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UN West Asia conference closes with declaration on development goals

UN West Asia conference closes with declaration on development goals

The annual session of the United Nations regional commission for Western Asia wrapped up today in the Syrian capital of Damascus with delegates adopting a declaration on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and deciding to prepare studies on improving national technological capacities, and on enhancing management of integrated water resources in the region.

Participants at the twenty-third Ministerial Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which opened Monday, adopted the "Damascus Declaration" on pressing ahead with efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals to reduce or eliminate a host of socio-economic ills by 2015.

They also approved a decision demanding that member countries adopt policies that take into account gender equity issues, calling for the establishment of national strategies to empower women and institutional frameworks for their implementation with the purpose of integrating women's issues in political activities and programmes.

The ministers asked the Commission's Secretariat to undertake a detailed study on setting up a technology centre targeted primarily at executing activities, which would develop national technology capacities to help enhance socio-economic development, as well as regional and international cooperation in the area of technology.

The Secretariat was called on to prepare a feasibility study on the establishment of a regional mechanism to enhance the capacity of member countries to manage integrated water resources and present them to the Committee on Water Resources at ESCWA.

A top priority for delegations was examining the impact of peace and security on socio-economic development in the Arab region, noting during a roundtable on facing the lack of stability and security, that one of the most important solutions to this reality is the achievement of all forms of national, food and knowledge security.

They also urged member countries and donors, be they governments, institutions, or civil society to contribute to supporting the rehabilitation and reconstruction of those countries that have suffered and are still suffering from the lack of stability.