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The first ever Multi-stakeholder meeting of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD) for the Middle East and Neighbourhood South was held on October 3-4 2017 in the Dead Sea region of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Participants represented key development stakeholders from the region such as Local Authorities (LAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Co-operatives, the private sector and officials of the European Commission. The instrument of PFD is the result of a Structured Dialogue that brought together CSOs and LAs from the European Union and partner countries with European Institutions and bodies. The need of a high-level policy dialogue was identified by stakeholders during the consultation process that ran from November 2011 to November 2012. This permanent channel for dialogue about development issues, with the aim of strengthening the European Union’s development policy made an important impact in the Middle East and Neighbourhood South (MENS) with a series of working sessions and plenaries providing space for the stakeholders to identify and highlight regional priorities and challenges. 

 

The primary aims of the PFD (MENS) was to first, introduce regional participants to the work and process of the PFD and second, provide a venue to discuss regional concerns as relate to the ongoing work of the PFD. While the goal of this meeting is not to produce a consensus document or joint outcomes from all involved, the messages and conclusions will be fed into the global discussions of the PFD and shared with relevant EU actors. The overall objective was to enhance networking among development actors and get them to know and use the PFD well. The Alliance was represented by member representatives Mr. Akram Al-Taher, Executive Director of Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine and Mr. Rebhi Baker, Treasurer, Agriculture Co-operative Union and by staff Ms. Georgia Papoutsi (CoopsEurope) and Mr. P. Santosh Kumar (ICA-AP).  Some of the key (draft) recommendations of the PFD highlighted the need to work together towards ‘permanent dialogue’  and ‘trust building’ among LAs, CSOs; develop instrument to track progress made at PFD; foster democracy and spread the imperative of human rights in the region; invest in youth and defend laws that protect CSO activities; increase awareness on SDGs and reporting processes like the Voluntary National Reviews and ensure collective action & comprehensive approach towards climate change.