26 June 2013 saw the mutual signing at LAS headquarters in Cairo, of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Ms. Rima Khalaf, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Mr. Nabil Al Arabi. The new MoU aims to develop and build on decades of cooperation between ESCWA and LAS, which has grown progressively since the signing of the original MoU between the two organizations in 1983.
In view of past successes, and the unfolding events in the Arab region, ESCWA and LAS decided to review their modalities of cooperation, in order to align their common work with emerging needs and challenges, and establish a framework for dialogue and cooperation for both organizations that further deepens their efforts to enhance regional integration and reinforces their policymaking role in the region. The new MoU represents a confirmation of ESCWA's commitment to develop its relationship with LAS, at a time when it is expanding the scope of its activities, which now encompasses most Arab countries.
The MoU outlines several priority areas for cooperation, including sustainable development; poverty alleviation; unemployment mitigation; promoting economic and trade integration; achieving food security; statistics; information and communication technologies; and women's issues. It proposes modalities to cement this cooperation on the technical and political levels. On the technical level, the MoU affirms the importance of each organization's participation in the otherís technical committees and of forming joint working groups on emerging challenges facing the region. According to the MoU, ESCWA is also to take part in the meetings of the LAS Economic and Social Council, and the specialized ministerial sessions; meanwhile LAS will take part in the ministerial and subsidiary sessions of ESCWA, as well as in the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) meetings of the United Nations agencies operating in the Arab region. Along the same line, both organizations will be present in each other's high level and summit meetings.
The new MoU is expected to enhance the work of the United Nations and its development partners in the region, through promoting integration in capacity-building activities, strengthened capacity for national policy-making, and deepen regional cooperation among member countries.
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