Closing Plenary, BMENA meeting, Amman Jordan

Seventy-eight government officials, private sector, and civil society representatives from the Broader Middle East and North Africa countries, the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, and United Kingdom), as well as delegates from the 9th for the Future Forum country co-hosts, the United States and the Republic of Tunisia and their tripartite nongovernmental organizations, the League of Women Voters,  ARFORGHE and the Tunisian-American Chamber of Commerce converged in Amman, Jordan for the Second Preparatory Meeting of the 9th Forum for the Future.

The two day meeting was full of constructive conversations, which at times were spirited. The participants discussed economic governance focused on improving the rule of law, transparency and public institution integrity, economic inclusiveness, and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and women’s business.  The participants identified concrete steps to improve economic governance and ways to achieve these goals, including the implementation of multilateral support for these issues.

The League emceed the opening and closing plenaries. Mr. Mourad Belhassen, Director for the Americas in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia and head of the Tunisian government delegation to the meeting, delivered the meeting’s closing remarks.  His remarks, although posed in a diplomatic language, called for the continuing democratization of Tunisia and for the implementation of policies that will respect and sustain the successes achieved by women in Tunisia since the 1960s.

Breakout sessions during the meeting were set up by dividing the participating countries into three different groups taken into consideration the country’s position on the topics of the rule of law, transparency and economic governance. 

The team is now busy at work preparing for the meeting scheduled to take place here in Washington in early November.  At this meeting, civil society organizations, after prioritizing the issues as explained above, will present these issues to the sub-ministers for consideration and hopefully adoption in December as part of the larger foreign policy approach to the region.