Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al Mashat, participated in the Palestinian-Jordanian Business Forum on Tuesday at the invitation of HRH Prince El Hassan of Jordan, which discussed the significant challenges that region is currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Middle East can find pathways to recovery.
The virtual meeting was attended by over 100 participants including leaders and representatives from the private sector and the academic community across the region. Minister Al Mashat highlighted in her speech that the dramatic effects of the pandemic has pushed policymakers, civil society and citizens to search for innovative solutions, which accelerated the implementation of structural reforms on digital transformation, increasing social safety nets, the formalization of the informal labor force and the women empowerment agenda. However, with the ongoing challenges, such as unemployment, inequality and increasing levels of poverty in the region, Al Mashat noted that multilateralism is the best choice for the Middle East’s COVID-19 recovery, labeling years 2020/2021 as the years for “multilateralism” to solve these challenges in a consensual manner, and which could be achieved through political will and leadership that go beyond sectarian divisions. “This is an opportunity for our region to come together and create a historical new collaboration that would act as a model for other countries, and ensure that there is an exchange of knowledge, experiences and expertise to ensure that no one is left behind,” the minister stated. The minister also referred to the principles of stakeholder engagement, which calls for public and private collaboration and for all stakeholders in society – leaders, civil society as well as the academic and scientific community to put the interests of the wider community, the environment and society first. It calls for four actions: accelerating inclusive economics and societies, shaping a new vision for economic integration through mutually supportive institutional mechanisms and regulatory environments, harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to connect the region’s digital economies, and finally promoting environmental stewardship through supporting innovative green projects. Al Mashat added that the Ministry of International Cooperation has been pushing the frontiers of collaboration through economic diplomacy according to three key principles: multi-stakeholder platforms to engage with development partners, the global partnerships narrative to push forward a shared vision, and ODA SDG mapping to accelerate progress in achieving sustainable development. For his part, HRH Prince El Hassan mentioned that the pandemic exposed the existing social and economic inequalities in the region, adding that the forum is calling for the launch of a platform and working team to shape a forward-looking vision for the post COVID-19 world, particularly in regards to the digitalization of work and innovation in science and technology. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ministry of International Cooperation has been keen on strengthening multilateral engagement through the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development” to effectively deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals and push for a human-centered economy.