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World Government Summit hosts ‘Preparing for the Next Decade’ Forum

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DUBAI, 6th January, 2021 (WAM) — The “SDGs in Action” forum hosted by the World Government Summit, on “Preparing for the Next Decade”, discussed the role of governments in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), empowering individuals and communities, and developing the infrastructure needed to achieve the UN Agenda 2030 The virtual forum, which hosted 1,000 government officials, experts and specialists from UAE and the world, announced opening the candidacy for the presidency and membership for the 2nd term of the Global Councils on SDGs 2021-2023. Recommending expanding the scope and including representatives of youth worldwide; considering that councils represent a global platform for youth to gain experience and help achieve sustainable development goals. The forum also honoured previous presidents and members of the Global Councils of the SDGs.

In her opening speech, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said, “The UAE supports efforts of the Global Sustainable Development Goals Councils, which was established two years ago as a part of the SDGs event at the World Government Summit. The councils aim to bring together decision-makers, experts from different disciplines, and global sustainability advocates, who share a common belief in the effectiveness of collective action to help the international community, that highlights the best ways to explore innovative solutions which will accelerate achieving the SDGs on their journey.”

Governments and Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals During the first high-level interactive session on the role of governments in achieving the sustainable development goals, Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, participated along with Dr. Hugo Caceres, Minister of the Presidential Administration Unit of the Republic of Paraguay, stressed the importance of intensive efforts among governments to achieve food security. She noted that food security is a top priority for UAE, and it is a major challenge that can only be overcome by strengthening scientific research and knowledge, realising future trends and requirements, and continuing global efforts to achieve sustainable development goals in the food and water sectors.

Dr. Caceres said, “Paraguay seeks to provide the best education services to all citizens, and believes that transferring education to digital platforms is the best path that can be taken today. The importance of digital transformation in the education sector became evident during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no doubt that concerted efforts in the various governmental and private sectors and sectors specialised in this regard, has now become imperative more than ever.”

Unleash Human Potentialities to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals The second session titled “Realising Human Potentials for All”, hosted Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, United Nations Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda; Chairman of the Council for the Sustainable Development 1st Goal, Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Vice President of the UAE Gender Balance Council; Chairman of the Council for the Sustainable Development 5th Goal, Tariq Muhammad Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares and Co-Chair of the Global Council for the Sustainable Development 4th Goal, and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, the main representative of non-governmental organisations to the United Nations, member of the International Association of Applied Psychology, Chairman of the Council of the Sustainable Development 3rd Goal.

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin addressed the financing challenges facing the world and the poorest countries in their battle to eradicate poverty. He emphasised the need for a focused national approach, the formulation and implementation of political initiatives prioritising the situation of the underprivileged, and the encouragement of competition to address the challenges related to poverty alleviation.

Mona Al Marri said that the Global Council for the Sustainable Development 5th Goal (Gender Equality) has adopted the concept of gender equality as a vital enabler for the achievement of all 17 SDGs. Women, in most parts of the world, are affected by the climate crisis, or the scarcity of clean water, which may expose women in some countries to danger or violence in order to get it. The same concept applies to girls who are at risk of obtaining a quality education.

Tariq Al Gurg discussed the Sustainable Development 4th Goal, concerning challenges facing disadvantaged children and youth who do not have access to communications and technology, which is the main risk of dropping out of school, especially with the increasing inequality because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky referred to the need to consider health as a basic component of the SDG, including access to energy, education and poverty eradication. The Global Council on SDG 3rd Goal has worked in cooperation with the Global Council on Finance and other councils and partners to support innovations on the “Health in Your Hands” platform to achieve the global agenda 2030 and universal health coverage.

Sustainable Cities Infrastructure During the third session titled “Building the Infrastructure We Need”, Dr. Adnan Amin, Principal Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Honorary Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency “IRENA”; Chairman of SDG 7th Goal, and Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Vice-Chairperson of “Emaar Development”, Chairman of the SDG 11th goal Council on Sustainable Cities, addressed ways to overcome challenges of developing infrastructure to ensure building sustainable cities and take into account conditions for environmental conservation and clean energy. They also emphasised the need to implement initiatives that support continuous transformation in the field of clean energy.

Creating the Future The forum concluded with a fourth session titled “The Way Forward.. How Do We Get There?”, in which Simone Filippini, Head of the “Leadership for Sustainable Development Goals” programme; Former Dutch Ambassador, and Former Executive Director of Cordaid and NIMD, Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, Director General of “Positive Acorn”, and Mrs. Marie-Aimee Boury, General Manager of Positive Impact at Société Générale Bank, spoke.

During the session, participants reviewed ways to prepare for the next decade and future by discussing the finance policies, quality of life-related to the SDGs, and the importance of forming inter-governmental partnerships, the private sector, and the community to facilitate the implementation of the global development goals.

In a closing statement, Abdullah Nasser Lootah, Director General of Prime Minister’s Office, and Deputy Chairman of the National Committee for Sustainable Development Goals, reaffirmed UAE government’s commitment to supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and its continuous work to promote international initiatives aimed at improving communities’ livelihood and developing better future opportunities for next generations He added, “The outputs of the work of the global councils for the sustainable development goals will represent a solid base for the councils’ work in its next meeting, and a supportive element for their efforts to accelerate the implementation of the global sustainable development goals.”