The First Annual WANA Forum in April 2009 gathered 70 eminent individuals from WANA, and partners from outside the region, to identify regional challenges as well as discuss and evaluate feasible approaches for tackling these concerns and advancing regional cooperation. Although promoting cooperation in a region that has experienced so much conflict may be a daunting task, there are many issues that cannot be effectively addressed by one nation alone.
The WANA Forum is a long-term initiative that brings together decision-makers, civil society organisations, religious leaders, researchers, business owners, media representatives and other relevant regional stakeholders. It employs a participatory methodology in the work of the annual Forum and interim consultations, and seeks to engage the public in the process.
Stakeholders are encouraged to bridge geographical and ideological boundaries to build on each other's work, adopt and contribute to the development of international standards and encourage synergies instead of duplicate efforts. In every step, the emphasis is always on what value-added does this work bring and how does it differ from what has already been attempted in WANA.
Three phases over a five year time period have been identified: to prioritise key issues and initiatives, develop concrete policy proposals and advocate these policy proposals to decision-makers for implementation.
The facilitator and guardian of the process is His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, with the generous support of The Nippon Foundation. Working groups, consisting of Forum Members and other key actors, advance the ideas that come out of the annual forums with the support of a Secretariat based in Amman.