Sustainable development goals: seven achieved!. Need to eradicate poverty, upgrade infrastructure

Sustainable development
goals: seven achieved!
Need to eradicate poverty, upgrade infrastructure
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Lebanon achieved at least seven of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, according to the recently released report ‘Voluntary National Review on Sustainable Development Goals’, distributed by the UN.

SDG achievements were made in health, primary education, and gender equality in education.

The remaining targets showed mixed results, were not applicable, or were not expected to be achieved on time, the most pressing being poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

A national committee to oversee the roll-out of the SDGs was formed in 2017 and is chaired by the Prime Minister. In addition to the director generals of line ministries, this committee includes representatives from civil society and the private sector.

“The quality and coverage of health services have been improving and universal access to healthcare services is on the right track,” said the 90-page report.

Targets related to maternity and children under five years of age score well and reproductive health services are accessible to nearly all nationals.

Progress in the education sector has been sustained. Citizens, especially youth, have very high literacy rates, and a 90 percent enrollment rate has been achieved in primary education.

The report aims to provide an overview of the current SDG-related conditions and serve as a baseline for a longer-term process to fulfill Agenda 2030.

It highlights the following key priorities: poverty eradication, upgrading public sector education, reducing unemployment especially among the youth, and upgrading and enhancing critical infrastructure.

It also calls for conserving natural resources, solving the waste and wastewater crisis, and addressing the impact of the Syrian crisis on sustainable development.

It sets priority goals per region. In the North and Akkar, the priorities are to eradicate poverty, support farmers, upgrade and enhance infrastructure, and enforce decentralization.

In Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the priorities are gender equality, solving the waste and wastewater crisis, environmental conservation, and enhancing employment opportunities.

In the Bekaa, there is a need for enhancing infrastructure, decentralization, environmental conservation and cleanup, particularly the Litani River, enhancing public education and addressing unemployment.

In the South, there is a need for empowering and engaging youth, addressing unemployment, enhancing public sector education, enhancing good citizenship, and employment based on skills.

The major challenges facing the implementation of SDGs are corruption and lack of transparency, and good governance in public institutions, sectarianism, law enforcement, outdated legislation, centralization, access to data, and the absence of a comprehensive social protection strategy especially for the most vulnerable.

More than 160 businesses and non-business participants enrolled in the GCNL (Global Compact Network Lebanon), which encourages participants to mainstream SDG principles into their daily activities and report on their implementation.

The local network has grown, becoming one of the most respected in the MENA region, earning ‘advanced’ status by UNGC (UN Global Compact) standards, according to the report.

GCNL members’ reporting shows there are significant gaps in the private sector's involvement in important SDGs.

Four SDGs (no poverty, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, and life below water) are almost untouched by the private sector. The GCNL aims to increase the sector’s participation in that area.

In order to achieve the remaining SDGs, there is the need for government financing through highly concessional lending from international donors and institutions, and by mobilizing private sector resources, including potential diaspora funding.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Date Posted: Jul 10, 2018