Implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda for the period until 2030 started as of the First of January 2016. That was a step aimed at addressing global problems of development, environment and quality of human life as an integrated whole requiring development of comprehensive criteria and devising a formula for international cooperation in the area of sustainable development. Although the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development is not a binding convention, it can be considered a comprehensive framework for helping developing nations, particularly, in evaluating their progress and devising plans to enable them to bridge the development gap, to consequently get involved in the international economic activity.

The 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda has set new goals (17 goals) covering the various world countries, especially developing ones. Consequently, and in order to convene a constructive Arab dialogue forum in this regard, it is useful to ponder the same and determine thematic goals as well as discussion priorities in a manner taking into consideration the current circumstances in the Arab region. Such circumstances are - due to geographical, political, and social considerations–actually exceptional when compared with "normal" circumstances holding in most societies in the world.

The fact that many Arab countries are involved in domestic and regional conflicts has led to: dispersal of integrative efforts, and disruption of the main goals of Arab cooperation with a view to engage in development and face exacerbating economic and social challenges, such as poverty and unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. Consequently, the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda provides for LAS and its agencies an opportunity to: bring the development issue to the fore front, bring back to light common interests of Arab societies, and reactivate dynamism of cooperation in vital sectors that rely by nature on regional communication and integration.

LAS is the regional framework most representative of the Arab countries. It plays an increasing role in the economic area as well as interdependence/integration and development policies in Arab countries. This became evident in the recent establishment of the Sustainable Development and International Cooperation Department and an Arab Sustainable Development Committee that includes focal points for communications among Arab countries concerning sustainable development envelopes. Therefore, LAS can play a pioneering role in: disseminating the sustainable development agenda goals, devising a consolidated Arab vision in this regard, and emphasizing to Arab government policy makers the need to adopt such goals and to make them an integral part of respective national development strategies.

Since sustainable development is an effort relying on cooperation among the various countries in the region, LAS is the optimal framework for sponsoring such cooperation and providing circumstances for translating the UN agenda into integrated programs for the Arab region for achieving such goals and cooperation in realizing the same by the set deadline, i.e. by 2030.


Waleed Ghalwash
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