to reap benefits for all Arab countries; and more extensive educational and cultural reform to root out lodged constraints and enable Arab knowledge societies to thrive. The report argues that nothing less will answer the awakened call of the Arab people for justice, opportunities and freedom as heard during the recent wave of popular protests across the region. It demonstrates that comprehensive integration, properly managed, can benefit all the Arab countries without creating winners and losers.  It emphasizes, moreover, that an integrated Arab region will not close itself to the world but seek to consolidate relations with other regional groups and bring together the best achievements of its own history with those of other civilizations.

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Financing for development , Governance & enabling environment , Inclusive development , Resilient development & conflict prevention
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