United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Arab Regional Workshop on National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) and Indicators of Sustainable Development

Cairo, Egypt


From 12-14 December 2004, the Government of Egypt hosted a Workshop on National Sustainable Development Strategies and Indicators of Sustainable Development in Cairo to support countries from the Arab region in their efforts to develop National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS). The Workshop was organized by the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSD/DESA) in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) and in coordination with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). His Excellency, Mr. Maged George, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs of Egypt, opened the meeting.

The Workshop discussed in depth the experiences of the countries of the Arab Region in developing NSDS as well as lessons learned from other countries worldwide. The Workshop also looked at issues related to the availability of information for decision-making, with particular reference to the use of indicators for sustainable development in NSDS development.

In its conclusions, the Workshop proposed a number of activities to be carried out at the national level and by regional and international organizations that could support the process of developing national sustainable development strategies. Among these, attention was given in particular to undertaking the following, as appropriate:

- Country reviews of existing national strategies to determine whether or not they could be revised to conform to the principles and characteristics of national sustainable development strategies;
- Revision of existing strategies or preparation of new NSDS, as appropriate, and establishment of the requisite institutional framework;
- Organizing meetings between representatives from countries with mature NSDS and those from countries that are just beginning the process. In this respect, Egypt invited representatives of the Arab States to participate in its upcoming meeting on environmental management, in Cairo, 7-9 February 2005;
- Comparative studies of country experiences with intergenerational funds;
- Compilation and comparison of examples of NSDS from countries around the world with am emphasis on elaboration of the elements that make them responsive to national needs and characteristics;
- Preparation of modular manuals for countries to guide them through the process of preparing NSDS;
- Preparation of a regional comprehensive study on both data availability and the action required for capacity-building in the area of data generation and collection, data quality and the development of indicators for sustainable development. In this regard, the meeting emphasized the importance of coordinating with the Abu Dhabi Environmental Data Initiative;
- Increased allocation of national resources to develop national data for sustainable development, with support from regional and international organizations, as appropriate.