Three months into the Arab Spring and after the fall of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, protests continue across the Middle East and North Africa and the region remains in a state of flux.
As protests continue throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the international community is seeking to curb the increasing violence in Syria, continue military engagement in Libya, and convince Yemen’s President Saleh to step down.
Despite its annual economic growth, Syria’s poverty rate remains high. The Syrian government needs to enact further economic reforms in order to address some of the anger expressed by growing protests across the country.
The 2011 conference focused on new actors and new agendas, reflecting the need to develop cooperative responses to challenges being posed by changing technology, distributions of political power, interest in nuclear energy, and security conditions in key regions.
Syria’s persistent refusal to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over allegations of covert nuclear activities remains a source of tension, but political considerations make it unlikely that the IAEA will take any actions that might escalate the conflict.
As protests continue to grow in the Middle East, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Bahrain are now threatened by the wave of discontent.
The EU, which has worked for decades on North Africa’s development, must step up its efforts to bolster the region’s private sector and dismantle its own agricultural protectionism.
While new outcomes are not expected on Iran and Syria's nuclear programs at the IAEA's last 2010 Board of Governors meeting, a vote on a nuclear fuel bank is likely to pass despite opposition from some developing countries and members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Oil-importing countries in the Middle East and North Africa were relatively unharmed by the Great Recession, but in the changing global economy, new policies are needed to ensure that growth remains robust.
With budget deficits on the rise, the Middle East and North Africa’s oil importing countries must reform their fuel subsidy programs, which benefit the rich more than the poor and waste fiscal resources.