Apr 6, 2022Arab Region SDG Index reveals mixed results on achieving the SDGs

The 2022 Arab Region SDG Index and Dashboards Report was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy and the UN SDSN at the World Government Summit 2022

Paris, 6 April 2022 - The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) unveiled the 2022 Arab Region Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards Report at the World Government Summit 2022 in Dubai.

The crucial report reveals there are positive trends in three important areas relating to education, clean energy and climate change. The report also indicates that several countries are on track to achieving SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). Six Arab countries, including the UAE, have completed two-thirds of the road towards achieving the SDGs and managed to achieve a total index score of 66 or above. However, data also reveals that there are still common challenges around gender equality, decent work and economic growth, as well as sustainable food production in parts of the region.

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, SDSN President, congratulated the co-authors on this important work and highlighted that: “The 2022 Arab SDGs Index is a valuable effort by two leading academic institutions in the region. The findings of the Index and Dashboards should be guides for action for the region to achieve the SDGs. The positive trends in the key goals of education, clean energy and climate change are encouraging. Special attention should be given to the goals, sector, and nations most in need of accelerated progress. Kudos for this important report!”

His Excellency Nickolay Mladenov, Acting Director General of AGDA, said: “AGDA is honoured to partner with MBRSG and the SDSN, to produce actionable research that aims to support the implementation of the SDGs in the Arab region. By presenting thorough data on the region’s progress, the report can help serve efforts and partnerships between countries, which is a crucial pillar towards achieving the 17 interlinked global goals.”

“With only eight years left until we reach the date set by the UN General Assembly to achieve the SDGs for the ‘Agenda 2030,’ accelerating efforts is now more pressing than ever before. The report thus also plays an essential role in enabling regional and country-level policies overcome challenges and speed-up developmental endeavours,” added His Excellency Mladenov.

Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean of the MBRSG, said: “As our world recovers from an unprecedented global pandemic, and despite the difficulties and rapid transformations we are witnessing, the Arab region still has an opportunity to turn the tides and pursue a sustainable future through a common roadmap, which the SDGs provide. Efforts from policymakers, civil society, business and academia are key when it comes to reaching these goals by 2030.”

During the launch of the report at the World Government Summit 2022, Dr. Fadi Salem, Director of Policy research at MBRSG, stressed that future annual editions of the Index and related activities are planned. “The report provides a valuable data-driven practical tool for Arab governments, policymakers and other stakeholders to measure progress on the SDGs, and to highlight implementation challenges and data gaps,” he added.

The Arab Region SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2022:

The Arab Region SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2022 comprises a total of 110 indicators covering the 17 SDGs, each of which have an assigned score and color to indicate performance, as well as arrows indicating trends in progress towards achieving the goals.

For the first time, the Arab Region Index includes Palestine, which has so far not been included in the global reports. It also provides total SDG scores for two Arab countries (Libya and Comoros) that did not receive one in the global report due to low data availability.

The scores represent a detailed and updated country-level assessment of the current state of progress related to each of the SDGs. The real value of the Index, dashboard and individual country profiles included lies in their capacity to inform local action, at thematic and sectoral levels, within each country.

The variances between the 22 Arab countries reflect significant differences in performance on many indicators. SDG 5 (Gender Equality) remains the most significant challenge across the region followed by SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Challenges remain as well regarding SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 14 (Life below Water) and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Other SDGs show more variation, which in turn require country-specific solutions to address such challenges.

Five Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in addition to two other countries suffering from conflict, Syria and Libya, each have 10 or more SDGs in ‘red’ in the SDG Dashboard, indicating that they are far from achieving these goals. These countries will require tremendous efforts both domestically and by their regional and international partners to ensure they are not left behind.

A total of 19 Arab countries have not yet achieved a single SDG. Overall, only two of the 17 SDGs (No Poverty and Life Below Water) have so far been achieved in three countries within the region: SDG 1 (No Poverty) in the UAE and Lebanon, and SDG 14 (Life Below Water) in Palestine. Significant gaps persist in data necessary to measure sustainable development performance in the region, particularly relating to income and wealth distribution and to clean energy in the LDCs.

The most significant data gaps are currently found on SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). In both areas, the gaps are the result of lack of data on income and wealth distribution. There are also data gap for SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) in the LDCs.

The full report and its datasets are available publicly at www.ArabSDGIndex.com .