Derasat and UNDP Hold Joint Workshop On Bahrain’s Growth Options, For The Next Human Development Report

Sep 17, 2017

Participants during the brainstorming session.

The Bahrain Centre for Strategic and International and Energy Studies (Derasat) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held a joint workshop on “Options for Bahrain’s Future Sustainable Economic Growth” at Derasat’s headquarters in Awali. The workshop is one of many activities planned to support the development of the next Bahrain Human Development Report (BHDR), to be published next year.

The workshop was attended by H.E. Mr. Amin El Sharkawi, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and Dr. Balázs Horváth, Director of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre for Global Development, via Skype. Also in attendance were representatives of the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Office of the First Deputy Prime Minister (OFDPM).

The workshop gathered national and international thinkers and practitioners, from the public and private sector and academia, to provide insights on how to promote medium and long term economic policy options that can foster new growth pathways for the future of Bahrain. Derasat, EDB, and UNDP delivered sessions on economic growth, entrepreneurship and international experiences.  The workshop outputs will be collected as valuable contributions incorporated in the Report.

The BHDR will draw on the Government of Bahrain’s “Economic Vision 2030”, which focuses on sustainability, competitiveness and fairness, its Government Programme of Action 2015-2018, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The BHDR will address the issue of sustainable economic growth, and will draw on existing data sources available from national statistical institutions, complementing the ongoing work towards the SDG Voluntary National Review that will be presented by Bahrain during the July 2018 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York.

In his opening statement, Dr. Omar Al-Ubaydli, Director of International and Geo-Political Studies at Derasat stated: “The Bahrain NHDR is a rigorous self-assessment exercise for the Bahrain economy, conducted for the benefit of Bahrainis, and by Bahrainis, with the assistance of global experts. Maximizing the return from the project requires engaging all stakeholders, and providing fora for the exchange of ideas. The brainstorm session represents a contribution in this vein, and it will be followed by a variety of additional events, aiming to furnish the authorship team with the highest quality intellectual inputs required to produce the NHDR."

In his speech, H.E. Amin El Sharkawi highlighted the global economy’s rapid change, stressing the need to adapt to encourage inclusive economic growth: “We must adapt our curriculums to keep up with the fast pace of technological advancements. Today, we must invest in this adaptation in order to sustain high-income jobs for the future.” He added that investing in human capital would create a “skilled workforce that will be innovative, adaptive and forward thinking”, urging participants to “think about investing in human capital, utilizing new technologies for job creation and bringing Bahrain to the forefront of our new economy.” His Excellency also praised the Kingdom of Bahrain’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adding that economic growth was linked to Goal 8 “Decent work and economic growth.”

Dr. Balázs Horváth congratulated the Bahrain authorities and the UNDP Country Office for the important decision to produce a National Human Development Report. He added that “Central to this report is sustainability, encompassing the economic, social, and environmental dimensions. In this regard, curbing oil and gas price subsidies will not only raise economic sustainability, but also send a clear signal to both producers and consumers about the need to reduce CO2 emissions, helping address climate change”.

EDB’s Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine led a session during which he stressed: “Instead of merely creating more companies, we need better, stronger, more dynamic companies that are outward focused and can created quality employment.”

In the past, the Kingdom of Bahrain published two national HDRs: one in the year 2000 (Achievements and Challenges of Human Development), and the second one in 2001 (Education & Labour Market Challenges of Human Development).  Furthermore, Bahrain has been included in the past six Arab HDR (AHDR) and mentioned in numerous global reports as well. The next national HDR will be published in 2018.

Since 1990 UNDP has documented the pace and progress of human development through its Human Development Reports (HDRs).  It produced 24 global reports, dozens of regional ones, and hundreds of national and even local HDRs. These reports have described, analyzed and measured development issues and proposed policy solutions, from the lens of the human development ‘approach’.  The production of the HDRs, particularly national ones, has contributed significantly to national capacities to gather and analyze data relevant to human development. Through excellence in research and editorial independence Human Development reporting transforms goals of human development into benchmarks, plans and approaches for national action.  

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