The Arab Development Portal Going Live event was held in Amman, Jordan, on April 25-27. The event consisted of two main programs; the first was the launching ceremony of the Arab Development Portal (ADP) and it was followed by a regional workshop on the SDGs. The Arab development portal is an easy to access, readily available archive of development related data collected from national statistics offices of Arab countries. The portal is a product of a partnership between the UNDP and the OPEC development fund.

During the launching ceremony, the audience were introduced to the portal and a group photograph was taken after a short Q&A session. A panel followed with a focus on access to information, data revolution and partnerships for development. The session after lunch was about creating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation through digital collaboration. The launching ceremony agenda was later moved on to the regional workshop on the SDGs. The first session was held in the afternoon of April 25th and a general introduction to the SDGs framework was made. The participants had been asked to register to either one of the two working groups prior to the event, these working groups would be meeting on the 26th and therefore a briefing was given on the working modalities of these groups, which got together the following day.

Day 2’s schedule was entirely composed of the sessions of the two working groups. Group One was focussed on poverty, labour and employment and education and group two was focussed on trade, energy and food security. A regional approach was in the centre of both working groups and through the several discussion and briefing sessions, applicability of the SDGs in the Arab countries was reviewed. The mentors for each working group took notes of the suggestions made for moving forward for the final session on the 27th.

The last day of the conference began with a session regarding the mechanisms, tools and resources that could be used in tracking progress of the SDGs. A data visualisation tool that is currently under development to track the SDGs was presented by the ADP team. In the final session, working group mentors presented the recommendations and suggestions for next steps regarding the SDG from their groups. Each mentor made a 20-minute presentation. At the end of this session, I was given a chance to make a 20-minute presentation myself regarding SDSN-Y.

Participation in events like this is important since they provide an unmissable opportunity in trying to make contacts in the region. The participants in the ADP event were very much interested in sustainable development and there were many within our age focus group that sought to find out more about how to participate in the effort for the realisation of the SDGs. Through the conversations during the conference, as well as after the presentation I made on the 27th, I have been able to meet with a lot of such young people. Their genuine interest and enthusiasm on the subject of sustainable development was inspiring to me with regards to our participation in such regional events. I believe that we have taken a significant step towards establishing long-lasting and fruitful partnerships in the Arab countries by attending this event and the contacts I have made there will prove to be immensely beneficial with regards to our future participation in such events in the Arab countries.

 

Cahit Berk Teoman is the Project Officer for Education at SDSN Youth and is based in Turkey. All opinions expressed on the blog are the opinion of the authors and not of SDSN Youth. For more information about this exciting initiative, please email youth@unsdsn.org