MENARY Monitor – Edition 103
March 19, 2023
Politics and Political Engagement
A United Nations commission of inquiry stated that the UN itself along with the Syrian government are responsible for delays in getting emergency aid to Syrians after the earthquake. The commission’s statement said that the conflicting actors failed to agree a pause in hostilities and to allow life-saving aid through any available route, leaving Syrians feeling “abandoned and neglected by those supposed to protect them, in the most desperate of times.” The report from Arab News indicated that neither Syria’s information ministry nor a UNOCHA spokesperson immediately provided a comment when asked.
The Ministry of Youth of the Government of National Unity, Libya, announced that it began accepting applications from potential candidates for the Libyan Youth Parliament in its second annual session, as part of the Democratic Youth Learning Initiative, which brings together 200 young people from different parts of Libya. The Government of National Unity stated, on its Facebook page, that the conditions include (a) the candidate must be between 17 and 25 years of age at the time of his candidacy; (b) cannot be a member of the Supreme Electoral Commission; (c) must abide by the rules established by the Supreme Candidates’ Committee; and (d) uphold good conduct throughout the annual cycle of the program.
The capital’s Youth Center, in Jordan, held a panel discussion on promoting youth participation in democracy, with 25 participants aged 18 to 30. The discussion included the evolution of political life in Jordan since the establishment of the Transjordan, the most important stages of democracy, and the impact of the political reforms led by King Abdullah II on the political development process and its reflection on young people, along with the most important laws and legislation supporting young people’s participation in the democratic process.
The Qatari Josour Forum and the Kayan-Women’s Organization met with more than 15 activists representing women’s groups in Palestinian towns. The meeting discussed practical approaches to encourage women and young people to participate actively in social change and overcome major challenges in order to increase women and youth’s participation and role in politics.
Economics and Entrepreneurship
In Egypt, the fourth edition of the World Women’s Summit was launched to discuss the leadership role of women. The Summit discussed women’s leadership and effectiveness in the ICT industry as well as discussing the success stories and personal experiences of participants, to create credible experiences and engage them with attendees to enhance opportunities for professional, institutional, and community development. The Summit discussed women’s empowerment in technology and digital transformation through leadership development for professional growth, networking capabilities, exchange of experiences, and perspectives on best practices and right measures for issues related to scientific and technological development.
Iranian police said that 110 suspects have been arrested in connection with the suspected poisoning of thousands of girls in schools across the country. Authorities say they are investigating, but there has been no word on who might be behind the incidents or what — if any — chemicals have been used. Gen. Saeed Montazerolmehdi, the police spokesperson, announced the arrests and said police had confiscated thousands of stink bomb toys, indicating that some of the alleged attacks might have been copycat pranks while others appear to be more serious, with hundreds of students hospitalized, according to local media reports and rights groups. A lawmaker on a government panel investigating the incidents said that as many as 5,000 students have complained of being sickened in 230 schools across 25 provinces. Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the recent protests, has put the number at over 7,000 students.
Human rights sources revealed that the Houthi militia transferred 10 civilian abductees to an unidentified destination, as part of procedures it has been following for several days in conjunction with Switzerland’s negotiations between the government and the Houthis on prisoners and detainees. A journalist, who was released from Houthi prisons, quoted sources from the abductees’ families as saying, “the Houthis transferred 10 civilian abductees who were present in the Houthi-controlled security and intelligence prison in Sanaa to an unknown destination”.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia prevented the national junior football team from holding a training session at the 70th Park Stadium in Sanaa. Private sources said that the militia required players to pay money to be allowed entry into the field. The coach asked the federation to move the training camp to a different city amid continued harassment by the Houthi militia.
Arab News reported that Saudi Arabian authorities seized about 4.6 million amphetamine pills in shipments of ceramic toilets, sinks, and washbasins, in an attempt to smuggle into the kingdom. Amphetamines are classified as stimulant drugs that speed up messages sent to and from the brain and the body, and are used to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. They are highly addictive and dangerous.
Art is considered a haven for young Tunisians from marginalized neighborhoods on the outskirts of Tunisia’s capital, where infrastructure is lacking. They strive to dispel the stereotype that classifies them as deviants. These neighborhoods have been impoverished for decades and reinforce the image of a growing environment of violence. Muhammad Ali al-Ayari, who lives in the densely populated neighborhood of Hesher Roundabout, says: “These claims disrupt us and complicate our lives.” The 23-year-old young man, who works as a guard, recently won a segment of rap music in a competition organized by the International Alert, which is active in integrating youth in marginalized areas of Tunisia. The organization selected dozens of young people from the neighborhoods of Hesher Roundabout, Fushana, Al-Tadamon, and Sidi Hussein to express themselves in their own way through music, documentaries, and photographs addressing the subject of violence. The organization’s coordinator explains that “there are people who are subjected to violence on a daily basis, some of whom are engaged in it and others who suffer from it. Hence the idea of transforming it into cultural activities.”
As part of the “Strengthening the Role of Youth in the Fight against Corruption” project, The Wojood for Human Security organization held a dialogue session with General Muttahar Naji al-Shuaibi, Director of Aden Security Institution along with other personnel. During the meeting, participants recommended the need to train and rehabilitate the personnel of security agencies, activate oversight and accountability roles, implement the principle of equality and justice among members of society and pay salaries on a regular basis, as well as rehabilitate police facilities and provide all material needs that help to complete the work. The outputs of the session included the preparation of the draft code of conduct for law enforcement officers, which was delivered to the Director for approval.
Zawya reported that the UAE announced the establishment of a new center for promoting peace and co-existence through educational programs for young people in the region. Named the Manara Center – The Regional Center for Coexistence, the Emirati authorities launched the center at an event held in Abu Dhabi. The Manara Center will focus on empowering young people across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia to play an active role in promoting and practicing coexistence through their participation in three categories of synergistic university-based programs. It is worth noting that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will be a flagship partner for the center to help implement key educational programming.
The Jordanian Public Security Directorate (PSD) organized a youth march to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs in Zarqa governorate. During the march, more than 300 young men and women from different regions of the governorate, members of youth centers, and civil society organizations took part to reject drugs and raise awareness about their dangers. The march embodied the image of community togetherness to reject this devastating plague through a national image that depicts the role of youth in addressing it and introducing patriotic roles to protect the community, said officials. The march is part of the National Program for Security and Youth launched in partnership between the PSD and the Ministry of Youth, with the aim of spreading awareness among youth and promoting their positive participation in building safe and stable societies.
The Lebanese Minister of Education, Abbas Al-Halabi, promised to deliver the demands of teachers from private schools to the Prime Minister for the equal provision of the subsidized five liters of petrol per working day along with accelerating the issuance of the government decision to dedicate 10 billion Lebanese Lira to support the Private Education Teachers’ Retirement Fund, and accelerating the implementation of the law to support public and private schools. Halabi had met with a delegation from the teachers’ union, and he hoped that the union would not proceed with the strike in the interest of the school year. The meeting discussed teachers’ demands amid the current financial challenges in Lebanon.
Zawya reported that education experts indicated that Kuwait currently lags behind in the Gulf region and globally in terms of education quality. The experts spoke of the need to develop an urgent plan for education reform, stressing that the successive developments in the labor market require the rehabilitation of a generation capable of innovation in the fields of newly created businesses, pointing to the need to update the curricula and develop modern teaching methods away from indoctrination and memorization. They also highlighted that these challenges persist despite a hefty allocated budget from the state. They touched on the replacement plan in the education sectors, pointing out that Kuwaitization requires addressing the reluctance of Kuwaiti youth from the teaching profession, noting that the development of education begins with setting a clear and fixed strategy that does not change with the change of leaders. This would include, inter alia, aligning the secondary education system with the types of university specializations offered locally, regionally, and globally.
The Egyptian Minister of Migration presented the idea of establishing the Youth Council of Scientists and Researchers, emphasizing its importance in drawing on the experiences Egyptian expatriate students have learned abroad to support Egypt’s sustainable development goals. The Minister added that she is keen to take advantage of youth’s capacities and provide them with better opportunities.
The Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development organized the first training program for youth participants in the student competitions, as part of the Youth for Development Initiative. Held at Cairo University, the training event saw the participation of governmental, community, and private universities and young participants. The event discussed national projects implemented under the umbrella of the Dignified Life Initiative in villages and target centers, as well as the criteria for the success of development projects. The training also included familiarizing young people with the strategies, program, and policies that the Egyptian State is working on.
The UAE Youth Envoy for Climate Change at the Conference of the Parties (COP28), Hoor Ahli, said that UAE youth will play a pioneering and pivotal role in the success of this event that will enhance the country’s global efforts to reduce the impact of climate change. Ahli added: “we continue to work on creating a distinctive model for youth participation in the COP28 Conference, reflecting the vision of the Government of the State and guiding the wise leadership of UAE youth to a new stage in the decision-making process in climate action.” Ahli emphasized the fundamental role of young people in global climate action initiatives, as underscored by their projects, ideas, and innovations in sectors vital to the planet’s future, stressing the need to give young people around the world the opportunity to showcase their innovative sustainability projects so that they can participate actively and seek to transform their ideas into concrete solutions.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced that four Regional Climate Weeks will be held over 2023 to build momentum ahead of COP28 and the conclusion of the first global stocktake, designed to chart the way for fulfilling the Paris Agreement’s key goals. Of these climate weeks events, the Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW 2023), will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between 9-12 October, hosted by the government of Saudi Arabia. UNFCCC indicates that Regional Climate Weeks bring together a diverse range of stakeholders for regional collaboration on climate change, including representatives of governments, private sector companies, development organizations, youth groups, and civil society organizations.