Impact of the Arab Human Development Reports

"The Arab Human Development Reports have become a strategic blueprint for UNDP programming in the Arab States region, informing development projects that are rooted in the region's priorities, capacities, and objectives."
Amat Al Alim Alsoswa Regional Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States Read more

The Arab Human Development Report series has become a milestone in the broader debate over the development reform agenda in the Arab region, with AHDR recommendations increasingly reflected in development programming at the national and regional levels. The first Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) 2002, Creating Opportunities for Future Generations, defined three deficits impeding the human development of the Arab region:
      I. Knowledge
      II. Freedoms and
      III. Women's rights

I. KNOWLEDGE

"Without a strong and growing contemporary knowledge base of their own, Arab countries will be absorbed into the international knowledge society as passive consumers of other countries' proprietary knowledge, technology and services."
Arab Human Development Report 2003

The AHDR series identified knowledge as a cornerstone of human development: a means of expanding people's capabilities and a tool for overcoming human poverty.

Towards this goal, UNDP has launched a number of regional programmes:

  • to promote information and communication technology for development (ICTD http://www.ictdar.org),
  • to enhance educational quality assurance [http://www.arabtimss-undp.org ] at the primary, secondary and higher education levels, and to support longer-term capacity building in the region through the establishment of regional mechanisms.

II. GOVERNANCE

"Governance in Arab countries is undergoing a process of reform. We hope that these Reports will help to plant the seeds of good governance in the region by inspiring a society-wide process of creative thinking, innovation and collective work in which all dynamic societal forces in Arab countries will take part."
Arab Human Development Report 2004

The Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR) works to advance four pillars of good governance practice:
     (1) Rule of Law; [http://www.arab-niaba.org, http://www.arabruleoflaw.org ]
     (2) Transparency and Accountability;
     (3) Participation; and [gender and citizenship, http://www.arabparliaments.org/ ]
     (4) Human Rights. [http://www.arabhumanrights.org/en/]

POGAR's activities range from capacity building and knowledge generation to policy advice and dialogue, creating strategic partnerships among government officials, civil society organizations, academics and donor agencies.

In response to AHDR 2002, POGAR constructed comprehensive legal databases [http://www.arablegalportal.org] in Arabic (Egypt, Iraq, Arab banking laws); translated, commissioned and published several studies on governance-related issues; and launched its own website (http://www.undp-pogar.org), which provides resources on governance reform in Arab countries.

III. WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT

"This Report calls for the temporary adoption of the principle of affirmative action or positive discrimination in expanding the participation of women to all fields of human activity in every Arab society according to the particular circumstances of each."
Arab Human Development Report (2005)

The Regional initiatives to advance women's empowerment include:

Center for Arab Women Training and Research (CAWTAR http://www.cawtar.org) - Based in Tunis, CAWTAR is an independent regional institution that promotes gender equality in the Arab World through research, training, networking and advocacy. Originally supported as a joint project of UNDP, Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND http://www.agfund.org ), and later the World Bank, CAWTAR has produced Arab Women Development Reports (AWDRs) since 2001. The AWDRs are a series of thematic periodical reports whose primary objective is to address the knowledge gap in gender-related research in the Arab region.

HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States (HARPAS http://www.harpas.org ) - Based in Cairo, HARPAS works to heighten awareness and to build commitment and leadership in the regional response to HIV/AIDS. In May 2006, HARPAS launched a Regional Women Religious Leaders Forum in Cairo, Egypt that culminated in the Tripoli Declaration. The Declaration commits religious communities to advocate for an end to discrimination, and to protect women and children infected, and affected, by the HIV virus.



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