Third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit Issues Riyadh Declaration

22 January 2013: At the conclusion of the Third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, leaders from the region issued the Riyadh Declaration, which identified the importance of establishing an Arab renewable energy market and conserving natural resources, among other elements. It also reaffirms the countries' commitment to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and encourages strategies to address food and water security in the region.

The Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 21-22 January 2013, brought together prime ministers, presidents, and royalty of Arab countries including: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Palestine, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti, and Comoros. 

In a message to the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed reforms that are underway in Arab nations. He stressed the inclusion of women and youth in government activities, and called for partnerships between the UN and the League of Arab States to broaden reform efforts. Highlighting Arab commitments made at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), Ban welcomed the region's progress on MDGs and its contributions to the post-2015 development agenda.

UN officials participating in the Summit included: Irina Bokova, Director-General, UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Bureau for Arab States; and Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Meeting individually with Arab leaders, they discussed partnerships and cooperation with UN activities and collaboration on regional development priorities. [Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Press Release] [Third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit Details] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [UNESCO Press Release] [UNDP Press Release]