• Al Zayani: “We need a new mechanism that can empower Arab countries and help solve our region's problems”
• Eliasson: “The challenges facing the Middle East are complicated, but the UN is prepared to assist”
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 12 October, 2015: Peace and development are critical to the future of the Arab region, according to experts at the second session of Beirut Institute Summit that opened today at The St. Regis Hotel – Corniche in Abu Dhabi.
Titled “What Does it Take? Two Perspectives” and moderated by Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman of Beirut Institute, the session featured an insightful conversation between His Excellency Dr Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and His Excellency Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Al Zayani said: “The GCC will play its full part in the international community and give full support to the efforts of UN. But we also hope that the UN will be able to ensure that permanent members preserve their interests and help them play the role they should play. After 70 years, the UN also needs to take more account of the views of the developing world.”
“A three-pronged approach is needed to reconfigure the region: we need a new mechanism that can empower Arab countries and help solve our region's problems; we have to be more proactive in order to have a positive impact on the changes and developments in the area; and we will also need to create a reality that will lead to security and peace,” added Al Zayani
The Secretary-General of the GCC concluded with a clear call: “Iran should take the opportunity presented by its recent agreement with the P5+1 powers to build trust with the GCC and the world.”
His Excellency Jan Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said: “The challenges facing the Middle East are complicated, but the UN is prepared to assist. It took the world far too long to understand the gravity of the Syrian crisis and pay sufficient attention to a conflict of the first magnitude – more than 220,000 deaths, the use of chemical weapons, and the worst refugee crisis since the WW2.”
Eliasson added: “We have to pay more attention to Arab youth: 75% of the population is under age of 30, yet they are mostly absent from policy making. This feeling of exclusion can lead to intense frustration, powerlessness, and in some cases, violent extremism.”
The UN Deputy Secretary-General concluded: “The region can become stronger by defending pluralism, well-functioning institutions, access to justice, the empowerment of women and the region's own scholars. Ultimately, however, there can be no peace without development, and no development without peace.”
Set to conclude on October 11, Beirut Institute Summit seeks to explore the Arab region's challenges and potential through integrated inter-disciplinary perspectives that move beyond a traditional understanding of the concepts of “political economy” and “security threats”. Among the issues under the spotlight at the open-door plenary sessions are the role of smart cities, Arab women's viewpoints and the relationship between ideas and policy.
Saudi-based ACWA Power is supporting the Summit as gold sponsor, with Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) as silver sponsor, and the UAE's national carrier, Etihad Airways as the official airline partner. A.T. Kearney is supporting the Summit as the exclusive Knowledge Partner.