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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

UAE's sustainable development achievements 'testament to its ambition', UN hears

The 17 goals aim to end poverty, protect the environment and achieve equality, peace and prosperity

Abdullah Lootah, vice-chair of the UAE’s National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, during an interview at Emirates Towers. Jaime Puebla / The National 
Abdullah Lootah, vice-chair of the UAE’s National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, during an interview at Emirates Towers. Jaime Puebla / The National 

The UAE has presented a review of its progress in meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, protect the environment and achieve equality, peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs, which include the goals of quality education and decent work and economic growth, are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Abdullah Lootah, vice-chair of the UAE’s National Committee on SDGs and director general of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, delivered a presentation at the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which was established to review progress at both global and national levels on the implementation of SDGs.

Mr Lootah spoke about activities and efforts made by the National Committee on SDGs since its establishment in early 2017, aligning and integrating the SDGs with the UAE’s national development agenda.

“The pace with which the UAE has adopted and commenced implementation of the SDG framework is a testament to the level of the country’s ambition to pursue a trajectory of sustainable development,” he said.

Meeting the SDG milestones by 2030 is only the start, he said.

“The SDGs are part of a continuum of outcomes that the UAE aims to achieve in the coming years,” said Mr Lootah.

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Last year, the UAE was recognised by the OECD is being as the world’s largest per capita donor, contributing 1.31 per cent of its gross national income as Official Development Assistance. The country has reoriented its foreign aid program to align with the SDGs.

“To achieve the SDGs, we must collaborate to give hope for a better future to countries and communities where pain, suffering and anguish prevails,” said Mr Lootah.

He also spoke about UAE initiatives that support the implementation of the SDGs, such as The Global Councils on SDGs, which brings together decision makers from government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to address the world’s most pressing development challenges.

There will be a separate Global Council to address each of the 17 SDGs. Nine Global Councils were launched at the sidelines of the High Level Political Forum, and work to create the remaining eight is ongoing.

“The Global Councils are designed to create partnerships across sectors, develop innovative solutions, and leverage global best practices towards implementing the SDGs,” said Lana Nusseibeh, ambassador and permanent representative of the UAE to the UN, at the event, which was hosted by the UAE, the World Bank Group and the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Mr Lootah said the councils underscore the power of partnership and work that can be achieved by working together toward common goals.

“Our hope is that the work of these councils spur action to get the world on track to achieving the 2030 Agenda,” he said.