NEW YORK: Saudi authorities stressed the importance of international cooperation in efforts to overcome global challenges, as they highlighted the progress the country has made in efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s own Vision 2030 development and diversification agenda.
It came during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2022, a UN platform established to follow up and review progress toward the 17 SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is being held at the UN Headquarters in New York this week under the auspices of Economic and Social Council.
On the sidelines of the forum the Saudi delegation held a virtual session, titled The Kingdom’s Efforts Toward Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was led by representatives from the Ministry of Economy and Planning, and also included participants from the ministries of education, human resources and social development, environment, and water and agriculture, along with the General Authority for Statistics.
The delegates stressed the Kingdom’s commitment to accelerating its sustainable development efforts in partnership and coordination with the international community, discussed the progress made so far, and highlighted the Kingdom’s current contributions and future plans relating to the SDGS. Set in 2015 with the aim of achieving them by 2030, the SDGs are 17 interlinked global goals — covering a wide range of issues including education, gender equality, marine life, life on land and partnerships — designed to help bring about a better and more sustainable future for all.
Regarding the Kingdom’s efforts to improve the quality of education, the delegates highlighted enhanced investment in the capabilities of the Kingdom’s youth, who have an important role to play in plans for the future of the country and its ambitious vision for development. About 40 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia is under the age of 25, and authorities are seeking to open new educational pathways, including e-learning and digital skills.
In terms of gender equality, delegates spoke about what the Kingdom has already achieved through recent initiatives and its goal to further increase the participation of women in the labor market. They highlighted the findings of the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which underlined the tremendous improvements the Kingdom has made on this issue, with its rating increasing from 70.6 percent in 2020 to 80 percent in 2021.
Another topic addressed during the session was the pioneering scientific and technological projects underway in the Kingdom to protect marine life, including a joint six-week project in cooperation with Ocean X on its OceanXplorer ship, which will carry out scientific research expected to advance knowledge of marine ecosystems in the Kingdom and help improve protection of coral reefs and the wider marine environment.
In addition, delegates discussed the Kingdom’s plans to prevent desertification, and the Saudi Green Initiative, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually and plant 10 billion trees locally.
They also highlighted a number of other initiatives, including the National Program for Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development, a plan to increase the use of local and regionally grown native plants in parks and public places, and the launch of the Youth Green Summit, which aims to provide young leaders of tomorrow in the Kingdom and abroad with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure a more sustainable future.
Speaking about the importance of partnerships and international cooperation, the Saudi delegates stressed the need to enhance the sharing of data and statistics to help mitigate the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hindered the effective collection of data.