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Private sector support essential to achieve sustainable development goals in UAE: Report

The UAE ranks 60th among 156 countries in terms of achieving SDGs. (Image source: Elena Jones/Pixabay)

Government and private sectors collaboration is crucial to overcoming challenges and driving further sustainable development in the UAE, a report by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority(FCSA) revealed

Titled, 'Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the UAE - Private Sector Contribution', the report, produced in collaboration with Oliver Wyman, noted how sustainable development is a priority agenda topic for countries worldwide, and that in order for governments to succeed in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs), private sector engagement is an "invaluable" measure to achieve visions and goals.

According to the report, the UAE's development priorities are aligned with the concept of global sustainable development. Along with its 'UAE Vision 2021' and 'UAE Centennial 2071', the country formed the National Committee on SDGs in 2017, facilitating the SDG's prioritisation, alignment and integration, as well as monitoring and reporting on developments throughout the UAE. A year later, the committee launched two advisory councils that act as sounding boards for future policy development.

Of the two councils, the report noted the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), which provides a platform for regular dialogue between the private sector and the national committee on SDGs.

Abdullah Lootah, FCSA director-general and vice-chair of the National Committee on SDGs, said, "UAE seeks to respond to the ongoing transformation of a world economy that is increasingly placing a premium on sustainable development and on securing a better future for all."

The report highlighted the current state of SDGs in the UAE, noting that the UAE ranks 60th among 156 countries in terms of achieving SDGs. The report quoted 2018 SDGs Index and Dashboards Report as saying that the UAE improved 17 ranks compared to 2017, and in 2018 achieved an index score of 69.

The report notes the UAE scored 100 per cent in SDG1, which calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations by 2030.

As for SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, the UAE scored 93 per cent, because "of its high government efficiency, established property rights, and 100 per cent rate of child registration," the report added.

The report went to highlight the UAE's "fastest areas of progress", noting that the country's efforts to achieve SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities and SDG 15 concerning life on land. According to the private sector contribution report, the UAE improved its SDG 11 and SDG 15 scores by 117 per cent and 97 per cent respectively.

It went on to stress that to rank among the top-10 countries in the SDG Index, "the UAE will need to improve its overall score by 10 basis points to reach 80 per cent."

The report said that such progress could be attained by 2023, by ensuring an annual improvement of 10 per cent in the SDGs in which the UAE scores below 50 per cent. These include SDG 6 (clean water), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 13 (climate action).

Some major UAE private sector players have played an impact on attaining SDGs, the report revealed.

First Abu Dhabi Bank was highlighted in the report, among other private sector contributors, noting the bank's corporate sustainability initiatives, including the financing of two solar plants that will offset over seven million tonnes of carbon annually.