CAIRO, July 28 (MENA) - International Cooperation Minister Rania el Mashat praised the close relationship between the Egyptian government and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), highlighting its role in advancing the development agenda through aligning with national efforts aimed at supporting and empowering youth and strengthening social protection systems for children and mothers, as well as healthcare systems.
This came during a meeting with Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa, in the presence of Jeremy Hopkins, the organization’s resident representative in Egypt, and senior officials from the Ministry of International Cooperation, within the framework of the periodic talks she holds with multilateral and bilateral development partners to follow up on existing work files and enhance cooperation to back the country's development priorities.
Discussions took up the ongoing work on reviewing and evaluating the United Nations country program for joint cooperation 2018-2022, and what has been achieved over the past period with the aim of enhancing sustainable development efforts, with the minister noting that the close cooperation with UNICEF included the implementation of several joint cooperation programs, which involved the government, the private and public sectors and civil society, in line with national priorities, especially the social protection program Takaful and Karama and the “Haya Karima” (Decent Life) initiative, in addition to supporting the most needy groups, as well as persons with special needs, empowering young people and girls, as well as backing national development efforts especially in Upper Egypt.
She also touched on the developments in the preparation of the joint country program for 2023-2027, which comes in conformity with government efforts in areas connected with development and protection of the rights of children, adolescents and youth. The joint country program is scheduled to be approved at a meeting of UNICEF Executive Board in September.
The two sides discussed developments in the governance structure of the "Shabab Balad" (Country’s Youth) initiative, which was launched during the activities of the World Youth Forum, to become the Egyptian version of the United Nations initiative "Generation Unlimited". The minister stressed the importance of the initiative, pointing out that it unites the efforts of the government , private sector and civil society to develop youth skills through the introduction of educational and training opportunities that qualify them to participate in the workforce, plus, it also stimulates entrepreneurship and contributes to community development by raising youth awareness of development issues.
For her part, the UNICEF regional director affirmed her support for the Egyptian efforts in hosting the United Nations climate conference, COP27, and keenness to strengthen joint cooperation frameworks in order to empower youth and enhance national development plans.