Her Majesty Queen Rania delivers an address at the opening ceremony of the fourth High Level Forum
Her Majesty Queen Rania on Wednesday stressed that “smart aid” must target jobs to relieve unemployment. “Arab youth don’t want aid money or short-term projects, they want jobs. They
want to earn their salary; learn new skills. They want dignity not dependence,” she said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.
Smart aid must also invest in children through a quality education, said the Queen, asserting that “education is more than a right; it’s a resource. It can combat almost every global humanitarian challenge today”.
She noted that “67 million children are shut out of school, there is a shortfall of eight million teachers, curricula are outdated and students graduate with yesterday’s skills”.
Her Majesty also stressed that aid must prioritise women, because “women have contributed more to the global GDP than either new technologies or the emerging economies of China and India”.
“Women in developing countries farm, produce, and sell more than half the world’s food. And when they’re not doing that, they’re cooking, childbearing, care-giving, finding fuel, carrying water. Women are at the forefront of our sustainable future,” a statement from the Queen's office quoted her as saying.
“We are in a constant continuum of change which is altering the context for development,” she said, highlighting the urgency and the challenges of economic downturns and record unemployment, food shortages, famine and fuel crises.
Reaffirming that “inequality” has been at the centre of the world development challenge, Queen Rania concluded her remarks by explaining that “inequalities serve nobody’s interests. In fact, high levels of inequalities actually impede economic progress". "In countries where income is distributed more equally, there are longer-lasting spells of sustained growth,” she noted.
The opening ceremony also included speeches and remarks by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of the Republic of Korea Myung-bak Lee, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary General Angel Gurria.
The forum is a follow-up to the 2003 meeting in Rome, the 2005 Paris Declaration and 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana, the statement said.
The aim of the forum is for participants to share experiences of implementing the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action in order to highlight good practices, identify lessons learned from experiences and identify where more work is needed.
During the three-day forum, which concludes today, approximately 2,000 delegates are reviewing global progress in improving the impact and value for money of development aid and will make new commitments to further ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Queen Rania also paid a visit to Busan National University of Education (BNUE) where she met with its president, Sang-young Kim, and was briefed about the university’s experience in teachers’ education and training.
Her Majesty toured an elementary school run by the BNUE with its principal, where she visited classrooms and observed classes.
The university educates students to become qualified teachers with leadership skills and a sense of duty by improving their qualifications, the statement said.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Queen addressed the International Forum on Education ODA (official development assistance) “Dream with Education!: From Aid to Development” a side event of the forum.