Weekly News


Social Expenditure Monitor seeks to improve budgeting towards increased social justice

On 6 December, ESCWA discussed how public expenditures can be better targeted to achieve social development priorities, using the recently launched Social Expenditure Monitor (SEM) that seeks to align thinking on social policy interventions with national budgets and macroeconomic policy.

During a workshop held at the UN House in Beirut, experts from the region and member State representatives reviewed a discussion paper on SEM and invited Arab States that have not yet done so to adopt it.

A digital platform on SEM that will provide easy access to the tool is under production and will be followed by national workshops and trainings designed to build the capacity of various stakeholders to use SEM to analyse budgets and propose policy reforms.

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Launch of 3rd situation report on migration in the Arab region

On 4 December, ESCWA and IOM launched in Cairo the 2019 edition of the Situation Report on International Migration in the Arab Region, in collaboration with members of the Working Group on International Migration in the Arab Region, which they co-chair with LAS.

The launch took place in the context of the regional conference on the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Implementation and Policy Implications for the Arab region”, also held in Cairo on 3 and 4 December.

The Situation Report showcases the latest data and information on migration in the region. It explores current trends, patterns and drivers of migration.

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ESCWA ES in Berlin for the annual regional meeting of MENA-OECD

In Berlin, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti took part in the MENA-OECD Economic Resilience Task Force co-chaired by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Ministry of Economy and Trade in Lebanon.

The meeting tackled government reforms aimed at spurring private sector development as a driving force for growth and job creation. While discussing moving forward the resilience agenda, Dashti highlighted the importance of working on both the political and recovery tracks while setting a mechanism to help fragile States and those in conflict.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Dashti discussed with Director of OECD Global Relations, Andreas Schaal, an overall collaboration framework. With BMZ parliamentary State Secretary, Maria Flachsbarth, she also touched on strengthening collaboration on issues related to sustainable development in general, and countries in conflict and empowerment of forcibly displaced women in particular.




Application of successful national practices for fresh fruits and vegetables

In the Dead Sea in Jordan, ESCWA conducted a training on the “Application of Successful National Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables” from 2 to 4 December, as part of the Sida-funded project on "Enhancing Food and Water Security through Cooperation and Capacity Development in the Arab Region".

Trainees from the ministries of agriculture of Jordan and Lebanon applied previously learned good agriculture practices on the ground and exchanged experiences on implementing them for fresh vegetables and fruits, thus improving food safety, and enhancing farm sustainability.

They reviewed a guidebook on the application of those practices and inspected and documented results during a study tour in several Jordanian farms.

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Digital Technologies and Digital Transformation in Public institutions in the Sudan

In partnership with the National Information Center (NIC) in the Sudan, ESCWA conducted a capacity-building workshop on 27 and 28 November to discuss best international and regional practices in developing digital technologies and digital transformation strategies with national stakeholders.

The key message of the workshop was that countries recovering from conflict should develop digital services to expedite the recovery process by reducing administrative expenditure, increasing transparency, improving inclusiveness and contributing to reduce corruption. These services would also restore trust between individuals and public institutions. 

Participants agreed on the need for a national plan to identify the vision, objectives and focus areas of the national digital strategy according to the country’s needs. They stressed the important role of collecting reliable data on both the demand and supply sides of digital services to assess progress in digital government transformation.




Mainstreaming gender equality in Qatari institutions

On 12 November, ESCWA initiated the implementation of the “Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in National Institutions” at the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre (AMAN), governed by Qatar Social Work, the national women’s machinery in Qatar.

A 7-day workshop was organized as the first step in the process of implementing the Action Plan.

Twenty staff members from several departments of the Center participated in the various training sessions, aimed at reaching a common understanding of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the specific context of the institution being audited.

Following the training sessions, the audit team received an on-the job training and then worked on reviewing institutional documents and conducting interviews.

Efforts in Qatar are being undertaken in the context of a broader ESCWA initiative to mainstream gender equality in national institutions in several Arab States.





Did you know...

… that since 2007, more than half the world’s population has been living in cities, and that share is projected to rise to 60% by 2030? Cities and metropolitan areas contribute about 60% of global GDP, but also account for about 70% of global carbon emissions and over 60% of resource use.

The urban population in Arab countries grew by more than four times in the last three decades. Currently, about 60% live in urban areas. 31% of urban dwellers live in slums, and this percentage exceeds 77% in Arab least developed countries.

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