Alt text for imageIRAQ: With $18 million funding from the Government of Japan, UNDP turned the Fallujah Maternity and Children’s Hospital from war debris in 2004 to a modern structure that now boasts state of the art diagnostic, treatment and operating equipment.

Over the past decades, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan have developed an important partnership, anchored in the belief that without peace, security and stability in the Arab region, the advancement of human well-being cannot be achieved. Together, we have worked to ensure a balanced approach to better the livelihoods of men, women and children in the Arab states.

Today’s Arab region is full of opportunities. The political turmoil that has plagued the region over the past two years has galvanized millions of young people and unified their determination to change their destiny and secure their future. People in the Arab states are more aware today of their rights and are eager to seize opportunities to move forward and improve their lives. This is where UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States finds its mission: to accompany change and help the region meet its challenges.

Youth employment has taken priority throughout our programmes in the Arab states. The region has been weighed down by alarmingly high rates ofunemployment, especially among women and people with disabilities. As we work across the main areas of development—poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery and environment and sustainable development—youth remain at the heart of our work.

Whether we empower women to participate in nation-building like Libya and Yemen, or we facilitate the inclusion of former combatants and warlords intoproductive communities such as the village of Mazmoun in Sudan, or whether we educate the young on climate change and energy efficient lifestyles like our work in the oasis of Tafilalet in Morocco, together we strive to harness the wealth of human energy and high hopes that this region has to offer. You will see these stories illustrated in this publication.

In 2013, UNDP and the Government of Japan marked two decades of cooperation to promote development in Africa through the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD). Nine UNDP offices in the Arab region are located in Africa and have benefited from this partnership. We believe that there is a real possibility for a Tokyo International Conference for Arab Development.

As recent events across the region have reminded us, development is not only about economic growth or the up-and-down of financial data. Development has a human face. It is about dignity, voice and justice, with people at its core, both as its drivers and its beneficiaries.

Facts & figures

  • In the region, by 2011, 92 percent of children were going to primary school, up from 85 percent in 1999
  • In the region women’s share of seats in parliaments rose from 2.6 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in 2013
  • In the region nearly 300,000 jobs were created through various youth
    employment schemes in 2012
  • In the region 89 percent of people in urban areas and 73 percent
    in rural areas have access to improved drinking water
  • In the region, between 1995 and 2010, the consumption of ozone-depleting substances dropped by 98 percent