NEW YORK, 25th July, 2017 (WAM) -- The UAE has outlined opportunities for faster progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, by hosting a series of events on gender, children, sustainable energy, and happiness as part of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, HLPF, from July 17th to 20th. The forum is the main review platform for the SDGs, the landmark set of quantitative and qualitative goals for social, environmental, and economic development by 2030.

Led by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Abdullah Lootah, Director-General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, FCSA, the UAE delegation announced that it would present the UAEs national review of the domestic and international implementation of SDGs at next years forum.

"The SDGs are a top national priority for the UAE, aligned with Vision 2021, our other development frameworks, and our new foreign assistance policy," said Lootah, who also chairs the UAEs new National Committee on the SDGs. "Based on our national experience, we also see many opportunities to accelerate global SDG implementation through targeted investment in gender equality, youth, and low-cost, low-carbon sustainability solutions like renewable energy. Our focus at the HLPF has been to build consensus around collective action and the evidence base in these areas."The UAEs national statement was delivered by Lana Nusseibeh, the UAEs Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, and detailed options for the UN to consider in its support to member states. She particularly emphasised the impact of budget allocations to education and health for advancing gender equality, as well as the financing benefits of reducing risks for private sector investment through stronger government institutions.

"The SDGs represent a watershed agreement on development priorities, but we need to consistently drill down to the policy, technology, and financing level to ensure progress toward 2030," said Nusseibeh. "As a prime example, this year at the HLPF we saw that achievement on gender equality continues to lag behind global commitment, requiring the kind of policy response we have used in the UAE, from education investment to board quotas and awareness campaigns."On the sidelines of HLPF, the UAE co-sponsored a high-level panel on accelerating womens empowerment to achieve the 2030 Agenda. This event galvanised action on the groundbreaking report launched by the UN Secretary-Generals High-Level Panel on Womens Economic Empowerment, which provides concrete recommendations to accelerate progress towards womens full and equal economic participation. The UAE also presented its National Programme for Happiness and Positivity and the outcomes of the Global Dialogue on Happiness at the World Government Summit in February 2017 at a panel discussion. The UAE co-organised the #ChildrenCount Summit, which launched a global initiative to address the acute lack of data on the millions of children who are separated from their families.

The 2018 HLPF will have a special focus on sustainable energy, so in preparation, the UAE also co-organised two events to identify important content and policy focuses. The first event focused on scaling up UN services to member states that lack access to energy, highlighting the UAEs pioneering work on renewable energy in the Pacific and Caribbean, as well as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the worlds top prize for energy innovation. The second event explored policy options to increase the social benefits of renewable energy, given its new status as one of the lowest cost sources of energy.

Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.