The works of the 109th ministerial session of the Economic and Social Council of the League of Arab States were concluded on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League, headed by the Arab Republic of Egypt, with the participation of the Ministers of Finance, Economy and Trade of the Member States. The Arab Civil Aviation Organization participated to these works with a delegation headed by His Excellency Eng. Abdennebi Manar, Director General of the Organization .
The agenda of the ministerial session of the Council, which included a number of important items, among other things the establishment of the Council of Arab Ministers responsible for educationnal affairs, the preparation of the economic and social files for the 31st Arab Summit, the Fifth Arab Economic and Social Summit in Mauritania 2023, and the follow-up to the implementation of the decisions of the fourth session of the Arab Summit Development, which was held in Beirut in January 2019, and an item on Arab international cooperation in the social and development fields.
Other items were also addressed including, the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, the developments of the Customs Union, and the work mechanism of the committees concerned with Arab economic integration, in addition to an item on investment in Arab countries, another on an agreement regulating technical and financial procedures for maritime transport of passengers and goods between Arab countries, and an item on supporting Tourism innovation and smart tourism. A project to establish an Arab ministerial council to be concerned with the affairs of local authorities (municipalities and village councils) in Arab countries was also discussed.
The preparatory meetings for this session concluded on Wednesday, February 09, 2022, with a meeting at the level of senior officials, preceded by two meetings of the Economic and Social Committees of the Council that took place from the 06th to the 08the of the current month.
The Minister of Economy and Trade in the Government of National Unity in the State of Libya, His Excellency Mr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hawij, President of the previous session (108), praised the natural resources of our Arab region and the huge human and material potentials. However, he stressed that these capabilities have not been fully exploited yet. This is due to the fragmentation of economic work, and the lack of integration and consistency of the efforts exerted. There is no doubt that an effective and comprehensive strategy for economic cooperation and development between Arab countries may provide multiple opportunities to achieve the desired development returns.
His Excellency the Minister also stressed the pivotal role of the joint Arab action institutions, as they are the executive arms of the Arab labor system. In this regard, he stressed the importance of these institutions playing the role entrusted to them, and coordinating their work policies and programs in order to ensure integration and comprehensiveness of their efforts, with the aim of achieving the desired goals in the required time and keeping pace with the rapid change in the world around us.
In his opening speech, His Excellency the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that the meeting is taking place in light of the continuing challenges imposed by the Corona pandemic, with its repercussions on the efforts engaged to achieve the sustainable development agenda agreed upon by the international community seven years ago, recalling that achieving The Sustainable Development Goals requires new frameworks that take into account the strong relationship between development operations, humanitarian relief and peace efforts.
He pointed out that climate change is a critical existential issue for humanity, because of its significant impacts on lifestyle and the pillars of development and societal peace, and concluded that the Arab world is experiencing a “delicate stage that involves political, security and strategic transformations, as well as health, social and economic transformations, that calls for the development of mechanisms dealing and responding to these changes,” stressing that “the ability to adapt to the accelerating changes is a key feature of the success of countries and governments in the next stage.”
His Excellency praised the great efforts made by the Egyptian State under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, in preparation for the hosting by Egypt at the end of this year of the 27th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which would pave the way from Glasgow to Sharm El-Sheikh to confront climate change. On the other hand, this session will represent a great opportunity for Arab countries to present their claims in order to enhance their capabilities to set clear targets and specific dates to fulfill national and international commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions. Aboul Gheit highlighted that the League of Arab States is fully prepared to provide all the necessary support to coordinate Arab efforts in this regard, and to make this global event organized and hosted by Egypt a success. Once again, he congratulated the United Arab Emirates for winning the organization and hosting of the next edition of this event (COP 28) next year. There is no doubt that holding two consecutive sessions of the most important global climate conference, in two Arab countries, will represent an appropriate ground for the Arab countries to consolidate their claims and obtain the support they need regarding increasing national capacities and strengthening healthy ecosystems to face the effects of climate change.
In the context of Egypt presiding over the work of the current session of the Council, Her Excellency Mrs. Nevin Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, gave a speech in which she said that the Arab Republic of Egypt attaches great hopes to this session to come up with positive decisions that enhance the achievements and gains made within the framework of Arab social and economic work that requires more cooperation, coordination and development in all areas of joint Arab action.
Jameh highlighted that despite the progress that has been made in implementing the Greater Arab Trade Area and removing many obstacles to trade exchange between the Arab member States in the region, there is still a long way to go to overcome the difficulties and obstacles facing the joint Arab economic integration, which will be achieved by the declaration of the Arab Common Market, that will serve the interests of the Arab nation as a whole.
Her Excellency affirmed the keenness of all parties to reach positive results and practical decisions that take into consideration the rapid and successive changes witnessed by the global economy at the present time, and whose direct and indirect effects are reflected on the Arab economic and social conditions.