Al-Ahram Weekly Online   22 - 28 October 2009
Issue No. 969
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Issues old and new

The head of the National Democratic Party's Indoctrination Committee speaks to Mohamed El-Sayed about the agenda of the party's sixth annual conference

Mohamed Kamal, a leading member of the Policies Committee and head of the Indoctrination Committee, sheds light on the National Democratic Party's sixth annual conference.

"The government will call upon parliament in its coming session to allocate an additional LE10 billion to complete drinking water and sanitation projects," Kamal said.

In addition, Kamal said internal trade and social insurance laws will be thoroughly debated at the conference. "The conference will also review the ramifications of the global financial crisis and whether there is a need to adopt new measures to alleviate its negative impacts."

"The conference will also focus on mechanisms rationalising the use of water and supporting farmers" at a time when Egypt is faced with the daunting challenge of securing its share of Nile water.

Special attention will be paid to urban development and utilities. "One of the most important issues that will be debated is how to best deal with the phenomenon of slum areas," pointed Kamal.

Education, a perennial topic at the NDP's annual conference, once again makes an appearance. "This year special focus will be given to the development of secondary education as well as the enrolment system for higher education."

The health insurance law, also discussed at previous conferences, is expected to be central to the policies papers deliberated by party members.

During the NDP's annual conference in 2006, head of the Policies Committee Gamal Mubarak dropped a bombshell by announcing that Egypt was reviving its nuclear energy programme. This year "the conference will focus on the development of wind power" in line, says Kamal, "with energy and the environment having become a national security issue".

Transportation issues topped the concerns of respondents in the national poll conducted by the NDP in July. "Land transportation will be on top of the transportation paper this year. Special attention will be given to resolving the transport problems from which Greater Cairo is suffering."

Drug abuse will also feature on the agenda. "Members of the party will tackle addiction prevention policies as well as formulating new legislation to curb the phenomenon," Kamal revealed.

Decentralisation will dominate citizenship and democracy policy papers. "Amendments to the Local Administration Law will be discussed at the sessions about democracy, in addition to the expansion of decentralisation programmes."

Since most of these issues have been discussed before at annual conferences, is there anything new to be tackled this year?

"Every year we tackle a number of new issues during the annual conference," Kamal explained. "For the first time the NDP conference will this year focus on Egyptian expatriates' issues". They will be represented at the conference by a delegation of 31 community leaders.

Papers about cultural policies are also a new feature.

"The conference will tackle the cinema industry in addition to the conservation of national documents," Kamal said. "The development of publishing is also central to this year's conference. The ultimate goal is to restore Egypt's leading position in the book and cinema industry."

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