Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are both road maps toward ensuring a better future, through focusing on a few specific targets that can affect societies positively with the changes they bring. Vision 2030 is a Saudi national plan, while the SDGs are a universal plan. When aligning them, we can see a great commitment toward development and change. The Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) has been leading and working on this alignment, and its results are very promising for a greater economic and social future.
In September 2015, the member states of the UN adopted a resolution titled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” which stated that all countries and stakeholders would implement this universal plan. This agenda, which includes 17 SDGs with 169 targets, is a new promise for the world following up on what the Millennium Development Goals did not achieve. All 17 goals are based on five themes: People, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. They are also integrated into three dimensions of sustainable development: Economic, social and environmental.
Since they were announced three years ago, the UN, through all of its bodies, has been trying to promote and accomplish the SDGs. Different offices have launched initiatives aimed at fulfilling the goals. The SDGs have been bringing motivation and promise for the world wherever they have been presented.
The UN has ongoing campaigns, some which are led by the Secretary-General’s office, which are continually discussed — such as climate, gender, water and youth. The Security Council also adopted Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security. The resolution recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.”
In April 2016, the Council of Ministers in Saudi Arabia approved the launch of Vision 2030. This is an aspiring Saudi national transformation plan based on three main pillars: A vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. There are about 12 executive programs that are endorsed through the Vision to accomplish sustainable development. The Vision is also a road map for the Kingdom to expand its national and international development economically, socially and culturally.
The alignment of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Vision 2030 is important to consider in any future development or plan, because the key factors of each agenda are a big contributor to the prosperity of people in Saudi Arabia and around the world.
Razan Farhan Alaqil
There is a great alignment between the work of Vision 2030 and the SDGs that is worth noting. The MEP has been leading the Kingdom with the SDGs file based on a royal order mandating it to monitor the progress toward achieving the goals. Saudi Arabia is committed to accomplishing the SDGs.
The MEP has carried out a constructive analysis to align Vision 2030 and the SDGs. Based on its reports, a number of national strategies and programs were added and assessed for consistency with the SDGs. Within this context, sub-strategic objectives of Vision 2030, along with national strategies and programs that are aligned with the targets of the SDGs, have been identified to paint an accurate picture of the alignment that can be implemented by executing agencies in the Kingdom. For example, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture issued the water strategy and the environment strategy.
Additionally, the Kingdom has always focused on the development of education, so a royal order was issued to bring the SDGs into education curricula. Work is in progress toward this end, led by the Ministry of Education, in partnership with public and private stakeholders.
We can already see the progress being made through this alignment, as MEP officials in July presented Saudi Arabia’s fist Voluntary National Review at the UN’s High-Level Political Forum, which allows countries to highlight the milestones they have achieved toward the SDGs. The Saudi delegation participated in several events, led by different Saudi government entities, that reflected the issues and topics that the Kingdom supports.
The alignment of the SDGs to Vision 2030 is important to consider in any future development or plan, because the key factors of each agenda are a big contributor to the prosperity of people in Saudi Arabia and around the world. It is also worth noting that Saudi Arabia’s success in achieving its Vision by 2030 will be reflected through its commitment to accomplishing the SDGs as well.
We can all take a role in the implementation of both Vision 2030 and the SDGs by taking on personal initiatives to contribute to a brighter future for ourselves and everyone around us. All members of society can be part of this by promoting and advocating for the targets of the SDGs and the programs of Vision 2030. Being a well-informed citizen allows you to engage through social media with people who are currently running initiatives. And if you have an initiative of your own, the SDGs Partnerships platform offers members of the civil society an opportunity to register their voluntary projects and multi-stakeholder projects that support the implementation of the SDGs.
• Razan Farhan Alaqil is a student of political science, international comparative politics and global studies. She is a Saudi youth representative at the UN.