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Overview

The COVID19- pandemic has motivated all countries to address the inequalities that cause hardship, division and violence. The Arab region is the most unequal region worldwide, and the only region where poverty has increased since 2010. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, hosted by the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, are bringing together political leaders, ministers, the private sector, experts and civil society from the Arab region at the first Arab Forum for Equality, to be held in Amman on 30 and 31 May 2022. The Forum aims to generate momentum for progress in the region by launching a multi-year and multi-stakeholder dialogue focused on practical solutions to tackle inequality.

The theme of the first edition of the Forum is “Towards inclusive youth employment in the Arab region”. In addition to highlighting inequality in the region, participants will discuss policies to reduce inequality worldwide and in the region. The Forum will conclude with the launch of two important regional initiatives to tackle inequality:

The following are the specific objectives of the first Arab Forum for Equality:

  • Launch a multi-stakeholder dialogue with global and Arab leaders and experts on inequality and exclusion in the region.
  • Discuss trends and impacts of inequality, including in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the region.
  • Discuss practical policy solutions for tackling inequality and exclusion, with a focus on youth unemployment as one driver of multifaceted inequality in the Arab region.
  • Promote the implementation of various policies, initiatives and lessons learned to reduce inequality.

The event will build on the findings of the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion report entitled From Rhetoric to Action: Delivering Equality and Inclusion. Pathfinders is a cross-regional partnership involving the Governments of Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay, ESCWA, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Oxfam and the World Alliance for Citizens Participation (CIVICUS), along with numerous other partners and international experts. An Arab version of the Pathfinders report focusing on the Arab region, entitled “Roadmap for social inclusion in the Arab region”, will underpin the discussions at the Forum.



Daily Schedule

Day 1 | Monday 30 May 2022

Sessions-DAY-1 Download

Day 2 | Tuesday 31 May 2022

Sessions-DAY-2 Download

1. Opening Session

Welcoming remarks



Welcoming remarks
Watch Session [ coming soon ]

Monday, 30 May 2022
9:30 - 10:00 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, The Ballroom

The welcome remarks will illustrate in a stylized fashion cases of inequality between countries, within countries, between geographical areas (rural, urban), between social segments (men, women, and vulnerable groups such as young people, persons with disabilities and older persons), and within the same social segment

Keynote speakers:

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Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of ESCWA

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Omar Razzaz, Former Prime Minister of Jordan

Master of Ceremony:

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Mehrinaz Elawady, Director, ESCWA Cluster on Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development

Dr. Rola Dashti

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

Omar Razzaz

Former Prime Minister of Jordan

Master of Ceremony

Mehrinaz Elawady

Director, ESCWA Cluster on Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development

2. Plenary Sessions

Day 1

Session 1: Discussion with global and Arab experts: What does inequality look like?
Watch Session

Monday, 30 May, 2022
10:00 - 11:30 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
Format: ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, The Ballroom

This session will set the scene for the Forum. It will start with a global discussion on what inequality looks like, especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated inequality globally. It will highlight how inequality in the Arab region compares with global inequality, shedding light on the experiences of other countries. Moreover, it will focus on global and regional trends, and on how inequality moves between generations and differs between places and social groups. The session will also consider the politics of inequality.

Speakers

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Paul Ladd, Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

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Saba Almubaslat, Regional Director, Ford Foundation

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Ibrahim Elbadawi, Managing Director, Economic Research Forum

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Winnie Byanyima , the Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
watch video


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Faiza Shaheen, Inequality & Exclusion Lead, Pathfinders, NYU Center on International Cooperation

Moderator

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Hania Sholkamy, Associate Research Professor, Social Research Centre, American University in Cairo

List of Biographies download

Session 2: The face of inequality in the Arab region
Watch Session
Monday, 30 May 2022
12:00 - 13:30 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
Format: ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, The Ballroom

This session will focus on various forms of inequality and their effects in the Arab region, with a specific focus on wealth inequality, gender inequality, and limited social protection coverage

Speakers

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Ahmad Majdalani, Minister of Social Development of the State of Palestine

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Amal Belhaj, Minister of Family, Women, Childhood and Elderly of Tunisia

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Mohammed AlZaouri, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor of Yemen

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Barq Al-Dmour, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Social Development, and Acting Director-General of the National Aid Fund, Jordan

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Taher Bel Hassan, Chairman of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Ministry of Planning of Libya

Moderator

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Lamia Moubayed, President, Institute of Finance Basil Fuleihan - Lebanon Vice-Chair, UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration

List of Biographies download

Background Note download

Session 3: Dialogue with decision makers: policies that reduce inequality
Watch Session

Monday, 30 May 2022
13:30 - 15:00 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, The Ballroom

This session will focus on policies that deliver equality, and those that can lead to inequality. It will focus on social protection, job creation, and better financing as policy directives that can reduce inequality and exclusion. It will also highlight the role of the private sector as an important player in reducing inequality and provide case studies from around the globe and

Speakers

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Nivine Kabbaj, Minister of Social Solidarity of Egypt

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Ayman Almuflih, Minister of Social Development of Jordan

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Wafaa Abou Bakr Al-Kilani, Minister of Social Affairs of Libya

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Kaouter Krikou, Minister of National Solidarity, Family and Women of Algeria

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Sultan Al Jorias, Under-Secretary of Social Security, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development of Saudi Arabia

Moderator

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Lina Khatib, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House

Arab Forum for Equality: Wrap-up Day 1 (30 May 2022)

Day 2

Plenary session 4 : Youth unemployment as a type of inequality in the Arab region
Watch Session

Tuesday, 31 May 2022
9:30 - 11:00 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
Format: ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, Ruby Hall

This session will flag youth unemployment in the Arab region as a driver for multiple forms of exclusion and inequality. The session will also present practical solutions from the region and the globe to address the issue of youth inequality

Speakers

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Geannina Dinarte, Former Minister of the Presidency, Costa Rica

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Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, President of the Geneva Council for International Affairs and Development, Former Parliamentarian, Indonesia

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Ahmad Masa’deh, Former Minister for Public Sector Reform, Ambassador to the EU, and Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, Jordan

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Charlotta Sparre, Director of the Swedish Dialogue Institute for the Middle East and North Africa

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Rania Ayman, Youth Employment Expert (Social Enterprise/Activist)

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Kholoud Hamad Abu Sherida, Vice Chairman of Qatar Social and Cultural Center for Blind, Qatar
watch video


Moderator

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Reem Abu Hassan, Honorary Chairperson, Association for the Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence

List of Biographies download

Plenary session 5 : Launch of two practical initiatives to address inequality with a focus on youth unemployment
Watch Session

Tuesday, 31 May 2022
11::30 - 1:00 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
Format: ZOOM/Hybrid
Fairmont Hotel, Ruby Hall

This session will include a brief presentation on practical initiative(s) that aim at reducing inequality in the region. The session will highlight the initiatives’ objectives and functions and their mode of operations

Speakers

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Superstar Elissa watch video

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Khaled Hanafy, Secretary-General, Union of Arab Chambers

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Ali Awdeh, Head of Research, Union of Arab Banks

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Sherine Helmy, CEO, Pharco Corporation & Pharco Pharmaceutical International-KSA (3 minutes recorded Statement)

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Sarah Alharthey, Business Development Manager, ACWA Power

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Salim Araji, Team Lead on ESCWA’s Future of Work Initiative

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Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary, ESCWA

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Maysoon Azzam, Journalist and TV Anchor at Al Arabia

Moderator

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Lara Tamash, Journalist and TV Anchor

List of Biographies download

Background Note download

Closing Session
Watch Session [ coming soon ]

Tuesday, 31 May 2022
13:00 - 13:30 (Amman Time – GMT+3)
Format: Hybrid/ZOOM
Fairmont Hotel, Ruby Hall

Wrap-up and key messages

Moderator

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Lara Tamash, Journalist and TV Anchor

List of Biographies download

Background Note download

Arab Forum for Equality: Wrap-up Day 2 (31 May 2022)

3. Reports


Download Full Report

Download Report Overview

Pathfinder

From Rhetoric to Action_ Delivering Equality & Inclusion Global Report Animation

4. Initiatives

JOSOUR INITIATIVE

ESCWA, in partnership with Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, the Union of Arab Banks, the Union of Arab Chambers and other partners, is committed to supporting Arab countries in identifying viable solutions and partnering with key corporate stakeholders who are willing to contribute tangibly to improving youth employability. The initiative will promote the development of opportunities and active engagement in solution-oriented dialogue between business leaders, governments and civil society, addressing the issues underlying the lack of opportunities for young people and the need for suitably skilled candidates for recruitment.

Josour Advocates

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Superstar Elissa watch video


Maysoon Azzam, Journalist and TV Anchor at Al Arabia

Sherine Helmy, CEO, Pharco Corporation & Pharco Pharmaceutical International-KSA (3 minutes recorded Statement)



5. Practical Tools

Click on one of the ESCWA tools below.

6. Documents

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7. Media Corner

Social Media

Engage with us on


Media Advisory
  • For a better future for all: ESCWA launches “Josour” initiative in Jordan Advocated by Lebanese Superstar Elissa [UNESCWA] link
Press Releases
AFE Opening
  • ESCWA convenes the first Arab Forum for Equality [UNESCWA] link
Launch of Josour initiative
    • ESCWA and partners launch “Josour” initiative to reduce inequalities in the Arab region 2 [UNESCWA] link

Photo Gallery

8. Related Content