wanaforum

WANA Forum – Report

The WANA Forum Consultation on the
‘Role of the Private Sector in Rebuilding Basra’

BACKGROUND

The West Asia – North Africa region (WANA), which spans from Morocco to Pakistan, Turkey to Yemen, faces many challenges, some of them untold; most of them tragic and sadly, human-made. Today, almost every major conflict is fought within the confines of WANA, uprooting over 27 million people and destroying the livelihoods of millions more.1 The continued plight of the uprooted in Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Palestine, Pakistan and elsewhere in the region underlines the importance of promoting regional, concerted action for long-term stability and cohesion. WANA Forum Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, said that in an age of complex interdependence, instability and conflict have repercussions that transcend national and political boundaries. The
region therefore, requires a collective and supranational response. Toward this end, Prince Hassan, with the support of The Nippon Foundation, launched the WANA Forum in 2009 as a platform for regional cooperation and dialogue. The Forum provides a neutral, apolitical platform that brings together the public and private sectors and civil society in addressing the interlinked concepts of social cohesion, reconstruction and recovery, environment and green economy.

REBUILDING BASRA CONSULTATION

Under the initiative of reconstruction and recovery, the WANA Forum recognized the failures of current reconstruction initiatives, relating to indigenous ownership of reconstruction efforts, state sovereignty, local participation, capacity building and regional cooperation. The Forum highlighted the need for innovative, WANA-led approaches in developing a regional action plan that has the dual objective of addressing immediate needs of people in post-conflict environments (providing security, electricity and running water) and long-term strategic planning that invests in the future, promoting a private sector led economy that can provide employment opportunities to Basrawi youth as well as attracting national, regional and international investments. Following a consultation in 2009 with regional actors, it was agreed that Basra represented a region of great potential that might benefit from a supranational approach in addressing the limits of carrying capacity.

The WANA Forum and its partners 2 convened a consultation in Amman on 19 – 20 December 2010 to explore opportunities for enhancing the role of private enterprises in reconstruction and recovery efforts. With representatives from Basra local government, private sector and civil society, as well as multi-national companies and international development agencies, the consultation offered participants the opportunity to speak freely and without political constraints and focus on long-term strategies that can address the social, economic and environmental imperatives of rebuilding communities and livelihoods. In his keynote address, Prince El Hassan, stated that reconstruction and recovery efforts require a shift from ‘hard power’ to ‘soft power’ and a human centered focus on food, energy and water security.3 Mary Kaldor, Professor and Co- Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the LSE, reiterated the need for a soft power approach, giving the example that energy security cannot be achieved through military means and must instead provide access to energy for the poorest, which can only be achieved through the human security of all people. Similarly, Sultan Barakat, Professor and Director of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit of the University of York, cautioned that peace and stability require a long-term commitment to development, whereas an exclusionary process will only serve to intensify conflict.

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