ESCWA’s 2018 Annual Report Focuses on 2030 Agenda Implementation in Arab Region
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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ESCWA activities in 2018 to promote implementation of the 2030 Agenda include the establishment of the Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies to strengthen regional platforms for exchange, coordination and consensus building.

The ESCWA annual report describes efforts towards strengthening means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda, particularly related to technology, financing, statistics and partnerships.

The region could require up to USD 2.3 trillion in development finance to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

July 2019: The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has published its 2018 Annual Report, which provides an overview of activities undertaken by ESCWA to advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in three regional priority areas: sustainable development; social justice; and regional integration.

The report also describes efforts towards strengthening means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda, particularly related to technology, financing, statistics and partnerships.

Some of the specific activities described in the report that ESCWA undertook in 2018 include:

  • launching a data portal of 100 million data points on social, economic and environmental data, which provided the basis for a regional SDG monitoring portal;
  • developing a macroeconomic SDG model that simulates the impact of policy choices on each of the 17 SDGs, and a social expenditure monitoring tool that feeds into the model and helps optimize social allocations;
  • helping to formulate a regional multidimensional poverty reduction framework, and currently updating its Arab Multidimensional Poverty Index to help countries achieve SDG 1 (no poverty) in a region where nearly 40% of the population is living on less than USD 2.75 a day;
  • assisting in setting regional norms and guidelines on Internet management, and working with stakeholders to influence policies that harness technology and innovation for job creation and sustainable development;
  • developing a common Arab regional job competencies framework for public servants working on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs;
  • convening a meeting on 2030 Agenda implementation that discussed conducive conditions for national development planning;
  • helping countries formulate tailored national strategies for developing statistics in support of the 2030 Agenda; and
  • launching the Integrated Gender Statistics Toolkit, with the aim of training 1,500 people to use it.

On energy, Arab countries agreed on transitioning towards sustainable energy systems, improving resource management and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. ESCWA, with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), published a study on ‘Evaluating Renewable Energy Manufacturing Potential in the Arab Region,’ focusing on Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and convened the first coordination meeting of the Regional Initiative for Promoting Small-scale Renewable Energy Applications in Rural Areas of the Arab Region, which aims to improve livelihoods, social inclusion and gender equality in rural communities by promoting investment in small-scale renewable energy technologies.

Regarding SDG 2 (zero hunger), ESCWA began developing a framework to monitor food security in the region, and is working with partners to establish a mechanism for regional coordination on water and agriculture issues to help maximize use of water and agricultural resources.

On SDG 13 (climate action), ESCWA established the Arab Centre for Climate Change Policies to, for example, strengthen regional platforms for exchange, coordination and consensus building. It has also been helping to train climate negotiators and develop climate modeling tools to, inter alia, provide hydrological projections on water and climate intersections covering basins that extend beyond Arab countries.

On means of implementation, regional leaders adopted the Beirut Consensus on Technology for Sustainable Development in the Arab Region, which focuses on decent employment and empowered youth, and the Beirut Consensus on Financing for Development, to help mobilize financing to achieve the 2030 Agenda. ESCWA also published a number of reports, including: ‘Rethinking Fiscal Policy for the Arab Region,’ which emphasizes the importance of fiscal policy to economic reform, social investment and sustainable development; ‘Illicit Financial Flows in the Arab Region,’ which found that financial outflows associated with illicit financial flows are around USD 42.8 billion each year; and ‘The State of Financing Development in the Arab Region,’ which found that the region could require up to USD 2.3 trillion in development finance to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

ESCWA has also built partnerships with local and regional constituencies, including parliamentarians, civil society organizations and the private sector, to advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In addition, it has leveraged the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) to achieve greater coherence and synergy with UN system organizations to further the 2030 Agenda’s implementation. [Publication: ESCWA Annual Report 2018] [ESCWA Annual Report Landing Page]

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