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UN-Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Informal Dialogue with the Second Committee on GLobalization “ The Impact of Instability on the Capacity of the ESCWA Region to Address the Challenges of Globalization ” Presentation By Ms. Mervat Tallawy Executive Secretary, ESCWA.

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UN-Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Informal Dialogue with the Second Committee on GLobalization

“The Impact of Instability on the Capacity of the ESCWA Region

to Address the Challenges of Globalization”



Ms. Mervat Tallawy

Executive Secretary, ESCWA


In this years Summit, World Leaders,acknowledged that:“peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations System and the foundations for collective security and well being”“development, peace and security are interlinked and mutually reinforcing”

instability and tension in western asia
Instability and Tension in Western Asia
  • Occupation and Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Civil Strife in Iraq and the presence of foreign military forces
  • Political tensions in Lebanon and Syria
opportunities and challenges of globalization
Opportunities and Challenges of Globalization
  • Access to larger economic markets or lack there of;
  • Technological innovation and its impact on productivity and competitiveness;
  • Gradual integration of economies into the new world trading system;
  • Formation of strong regional blocs;
  • Free flow of capital;
  • Competitiveness;
  • Uneven distribution of the benefits of globalization;
table 1 escwa region and overall arab world share of global economy 2004 selected indicators
Table 1. ESCWA region and overall Arab world share of global economy, 2004: selected indicators
table 2 real gdp and growth rate estimates in the escwa region at constant 2000 prices 2001 2005
Table 2. Real GDP and growth rate estimates in the ESCWA regionat constant 2000 prices, 2001-2005
the impact of instability
The Impact of Instability

ESCWA’s membership can be divided into three categories:

  • oil producing countries;
  • non-oil producing countries;
  • LDC’s and conflict ridden countries (Iraq, Palestine)
economic impact
Economic Impact
  • Poor economic growth: Because of instability, the Arab world has lost an annual average of 2 percentage points on growth since 1980. Between 1990 to 2002 and as a result of instability, the region lost around 600 billion dollars in GDP.
  • Flight of capital and investment: between 1999 & 2003regionalFDI inflows increased; yet, the share of the ESCWA region in global FDI inflows is a mere 1.2 %
  • Reductions in productivity and in profits
  • Prevention of positive spillover effects
  • Limits free and easy movement of goods,
  • Influences levels of trade: despite rise in intra-regional trade in recent years, the ESCWA region’s share of the world total international trade is only 2.6%.
  • Slow down in regional economic integration
  • Increase in debt in some member countries
social impact
Social Impact
  • Increase in unemployment: unemployment in the region was estimated at 16% (2003), among youth it was estimated between 25 and 30%.
  • Unequal income distribution
  • Increase in brain drain
  • Increase in gender disparities
  • Weak social protection systems, increased social vulnerability
overall impact
Overall Impact
  • Deterioration in living standards in Iraq and Palestine (inadequate health and nutrition conditions, lack of food security especially among children, no access to sanitation, power and water cuts)
  • Shift in focus from development (Iraq and Palestine), to humanitarian and relief efforts
  • Slow reform processes (social, economic, political)
to maximize benefits of globalization
To maximize benefits of Globalization
  • Enduring peace and stability: adequate political and economic conditions
  • Promotion of regional integration
  • Socio-economic policies and strategies
  • Reform
  • Good governance
  • Good management of globalization
Three Transport Agreements:
    • International Roads in the Arab Mashreq:
    • International Railways in the Arab Mashreq:
    • Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of maritime transport in the Arab Mashreq
  • Project on “Capacity-Building Through Cooperation in Developing Inter-regional Land and Land-Sea Transport Linkages”
  • Establishing National Transport and Trade Facilitation Committees (NTTFC) in several ESCWA member countries
  • Preparing member countries for the WTO Ministerial Conferences (unified Arab negotiation position)
  • Project on “Interregional Partnership for Promoting Trade as an Engine of Growth through Knowledge Management and Information and Communication Technologies, 2005-2007”
  • Flagship publication entitled "Annual Review of Developments in Globalization and Regional Integration in the Countries of the ESCWA Region”
Developing a Regional Plan of Action (RPoA) to implement the recommendations of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
  • Launching an initiative on Technology, Employment and Poverty Alleviation (TEPA) aimed at generating employment opportunities and reducing poverty in the Arab region.
  • Implementing the Smart Community Projects (SCP) in selected Arab countries aiming at building capacities in the local community and introducing modalities to increase employment opportunities and alleviate poverty.
  • Pioneering project to link the electrical grids of the northern countries of Western Asia (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.
  • Establishing national databases in selected member countries to measure and compile data on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Transnational Corporations (TNC). (in collaboration with UNCTAD)
Promoting the Arab Gas Pipeline Project (1st phase included laying of a 248 kilometer pipeline from Egypt to Jordan, and a 15 kilometer marine pipeline in the Gulf of Aqaba and 2nd phase a 370 kilometer pipeline through Jordanian territory)
  • Establishing the Arab Integrated Water Resources Management Network (AWARENET) in cooperation with the UNESCO to improve the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) concepts
  • Co-Founding the Arab Water Council (AWC) which aims to promote a better understanding and management of water resources in the Arab region and to disseminate knowledge, enhance sharing of experience and information