23-24 January 2020 Beirut, Lebanon
The OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD kickstarted their new co-operation agreement with a 1st Joint Competition Forum on 23–24 January 2020, in Beirut, Lebanon at UN House. Drawing on the expertise of the three organisations, the Forum aims to become an annual knowledge-sharing platform on competition policy and enforcement for the MENA region bringing together high-level competition officials, policymakers, regulators, and the broader competition community. Stakeholders can use the Forum to promote peer learning and dialogue, consensus building and networking. Plenary topics addressed included competition and economic development; effective competition frameworks; fighting bid rigging in public procurement; and break out sessions examined competition as it relates to employment, gender and good governance.
All meeting documentation (agenda, presentations, reference documents) can be downloaded in the UN-ESCWA website: here.
By signing a Letter of Understanding (“LOU”), the OECD, UN-ESCWA and UNCTAD join forces to help strengthen competition law and policy across the MENA region. There is broad consensus that competition creates significant microeconomic and macroeconomic benefits. Competition creates dynamic business environments, encourages innovation, as well as investment and offers better goods at lower prices thus enhancing productivity and consumer welfare. Enhanced productivity leads to faster growth for the economy as a whole. Competition can also help promote a cleaner and fairer business environment, in which success comes to those firms best able to meet their customers’ needs, rather than those with the best connections or the deepest pockets. A first meeting to introduce the LOU to the MENA countries was held in the margins of the OECD Global Forum on Competition (GFC) in 2018. A similar follow up meeting is planned for the 2019 GFC.
Each of the three organisations brings its unique experiences and expertise to the LOU.
The OECD will contribute its storehouse of rigorous competition research, and analysis that draws on the peer exchanges that characterise the OECD as well as the expertise of the Secretariat garnered through bilateral projects.
Since 2014, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), has undertaken a combination of research, advisory and capacity-building activities on competition policy in the middle east and north africa region through the lense of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UNCTAD draws on its extensive consumer protection and competition expertise both in and outside of the MENA region to help foster regional economic development as a prerequisite for facilitating regional and international trade through addressing the intricacies inherent in the institutional setup at local and regional level.