Six Arab countries achieve 60 percent of UN SDGs

Six Arab countries achieve 60 percent of UN SDGs.

DUBAI, TGO: A report released by the World Government Summit Organisation in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government under the title “Arab Region Sustainable Development Goals Index 2022” has revealed big differences in the progress that Arab countries are making towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report, which adopted additional indicators for the region and expanded the research in quantity and quality, revealed that only three countries managed to achieve one of the 17 goals, highlighting the need for the Arab countries to unite and take fast steps to avoid falling behind the global deadline for achieving the goals by 2030.

The report measures the progress made in the sustainable development goals and highlights the gaps in the country’s implementation and data. The index includes about 111 sub-indicators covering the 17 sustainable development goals. As the Global Sustainable Development Report 2021, presents an SDG Goals Index and dashboards for all UN Member States, the Arab Region Index presents 29 additional sub-indicators that reflect regional priorities and challenges. The selection of these indicators was based on consultations with regional experts.

The variation between the 22 Arab countries reflects big differences in performance in many social and economic indicators. The report identified key weaknesses in Arab countries’ SDG results so far, most notably in SDG 5 (gender equality), which is described as the most important challenge across the region, followed by the goals of SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

Challenges also remain in SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). Other SDGs show more variation, which in turn requires country-specific policy recommendations and solutions to bring fast solutions to overcome the challenges.

Six countries lead the regional scores, with a total index score of 66 or more listed by Jordan, Tunisia, the UAE, Algeria, Morocco and Oman. As a whole, the Arab region scored in terms of achieving the sustainable development goals with an average of 58.2 out of 100, and it is clear they face a challenge in making much greater effort and cooperation across the region to achieve the SDGs during the next eight years.

Only three countries achieved one of the development goals. The UAE and Lebanon managed to achieve SDG 1 in eradicating poverty, while Palestine achieved SDG 14 related to protecting life below water. This means that 19 countries have not yet achieved any of the SDGs.

The 22 Arab countries have a red score for nearly half of the 17 SDGs. Poor and conflict-affected countries face the greatest risk in achieving the goals. Five countries have been reordered as the least developed including two, Syria and Libya, that suffer from internal conflicts.

The region has recorded positive trends in three important areas related to education, clean energy and climate change. Many countries are on the right track to achieving SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy) and 13 (climate action).

The report states that the main challenges include large gaps in data needed to measure sustainable development performance in the region, particularly concerning the distribution of income and wealth. The most important gaps in data currently appear in SDG 1 (No poverty) and SDG 10 (reduced inequalities). In both areas, the gaps are due to a lack of data on the distribution of income and wealth. There is also a gap in data about SDG 7 (clean and affordable energy) in the least developed countries.

The report recommends that countries in the region urgently invest in more resources to provide data in the areas outlined above, track the SDGs performance, and enable planning and data/science-based decision making.

WGS2022 will launch 20 in-depth knowledge reports in partnership and cooperation with major global research institutions, addressing essential topics on the agendas of world governments. Through these knowledge reports, the summit aims to promote discussions on major global trends in vital sectors that contribute to strengthening plans in the next decade and to develop policies, strategies and plans that enhance government readiness and flexibility for the next stage of development.