UAE helps countries meet UN sustainable development goals, expo hears


DUBAI // To help developing countries, the UAE is focusing on key areas such as diversifying energy sources and empowering women and children, said the Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi on Monday said the UAE was helping developing countries to meet the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Global South-South Development Expo in Dubai.

South-south cooperation is a term to describe the exchange of technology and resources between developing countries.

“Collaboration and cooperation among south-south countries has given ample opportunity for them to achieve economic growth and sustainable development,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

“Many of them have become very important players in the economic arena, some even models of economic development, so this is a very important step towards coming up with innovative solutions to addressing climate change and bridging the gap between north and south countries.”

Over the past three years, the UAE has been increasingly ­active in finding sustainable solutions for developing countries by supporting key sectors such as education and health care. The country launched several initiatives to combat poverty and disease.

“International cooperation is a key pillar of our foreign policy,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

“We are providing development aid to developing countries and the UAE is actively participating in enhancing cooperation between south-south countries and north-south countries to come up with sustainable solutions for key challenges worldwide. It is the key approach to achieving sustainable development for humanity as a whole.”

Although progress has been made, there is growing concern that 2.2 billion people in the world are living in poverty, 80 per cent of people in developing countries lack comprehensive social welfare, 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity and 900 million are without clean water.

Speaking at the expo, Queen Noor Al Hussein, widow of King Hussein of Jordan, said developing countries and emerging economies had become key actors in trade and energy development.

They had “amassed rich, groundbreaking, diversified development practices and are ­actively supporting each other to find practical policy solutions”, she said.

Queen Noor also paid tribute to Masdar, the UAE’s renewable energy company, in pioneering green energy development and technology transfer that has helped countries such as Jordan in the development of wind and solar power.

Addressing delegates at the expo by videolink, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said developing countries were “vital for global economic ­success and achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development”.

He said the “cross-cutting challenges are at the heart of the sustainable development goals”.

Dr Mohammed bin Fahad, chairman of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, which organised the event, said leadership was the basis for development.

“We are keen on achieving an integration between [developing] countries,” he said.

“We are trying to prove that the UAE leadership and people together are keen on [supporting] the concepts of justice, equality and harmony between people.

“We know the problems but we are trying to find real solutions that are tangible, to prove there are leaders who are really leading the way.