NEW YORK – 20 July 2020 – The UAE made the case for future preparedness, emphasizing the role of forecasting and anticipation of global trends, in order to strengthen resilience and address emerging global challenges, during the UN’s annual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
In the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the theme of the forum for 2020 was ‘accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development’. In its written national statement, the UAE stated: “As the crisis unfolds, we are trying to find the silver linings. An important part of the emerging consensus around building forward better is the centrality of improvements in pandemic preparedness and resilience.”
The UAE underlined that it would continue to advocate in the multilateral space for analyzing future trends and their opportunities, redesigning policy and financing approaches in response to improve livelihoods.
The UAE highlighted climate change as one of the single most consequential megatrends of the present times, more specifically the impact of climate change on health. As a longstanding advocate of a nexus approach between climate and health, the UAE is investing in climate action which is both economically attractive and an investment in improved health outcomes. The UAE emphasized that COVID-19 has reinforced the need to invest in conservation, noting that the impact of environmental degradation, changing weather patterns, and the loss of natural habitat has been proven as driving factors for transmission of zoonotic diseases. As an important national step towards raising ambition on nature conservation, The UAE is a member of the High Ambition Coalition which has committed to protecting 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030 – triple the current global target.
Additionally, the UAE stressed the importance of relevant, accurate, timely, and accessible data to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UAE National Committee on SDGs has dedicated 2020 to improving domestic data availability, undertaking initiatives that include analyzing data readiness, closing data gaps, and setting quadrennial targets that can guide policy-making.
The UAE delegation to the forum was led by H.E. Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, Artificial Intelligence, and Remote Work Applications. He participated in the forum’s session on the future of the SDGs in the post-COVID-19 world, where he highlighted the important contributions of artificial intelligence to the implementation of the SDGs – including in increasing efficiency of production and monitoring distribution patterns in supply chains.
Furthermore, on the sidelines of the forum, the UAE organized several high-level discussions from securing equity and accessibility for all in cities as part of COVID-19 response and recovery to anti-corruption, as well as on renewable energies. The UAE also convened a meeting of the SDGs Global Council where members showcased their work across the 17 goals so far.