UNDP and BJA Host Media Discussion On Recently Released Arab Human Development Report

Jan 3, 2017

Manama, Bahrain The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), along with the Bahrain Journalists Association, organized a discussion on the “Arab Human Development Report, 2016” at the UN House in Hoora on Tuesday. The report was presented by Dr. Adel Abdellatif, Chief of the Regional Programme Division at the UNDP Regional Bureau of Arab States in New York via Skype. Hosted by Mr. Moanes Al Mardi, Board Chairman of the Bahrain Journalists Association and H.E. Mr. Amin El Sharkawi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, the event brought together over 30 participants including journalists, UN officials and civil society groups. The discussion introduced the findings of the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR), released in November last year.

Dr. Adel Abdellatif led the discussion on the AHDR, during which he described the report’s key findings and recommendations on youth in the Arab world. Acting Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Mr. Samir Aldarabi moderated the session, with a question and answer session afterwards during which participants were encouraged to share their thoughts on the report.

Mr. Moanes Al Mardi praised the initiative, and highlighted its importance for human development in the region. “The report indicates that the region’s progress in terms of human development has slowed down as the global financial and economic crisis in 2008–2009, coupled with political instability since 2011, have had a negative impact. According to the Human Development Index, average annual growth dropped by more than half between 2010 and 2014 relative to the growth between 2000 and 2010. These are critical indicators for policy-makers and national planning,” he said.

This was further reiterated in the opening statement of HE Mr. Amin El Sharkawi as he explained, “The report presents a wealth of statistical information about youth challenges across the Arab world. In relation to unemployment for instance, the report finds that in 2014, unemployment among youth in the Arab region (29.73 percent) exceeded twice the global average (13.99 percent), and according to estimates, the situation is expected to worsen in the near future. The report warns that Arab economies may not be able to generate the 60 million new jobs required by 2020 to absorb the number of workforce entrants to stabilize youth unemployment.”

The Arab Human Development Report is an independent report sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme and provides leading Arab scholars a platform through which to analyse the challenges and opportunities for human development in the region. The 2016 version of the report examines challenges and opportunities facing youth in the region.  The report provides an evidence-based overview on youth in the region. It also seeks to stimulate a broad debate between key stakeholders and the youth themselves on the future of development in the Arab States region and best means of involving youth in shaping that future.

Amongst the key findings of the report was that Arab states can achieve a huge leap in development and ensure durable stability if they put the empowerment of their youth at the top of their urgent priorities and harness young people’s energy to advance development processes. Based on this conclusion, the report calls on Arab states to adopt a new development model that focuses on enhancing young people’s capabilities, unleashing their energy and expanding opportunities available to them, allowing them more freedom to shape their futures, and contribute to development in their societies and countries.



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