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Hariri moves to achieve U.N. development goals

Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tuesday called for the creation of a national committee to lead the implementation of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Lebanon.

At a ceremony to mark the initiation of a project entitled “SDGs in Lebanon: Analyzing Gaps and Reporting Progress,” Hariri highlighted the importance of forming a committee that would lead and coordinate national efforts to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These objectives include 169 targets in economic, social and environmental development.

“This issue is on the Cabinet’s agenda for Wednesday,” the prime minister said, according to a statement from Hariri’s media office. Hariri reportedly stressed the importance of raising awareness in Lebanon of the SDGs and “integrating the SDGs into the national programs and plans, and coordinating national efforts to execute the 2030 Agenda.”

U.N. Development Program Resident Representative Philippe Lazzarini and the president of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Nabil al-Jisr, signed the document setting out the two components of the project.

The first component, the “gap analysis,” will look at the current situation in Lebanon in the light of the SDGs, including a review of relevant laws, decrees, national strategies and plans, and “their importance toward the attainment of the goals and accompanying targets,” according to a statement from UNDP. This component will be carried out in consultation with a host of stakeholders, including Hariri’s office, the CDR, U.N. agencies, academia, the private sector, civil society and relevant Lebanese ministries.

Hariri noted that many initiatives had been launched by the government in recent months “heading in the sustainable development direction” and that “it is important to ensure integration between them,” according to his media office’s statement. The specific initiatives Hariri was referring to were not specified.

The second aspect of the project, following the initial gap analysis, will center on a “Voluntary National Review,” including support for reporting on the country’s progress on the SDGs. “A description of the institutional framework needed to implement the 2030 Agenda will be undertaken,” the UNDP statement said. The statement added that “resources needed to implement the agenda and the difficulties faced throughout, including financing, capacity development, etc. will also be covered.” Lebanon will be joining at least 22 other countries that have already conducted such a review.

“The U.N. Resource Center is pleased to announce that this project … is a priority area for supporting and promoting the goals of sustainable development in Lebanon,” Lazzarini said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “The center expresses its appreciation of this important official step taken by the government.”

Then-Prime Minister Tammam Salam first announced Lebanon’s decision to align its efforts with the U.N. plan at a summit in New York in 2015.

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