UNDP Regional Meeting on Sustainable Development in a Time of Transition

May 13, 2014

Khartoum - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sudan country office and the UNDP Regional Centre- Cairo are organizing a three day high level regional event hosting the  Arab states Environment & Energy Community of Practice (CoP) Meeting during the period 13-15 May, 2014. The meeting aims to exchange knowledge and experiences, and foster more coordinated dialogue and synergies around environmentally-sound economic development between the Arab countries.

The meeting brings together 42 experts on environment and energy from the 17 UNDP country offices in the Arab region in addition to Sudanese experts. These experts are drawn from different fields that include; climate change adaptation/mitigation, sustainable development, extractive sector and green economy, biodiversity, ecosystem services and dry-land development, etc.

The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Hassan Abdelgadir Hilal, the Minister of Environment, Forests and Physical Development who welcomed the gathering in Khartoum. In his opening remarks the Minister said “We are aware that all the Arab countries have developed the policies and enacted the laws to ensure that the people of the Arab region will enjoy a sustainable and healthy environment. The onus is on us as governments to maintain the integrity of the environmental systems with the economic and social systems.”

The Arab region remains the world’s most water-insecure and food-import dependent region on the planet, while seeing serious trends of land degradation, desertification and rising risks from climate change.
In her opening remarks, Yvonne Helle, UNDP Sudan Country Director stated that the Arab region is witnessing growing environmental challenges that need to be addressed through sharing regional perspectives, knowledge, and resources.

“I hope that this regional meeting’s discussion on the environment and energy challenges facing the Arab states will focus on the solutions which will help the region strengthen its resilience and help advance broad-based, equitable, and sustainable human development for all the Arab countries.” She said.

This event provides a platform for participating countries to discuss, among other topics, the emerging partnerships with regional entities in the Arab region, review of ongoing regional initiatives on climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem services, dry-lands development, and environmental governance, etc. The discussions also aim to outline similar challenges facing Arab countries on the ground which may pave the way for future regional collaboration by exploring synergies for tackling them.

Further, this meeting is building on a series of recent regional initiatives to elaborate a common UNDP vision and strategy for the region in order to achieve the goals of sustainable development in the dynamic and complex transitional context that currently defines development in the Arab region.

This regional gathering comes timely as the world moves towards the 2015 target date for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the post 2015 agenda which highlights the significance of sustainable development based on sustainable use of natural resources, energy, and the environment.

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