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UN asks Arab World to get its act together
A report entitled Arab Human Development Report 2009 highlights the region's failings, and calls on the Arab World to make significant changes.
July 22, 2009 8:15 by Dana El Baltaji
A UN-sponsored report has called on Arab governments to make progress in human development and to do more to make the Arab world better place to live in.
It called on Arab governments to create more jobs, allay security fears and take necessary measures to prevent desertification, which threatens about 2.9 million square kilometers, or roughly one-fifth of the total area of Arab countries.
“The natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate, as population pressures mount in the Arab countries,” said the report entitled Arab Human Development Report 2009 (AHDR).
It said that the average number of live births per woman in the Arab region is 3.6 compared to a global average of 2.6. “With this growth rate, the region is expected to have nearly 385 million people by 2015, up from approximately 330 million currently,” said the report.
May Hamoud Al Faraj, a spokeswoman for the Riyadh chapter of the United Nations Development Program claims the AHDR 2009 is the fruit of a two-year research process drawing on the efforts of many people.
The report addresses growing unemployment in Arab countries. According to the Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning, the jobless rate among Saudis was 11.2 percent in the first half of 2008, but estimates by the report show that it is much higher.
The report said that the Arab world has the world’s highest unemployment rate – 14.4 percent versus a world average of 6.3 percent. Given the region’s population growth rate, Arab countries will have to create 50 million new jobs by 2020 in order to accommodate the anticipated work force.
The report also called for safeguarding the rights of women by changing laws and attitudes that entrench gender-based discrimination. It notes that women in Arab countries have inadequate access to justice and poor chances of legal redress when they are victims of violence. In conflict areas, women’s lack of safety and security increase sharply.
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