In collaboration with the League of Arab States and Department of Statistics of Jordan and with the support of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), PARIS21 organised a forum to bring together officials from all Arab countries to review national and regional statistical issues, including the use of statistics in policymaking. The forum was originally scheduled for 28–30 April 2003 but, due to the tense situation in the region, was postponed to 8–10 September 2003 and was held, as proposed, in Amman, Jordan at the Hotel Sheraton.
All 22 member states of the League of Arab States were invited to participate: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The specific objectives of the forum were to foster the dialogue between key national and regional stakeholders among users and producers of statistics and to explore modalities of follow-up at the country level to produce further activities and plans aiming at strengthening national statistical systems to both provide the information required to set and monitor policy and to stimulate demand for such information among decisionmakers.
A Preparatory Group from the region was formed and mandated by the Statistics Commission of the Arab League to follow up on the planning and implementation of the forum. The group consisted of representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, ESCWA, and LAS.