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Eye of Riyadh
Business & Money | Wednesday 22 January, 2020 4:05 am |
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Sustainability empowers young people in MENA region to build prosperous societies

The National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in partnership with the Arab Youth Center, launched the Arab Youth and Sustainability Report. The first-of-its-kind report in the Arab world aims to highlight the role of Arab youth in supporting the SDGs through providing an overview of select creative youth initiatives and their positive impact on achieving the goals.

The report was launched during the UAE Forum for Sustainable Development Goals that took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2020. The ceremony drew the participation of Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairperson of the National Committee on SDGs; Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) and Vice-Chair of the National Committee on SDGs; and Saeed Al Nazari, Director General of the Federal Youth Authority, Chief Strategy Officer at the Arab Youth Center and member of the National Committee on SDGs.

The Arab Youth and Sustainability Report represents an annual assessment of the most prominent youth initiatives that contribute to achieving the SDGs.

The document consists of three main sections. The first contains an overview of the 17 SDGs and outlines the role of youth in supporting their implementation, illustrated by case studies from several countries, including the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The second section introduces six young leaders who are contributing to achieving the SDGs through their innovative ideas. Meanwhile, the third section describes 14 initiatives, developed and implemented by Arab youth in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, Palestine, Oman, Syria and Sudan, towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The initiatives have been carefully selected through a platform launched specifically for this purpose by the Youth Advisory Council for the SDGs in cooperation with the Arab Youth Center. The call for the submission of youth ideas and initiatives that support the SDGs has received a high uptake with more than 600 entries.

The pioneering community initiatives aim to achieve social impact in areas such as women’s empowerment, providing opportunities for youth and environmental protection, rather than commercial success.

Abdulla Nasser Lootah said: “We are proud to launch this report, prepared by members of the Youth Advisory Council for the SDGs. The document emphasizes the importance of engaging young people in the global sustainability movement and the urgent need for inspiring initiatives that focus on diverse aspects of sustainability, such as reducing carbon emissions, using renewable energy and supporting the underprivileged. Sustainability offers a prime opportunity to empower young people in the MENA region to build prosperous societies.”

For his part, Saeed Al Nazari said: “We have collaborated with multiple partners from the Middle East region and beyond, including the National Committee on SDGs, to complete this comprehensive annual report. The document seeks to step up awareness on the SDGs, and recognize impactful youth initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life and driving socioeconomic and human development in the Arab world.”

He added: “The center’s contribution to this important report aligns with its efforts to forecast and prepare for transformations in areas relevant to the youth in the next 10 years, as well as with its vision to motivate young Arab leaders and support their initiatives.”

Al Nazari noted that the document serves as a crucial knowledge resource on sustainability and youth empowerment. He also thanked the committee’s team for this initiative and called on its partners, including the Arab Youth Center, to actively participate in the sustainability journey.

In closing, he said: “Inspired by our wise leadership, we in the UAE believe that young people play an integral role in shaping the future, and that they are the wealth of our nation. Utilizing their ideas is the best way to build a better future for humanity. In this context, our report helps engage Arab youth in creating innovative solutions, taking the initiative, and turning challenges into opportunities.” — SG

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