Arab States: Deputy Secretary-General calls on UN leaders to lift ambitions for the 2030 Agenda
16 March 2022
The UN Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina Mohammed called upon the UN Resident Coordinators in the Arab States to safeguard the 2030 agenda, in spite of a complex environment, and help countries get the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track.
As the representatives of the Secretary-General for development in countries, Ms. Mohammed stressed that the SDGs need Resident Coordinators’ “convening power, ability to broker partnerships and the effective coordination needed to achieve results on the ground.”
She raised concerns that across the Arab region COVID-19 reversed the first signs of progress towards the SDGs, adding that this compounds other challenges in the region – from the climate crisis and biodiversity loss to conflicts that continue to destroy lives and livelihoods.
Ukraine crisis spillover
Ms. Mohammed noted with concern that the current crisis in Ukraine will create stress globally with rising fuel and food prices and fiscal insecurity, among other areas. She added that, more than ever, “the RCs need to keep hope alive and accelerate the sustainable development agenda.”
She stressed that “our strengthened UN country teams and Resident Coordinators offer a clear conduit to ensure that the regional resources, assets and expertise land at country-level with impact at scale”.
UN leaders also stressed the need to strengthen engagement with key political actors and entities in the Arab region including the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, while positioning the development agenda in conflict and protracted crises. They agreed that improving partnerships with high-income countries -- in the region and beyond -- was also a priority.
Our Common Agenda
Ms. Mohammed added that the Secretary-General’s report on “Our Common Agenda” is “the wind beneath the wings of the 2030 Agenda" and Agenda 2063, an opportunity to boost the SDGs.
During her closing remarks, Ms. Mohammed welcomed the results achieved in 2021 and encouraged Resident Coordinators to “lift their ambition even further”, particularly in view of the global challenges, while conveying appreciation for the Resident Coordinators’ leadership across the Arab States.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi, said: “A successful recovery from COVID19, but also from other cumulating crises, particularly in the context of Lebanon, will significantly depend on early investments towards inclusive and comprehensive social protection, greener economies, gender equality and education.” She also asserted that an equitable social protection system that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere, is critical to respond to the effects of the ongoing crises that Lebanon and other countries of the region are facing. “It is crucial to help address the pre-existing pervasive inequalities that lead to restored trust in public institutions and to a new social contract,” she added.
UN Resident Coordinator in Kuwait Dr. Tarek El-Sheikh mentioned that the "UNCT Kuwait continues to collaborate with the government of Kuwait and development partners, focusing on enhancing the national social protection frameworks particularly on the needs of women, children, Youth, and the most vulnerable in general, stressing that the aim is “to build back better, leaving no one behind."
Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator in Iraq, highlighted that coordination, partnerships and collaboration with all relevant ministries and local authorities remain key in working towards achieving the SDGs. “All UN agencies in Iraq make every effort to work with national, regional and local government, civil society, the private sector, academia, and youth as they all play a fundamental role in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of steps towards a sustainable future, where nobody shall be left behind,” she said.