25 March 2021

First Regional Collaborative Platform meeting to boost concerted UN action in the Arab States for sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19

New York/Beirut, 26 March 2021 – As Arab States tackle challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), COVID-19 recovery efforts offer an opportunity to reshape more productive, inclusive and sustainable economies. This can only be achieved through increased solidarity, ambition and concerted action at the regional level. The UN its taking steps to ensure it is better positioned to help countries do just that, and maximize the impact of the UN’s regional presence to channel policy expertise, know-how and ability to harness financing for development for Arab States, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed stressed, chairing the first annual meeting today of the Regional Collaborative Platform for the Arab States, a new mechanism bringing together UN entities at the regional level to support sustainable development. 

“With the Sustainable Development Goals as our North Star, the UN system is responding – including at the regional level – putting our reforms in action to address this development crisis in full emergency mode,” said Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. “Everything we do should be in lock-step with ongoing humanitarian actions and COVID-19 responses, with the ultimate focus on a just and green recovery for all countries”.   

In the region and beyond, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, protracted humanitarian crises caused by conflict, resource scarcity and natural disasters continue, highlighting the need for strengthened humanitarian and development collaboration with longer-term solutions and sustainability at the core. 

Across the Arab States, economic decline due to COVID-19 has led to increased poverty – with more than a quarter of the population being poor – and rampant inequality, with 10 per cent of the population owning 76 per cent of the wealth. 

Under unprecedented circumstances, the United Nations has been making progress on its bold reforms to boost support to countries, making the most of its assets at all levels. As one of the outcomes of such reforms, UN entity regional representatives gathered today welcomed the new Regional Collaboration Platform as a crucial mechanism to support countries in the region to achieve the SDGs. The platforms channel regional expertise, know-how, resources, data, networks and logistics to provide timely and coordinated analytical, policy and operational support for countries and Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams on the ground.  

“As a platform optimizing the UN regional support to Member States and Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in the Arab region, the new Regional Collaboration Platform is a responsive and agile one-stop-shop that connects the resources, talents and knowledge of the UN system in the region to Member States, leveraging the country presence of Resident Coordinators’ Offices and UN country teams, to support countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” stressed Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and Vice-Chair of the Arab States RCP. 

A much-needed collaboration mechanism in the face of multiple shocks and endemic challenges, the Arab States RCP, comprises 30 UN entities in the Arab region.  

“Addressing complex development challenges requires multidisciplinary approaches. The RCP is the platform for the UN system to deliver as one and provide enhanced support to Member States facing development challenges, including those emerging post COVID-19,” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States, UN Development Programme and Vice-Chair of the Arab States RCP.

Through the Arab States RCP, eight inter-agency issue-based coalitions were created and focus on priorities for the region: humanitarian-development-peace nexus, migration, environment, economy, social services, urbanization, gender justice and equality and youth empowerment.  

About the Arab States Regional Collaborative Platform 

The Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP) for Arab States was established in response to the UN Secretary-General’s reforms on the repositioning of the UN development system at the regional level. The RCP brings together UN entities with regional activities to support the sustainable development of the Arab region. It is chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed with two Vice-Chairs: Ms. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of ESCWA, and Ms. Khalida Bouzar, Director of UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States. Its Joint Secretariat comprises ESCWA, UNDP and the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO). 

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Screenshot shows a virtual meeting with nine men and women shown in nine squares across the screen.
Photo: UN