AIWF participates at the First Joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum in January 2020 in Beirut

AIWF participates at the First Joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum in January 2020 in Beirut 24 January 2020

AIWF was proud to be represented by valued Board Member Hanan Saab at the First Joint ESCWA-UNCTAD-OECD Competition Forum for the Arab Region, held on 23 – 24 January 2020 at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Beirut, Lebanon. AIWF was also invited to nominate key speakers for this landmark initiative, for which UNESCWA, UNCTAD and the OECD joined forces to help strengthen competition law and policy across the Arab region and inaugurated their new co-operation agreement with the organisation of this Forum in Beirut, Lebanon at UN House.

For the Competition Forum the Opening Session was led by Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and the programme featured three key sessions covering competition and economic development, effective competition frameworks, private sector development through competition law and policy, and competition and public procurement. Plenary topics addressed included fighting bid rigging in public procurement, and breakout sessions examined competition as it relates to employment, gender and good governance.

Competition, competition policy and consumer protection play a key role for sustainable development and the achievement of the Agenda 2030. Competition creates dynamic business environments, encourages innovation, as well as investment and offers better goods at lower prices, thus enhancing productivity and consumer welfare. Thus, the 1st Competition Forum for the Arab region discussed how competition can make invaluable contributions to SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (employment), SDG 10 (reducing inequalities) and SDG 16 (effective institutions). For example, Session 4 on ‘Competition and Public Procurement’ was a reminder to think about an “entrepreneurial state” that assumes the responsibility for sustainable and inclusive public investments by driving not just facilitating innovation in partnership with the private sector. Session 2 on ‘Effective Competition Frameworks’ focused on institutional arrangements, legal conditions and efficient organisational structures that afford independence, transparency and credibility.

Drawing on the unique expertise of the three organisations, the Forum aims to become an annual knowledge-sharing platform on competition policy and enforcement for the Arab region bringing together high-level competition officials, policymakers, regulators, and the broader competition community. Stakeholders can use the Forum to promote peer learning and dialogue, consensus building and networking.

AIWF is proud to support ESCWA in its vital initiatives for women and social development in the region and also has a long history of co-operation with the OECD and especially the OECD-MENA Investment Programme on regional and global outreach on matters of mutual concern, including economic empowerment for women and youth.