Workshop on “Social Development: A new prospective on Human Security in the BMENA Region”

Doha, Qatar, 12-13 October 2009

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The Doha Workshop “Social Development: A new perspective on Human Security in the BMENA Region” was organised by the Arab Democracy Foundation (ADF), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Qatari National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in cooperation with the co-chairs of the 2009 Forum for the Future;
The Doha Workshop falls within the framework of the 2009 Forum for the Future activities aimed at ensuring that the Sixth Ministerial Meeting discussions and outcomes are the result of a process of continuous interaction between and among Governments and civil society;
The Workshop offered a further opportunity to promote productive dialogue between civil society and governments of the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA), G8 and other democratic partners, on issues relating to Human Security and Human Development;
The results of the Workshop will be presented to the Sub-Ministerial Meeting of the Forum for the Future 2009 in Rome, to contribute constructive proposals and recommendations that could fruitfully feed the discussion between government and civil society representatives;
- Recalling the commitment of the countries of the region to strengthen the foundations of democracy and to broaden citizen participation in public affairs, and the commitment of the G8 and other partners to support these reforms, in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect;
- Reaffirming the right of each country freely to choose and develop its political, economic and social system and to promote reforms accordingly and in harmony with its national pace, potential and specificities, consistent with the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights;
- Emphasising the role of civil society as legitimate participants of dialogue in the reform process, sharing an important responsibility together with Governments;
1. Expressed their satisfaction for the positive atmosphere that prevailed in the Workshop discussions, and appreciated the open and constructive dialogue that took place between governments and the civil society, which set a positive example for further fruitful collaboration between them in the Region;
2. Highlighted the significance of the complex and multidimensional concept of Human Security, encompassing various facets of citizens’ rights to freedom from fear and freedom from want; Human Security is thus a strong foundation for future Human Development policies for the Region;
3. Emphasized the need to adopt strategies aimed at enhancing Human Development, taking into account the UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2009 on "Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries", as well as the previous UNDP Arab Human Development Reports, and the UNGA Resolution ‘Promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence’ (A/RES/63/23);
in the area of Education and Sustainable Development
4. Emphasised the importance of developing programs and plans, for both governments and civil society, dedicated to spreading a culture of human rights, democracy, peace, dialogue and tolerance among all segments of society;
5. Stressed the urgency of the need to dedicate all necessary resources for the eradication of illiteracy; and supported the achievement of compulsory and free education throughout the Region;
6. Expressed support for governmental and non-governmental initiatives for the empowerment of all citizens through Education, that prepares our youth to be productive citizens, such as the Qatar Foundation initiatives;
7. Recognised that youth are the region’s greatest resource, and acknowledged the importance of creating opportunities for skills development to enhance their ability to participate in the global economy and life long learning;
in the area of Human Rights in Conflict Situations
7. Agreed on the need to implement the Geneva Conventions, for the protection of civilians, including women and children, and remove all obstructions to opportunities for decent living, health, education and employment conditions for all citizens;
8. Condemned all violations committed against civilian populations, emphasized the need to encourage national reconciliation and accountability, and called for transitional justice and other comprehensive accountability processes to address the legacy of conflicts or persecutions, to prevent impunity for all Human Rights violations;
9. Reaffirmed their firm commitment to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and the creation of an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state;
in the area of Managing Social Tensions
10. Underlined the importance of the role of civil society in reinforcing public institutions in the respect of the Rule of Law;
11. Underlined the need for economic reform to take into account the economic and social rights of all citizens, in particular vulnerable groups, with a view to reinforcing social justice in respect of the distribution of national resources, in line with the principles of transparency and accountability;
14. Discussed the threat that extremism and terrorism represent to Human Security and Human Development in the Region, and the importance of addressing it while upholding fundamental civil rights and addressing its root causes;
15. Rejected all forms of violence and discrimination against women, and called for the eradication of domestic violence, including through penal legislation and rehabilitation programs for victims;
16. Agree to respond forcefully to the scourge of human trafficking, including by harmonising national legislation with international conventions;
17. Recognised the value of cultural and religious diversity as an enriching value for society, rather than a dividing factor; rejected any form of discrimination, marginalisation or oppression and the exploitation of these diversities for divisive political objectives. They also called for the respect of fundamental rights of all groups and the protection of their interests, in accordance with the principle of equality of all citizens;
in the area of the State-Civil Society Partnership
18. Agreed on the importance of promoting political pluralism and the rejection of all forms of violence; supporting and encouraging good governance and institutions capable of ensuring the broad and balanced participation of all segments of society;
19. Emphasised the concept of active citizenship for all, without discrimination, through legislation, regulations and practice;
20. Recommended that governments and civil society coordinate at the national level to establish processes of consultation in order to create bridges between public institutions, NGOs and citizens at the local and national level on issues of democracy, human rights and local governance;
21. Called for further development of links among and between Governments and civil society, both at a local and at a regional level, on Human Security and Human Development; in this context, the idea of establishing a Consultative Human Security mechanism in the Region was suggested, for further discussions; 
In conclusion, Participants
Emphasized that Human Security and Human Development are fundamental guiding principles of domestic and international government and civil society policies and actions;
Expressed their appreciation to Italy and Morocco as the Co-chairs of the 2009 Forum for the Future and request that these conclusions be transmitted to the Sub-Ministerial Meeting to be held in Rome on 23 October 2009; 
Expressed their gratitude to the State and the people of Qatar, for their warm hospitality, and extended their thanks to National Human Rights Committee, the Arab Democracy Foundation and No Peace Without Justice, for their efforts in successfully preparing and organizing this workshop.