The United Nations Development Group Chair introduced the regional United Nations Development Group strategy for a response and framework for Action in the Arab States that, while recognizing the unique context of individual countries, identified several common factors and drivers and envisaged focusing support around four clusters of countries: those on an accelerated reform trajectory; in transition; or in or emerging from crisis; and those pursuing or contemplating mitigating reforms. The strategy stressed the need to address issues around youth, unemployment, governance, socio-economic inequalities and inequities, food security, climate change, gender equality and human rights; and focused on the short- and medium-term priorities in five broad areas: inclusive development; regional integration; democratic governance; youth; and crisis prevention and recovery.
Board members expressed appreciation for the work accomplished. While supporting the strategy, concerns were raised with regard to the classification of countries within the clusters and the limited focus of economic issues. It was also suggested that more support be envisaged for addressing the short-term difficulties of the transition - economic management and policies to spur equitable growth, building inclusive institutions and fostering democratic culture, preventing relapse into authoritarianism or violence and managing expectations. It was also strongly suggested that the strategy be refocused to fully integrate the human rights dimension.
The Board asked the United Nations Development Group to take the comments raised by Board members into account in moving ahead with the strategy.