Riyadh Declaration issued

January 22, 2013

Arab leaders concluded the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh today. At the outset of the final session, Arab League Secretary General Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi read the Riyadh Declaration. The document outlined a number of recommended actions for Arab countries “in recognition of the importance of moving forward to develop joint Arab actions to serve Arab citizens, raise the standards of their living and provide them with full health care.”

The Riyadh Declaration welcomed the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to increase the capital of common Arab financial institutions and joint Arab companies by at least 50 percent. It also encouraged the promotion of inter-Arab investments through the adoption of the Unified Agreement for the Investment of Arab Capital and inter-Arab trade through the realization of an Arab Customs Union and Free Trade Zone.

The Declaration praised the adoption of the Arab Strategy for the Development of Renewable Energy Applications, which maps out a path “to meet the growing demand for energy, diversify its sources, meet the needs of sustainable development, open the way for the establishment of an Arab market for renewable energy, work to provide new job opportunities with the active participation of the private sector, and support Arab developmental projects aiming to develop all renewable energy technologies.”

In the document, the Arab leaders stressed the importance of environmental issues, vowing to conserve natural resources, take steps to face climate change, and ensure the safety of nuclear facilities. They also encouraged the implementation of strategies to ensure water and food security.

The Declaration reaffirmed the countries’ commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regards to combating hunger and increasing employment opportunities. It also called for specific actions to improve access to quality education, encourage scientific research and innovation, eradicate and treat diseases, improve maternal and child health care, tackle youth unemployment, increase opportunities for women, and create more effective partnerships between governments and civil society organizations.

Finally, the Declaration expressed gratitude to the Kingdom for hosting the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit and noted that the 4th and 5th Summits will be held in Tunisia in 2015 and Lebanon in 2017, respectively.