The 7 June consultation was organized by UNCTAD in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Qatar, and featured ITFC Chief Executive Officer Waleed Al-Wohaib and officials of the Geneva Permanent Missions of the members of League of Arab States.
Mr. Al-Wohaib presented an updated version of the interagency project "Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States," based on the requests addressed to ITFC and the UN entities by the Permanent Missions.
The meeting was chaired by UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Petko Draganov and was attended by representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, League of Arab States, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Also present were representatives of the Untied Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the International Labour Office (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Through this project, ITFC and the UN entities will provide a platform to assist Arab countries in mobilizing resources to accelerate the pace of trade reforms. The aim is to enhance competitiveness in global and regional markets in a manner that addresses the challenges of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. It also is intended to add momentum to the realization of a Pan-Arab Free Trade Area. The League of Arab States is collaborating closely with the ITFC in implementation of the initiative.
The UN agencies attending the consultation provided information on their respective approaches to the project and on fund-raising activities currently being carried out to help finance it.
The first phase of the project will start as soon as sufficient financing is obtained. Medium- and long-term objectives will be taken into consideration in the second phase.