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International Joint Forum on Smart Development

in North West Tunis and the Middle East

الملتقى الدولي المشترك لـلتنمية الذكية بالشمال الغربي التونسي والشرق الأوسط

Tabarka, Tunisia
14-16 April 2020

The University of Jendouba, Atlas Foundation, World Association for Sustainable Development, Middle Eastern Knowledge Economy Institute as well as several other national and international partners are pleased to invite you to participate in the SMARTDEV Forum 2019.


The World Commission on Environment and Development famous report “Our Common Future” published in 1987 defined sustainable development (SD) as the development that meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The entire concept of SD is about the future and the future is all about the children and youth! Youth from all-over the world are encouraged to participate in the conference and present their research, perspectives and initiatives. However, since the Rio summit in 1992 SD is increasingly becoming a concern for both developed and developing countries (DCs). Yet, translating the principles of SD into effective economic and environmental policies seems to be a major challenge for all countries.

Smart Development (SMD) refers to development characterized by sustainability, and efficiency, in response to tremendous global technological developments, influenced by social, economic, cultural, scientific and educational characteristics. In this context, the SMARTDEV International Forum aims to discuss and explore various approaches and different ways which can contribute to the analysis, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and dissemination of SD goals and objectives. The SMARTDEV 2019 Forum aims to develop a new SD model which is intelligent and decentralised. While the main theme of the conference is Smart Dev but there are other topics will be discussed during the conference such as other Development Model; Urbanisation; Development and History; Enterprise Development; Human Capital; Industrial Sector; Agricultural Sector and Services Sector.

Youth Engagement

WASD is very keen to encourage the engagement of children and youth from across the world in the conference. We are keen to make the voice of all our children and youth heard and consequently enabling the decision makers to consider those views and ideas in their big decisions. Youth in the MENA region are growing fast and governments in the region expect their universities and research institutions to make a leading contribution by producing graduates ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. It is therefore important that all Higher Education (HE) institutions and societies to consider the youth in all their curriculum design, programs development as well as fulfilling their role as major agents in the realisation of the various future strategic visions in most countries in the region. According to recent reports by the World Bank, with a large youth representation and youth unemployment ratio, the MENA region faces a potential crisis and the education sector should be reformed to include specific qualifications and specialisations in the digital economy. The private sector can play a larger role in helping governments and academia focus investments on high-priority and high demand skills, thus young students are ready for employment the moment they graduate.

Role of Women

Women across the world have an untapped potential as a primary mover of greater development within their countries and regions. Their role is very crucial for increased development, but challenges remain. And so, significant reforms in economic, social, and political institutions must be made to create an enabling environment for women participation and empowerment. However, it appears that investments in human development are not readily translated to better economic and political outcomes for women. Unfortunately, women’s potential and crucial role in development across the world is still impeded by these economic and social factors. Women’s participation is also very important in advancing peace, unity and combating terrorism, which is a most serious threat to SD across all regions of the world. It has also been recognized that women have been largely excluded from the processes of conflict management and prevention and that their role is important in the achievement of lasting peace and security (UN, 2015). With this, there is a need to increase women’s participation in peace processes since out of 31 global peace processes from 1992 to 2011, only 4% of key stakeholder representatives were women (UN WOMEN, 2011 cited in OXFAM, 2016). Women in peacekeeping missions are also crucial given their broad set of skills that helps in improving trust in communities as a whole (OXFAM, 2016). In general, women’s participation helps in accelerating resolution and countering terrorism while ensuring that women’s rights are protected.

MENA Region

Many consider the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as one of the most important emerging parts of the world economy in the 21st century. The MENA region is strategically vital as it produces the majority of the world’s oil. However, despite the region’s oil, most countries in the region score lower on Human Development Index (HDI) world ranking, with GDP, productivity and investment rates well below the global average. Despite abundant financial and human capital, most MENA countries still lack adequate scientific and technological infrastructure to absorb, apply and create knowledge and disseminate information. At present, almost all knowledge and technology used in almost all MENA countries is produced outside the MENA region reflecting high dependency of MENA countries on outside knowledge and technology. A widening knowledge gap augurs poorly for future development of MENA societies stymied by an inability to create knowledge economies that gain benefits from the opportunities offered by globalization. It is, therefore, becoming widely accepted that the dominant economic model of the region – based on the public sector, oil incomes and workers’ remittances – is not up to the challenges of modern globalisation and the needs of advanced knowledge-based societies.