Qatar Sunday assumed the presidency of the 42nd meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, which will be held in Doha on January 25-26, preceded by a a preparatory meeting for senior officials.
The session marked the handing over of the presidency to Qatar from Saudi Arabia.
Senior officials from the member states attended the preparatory meeting, discussing issues ranging that include social welfare, family, childhood, rights of persons with disabilities and the elderly, eradication of multidimensional poverty and others.
In his opening remarks, Ghanem bin Mubarak al-Kuwari, Assistant Undersecretary for Social Affairs at the Ministry of Social Development, and Chairman of the 42nd meeting, said the meeting is the continuation of the c-oordination and co-operation to transfer expertise and knowledge between the relevant ministry in Qatar and its counterparts in the Arab countries to further capitalise on the experience in protection and social care aspects.
The agenda of the meeting includes numerous topics that will be formulated into effective policies, recommendations, draft resolutions and decisions to be further submitted to the Arab ministers of Social Affairs at their meeting, al-Kuwari pointed out.
He noted that the meeting will discuss topics in the areas of family, childhood, rights of persons with disabilities, eradication of multidimensional poverty in Arab states, in addition to the topics relevant to elderly and aspects of protection, social care, standards of social action and social workers, the programme of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, as well as the action plan of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, and a plethora of activities and proposed studies.
Dr Abdullah al-Wahaibi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development for Rehabilitation and Social Guidance, Saudi Arabia, said the current session complements the previous efforts and meetings, exploring the best means of promoting social development in the Arab region in order to attain the highest level of evolution in various fields of social development.
“The efforts of the Technical Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs, in co-operation and co-ordination with the ministers and officials concerned in the member states, have been straightforward to implement the outcomes of the 11th session of the meeting,” al-Wahaibi said, adding that such efforts have achieved and implemented the social dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in Saudi Arabia, and stemming from the Vision of Saudi Arabia 2030, has launched numerous initiatives to serve persons with disabilities, including a partnership initiative with the non-state sector and the Purple Saturday initiative, he informed.
Al-Wahaibi said the ministry is currently working to conduct a holistic evaluation process for persons with disabilities, which includes health, social, economic and functional aspects. He outlined that the current agenda of the meeting abounds with social topics that require further scrutinisation and discussion to take the appropriate decisions accordingly, for the sake of achieving and implementing the social dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
Tareq al-Nabulsi, Technical Secretariat of the Arab Social Ministerial Council, emphasised that the current session of the meeting comes within a new trend in the world, which represents recovery from Covid-19, pointing out that such a trend started in the previous session in Saudi Arabia, within the framework of recovery and moving forward to implement the sustainable development plan for 2030.
“This event comes after the Arab countries have made significant and numerous strides with respect to promoting the rights of weak and vulnerable segments in the community, with the rights of persons with disabilities and elderly coming at the forefront,” al-Nabulsi said.
He stressed the importance of taking into account all unprecedented challenges facing the Arab region, which precipitate synergistic efforts and capitalise on the available technology and potential.
In the light of those challenges, the Arab Social Ministerial Council has been keen to co-ordinate with Qatar and the presidency of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs to crystalise all challenges in the draft agenda to consider all these developments," he added. (With inputs from QNA)
Ghanem bin Mubarak al-Kuwari at the meeting. PICTURES Thajudheen
Dr Abdullah al-Wahaibi
A section of the attendees.