AMMAN — Participants in the regional Arab Development Forum, which concluded Thursday, agreed that accountable governments are key to sustainable development in the region and for consolidating good governance across the board in the Arab world.

The forum brought together around 200 participants to identify priorities, challenges and generate ideas towards national visions for the post-2015 development agenda.

They called for empowering civil society organisations in the post-2015 development agenda, eyeing “qualitative rather than quantitative” development.

They also underlined the need for enhancing transparency and public participation in decision making across the region and called for fostering citizenship and strengthening respect of others’ cultures.

The participants demanded an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine as key to achieving development in the region, adding that the post-2015 development agenda should focus on fair distribution of development gains across the area.

The post-2015 agenda should focus on women’s empowerment and enhancing legislation protecting women, the participants agreed.

The participants, who represented civil society, academia and the private sector from across the Arab region, stressed that job creation as well as better education and healthcare services to all remain a top priority in the region.

They also said Arab revolutions witnessed in different parts of the Arab world should lead to better democratic practices, protection of civil rights and triggering advancement at different fronts.

The forum is part of UN-led worldwide consultations on the global development agenda beyond 2015.

The development agenda post-2015 is of note because that is when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) scheme expires.