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Arab States Need To Address Food Security, Other Factors To Meet MDGs By 2015, Report Says

Arab states must develop a plan to increase food security and create more jobs in order to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets by 2015, according to a report published Sunday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Reuters reports. “Though rich in labor and fertile land, much of the Arab world is plagued by malnutrition, joblessness and a big gap between rich and poor, said the report,” the news service writes (Dziadosz, 12/20). 

According to the report, almost 140 million Arabs live below the poverty line, Agence France-Presse reports. The report noted, “‘there has been no decrease in the rates of poverty in the Arab region over the past 20 years,’ with some countries actually showing an increase,” AFP writes (12/20).

In addition to its focus on food security and job creation, the report highlights additional “key interrelated challenges facing the region,” which include: institutional reform, economic diversification, education improvement and other factors, according to a UNDP press release. “The report stresses that dealing with these challenges requires the adoption of a comprehensive development model based on the human development approach which considers freedoms as the basis for development. The report is the result of a collaborative effort between the League of Arab States, [UNDP], and a large group of Arab experts” (12/20). 

The report states that “[t]he development paralysis experienced by LDCs (least developed countries) in the Arab region can be turned around … However, such a transformation requires a developmental compact between the Arab LDCs and their more fortunate brothers,” Reuters reports. The unemployment rate among younger people in the region is among the highest in the world because in most Arab countries, more than half of unemployed people are young, the report notes (12/20).

“The report was drafted ahead of a world summit in September 2010, which is being held to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the [MDGs], according to which the international community pledged to halve poverty and malnutrition by 2015,” PRESSTV writes (12/21).