On 18 November, 2018, The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, launched the Sustainable Development Goals Center for the Arab Region (SDGCAR) at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The SDGCAR will link to the SDSN’s global network of regional centers of excellence located in Southeast Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Sub-Saharan Africa (Kigali, Rwanda); Latin America and the Caribbean (Bogotá, Colombia), and China (Beijing, China).

The occasion drew the participation of His Excellency Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority and Vice Chair of the UAE National Committee on SDGs; His Excellency Bernardino León, EDA Director General; and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, SDSN Director. They were joined by His Excellency Dr. Salam Fayyad, former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority; His Excellency Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum; and Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency and EDA Deputy Director-General, for a panel discussion entitled ‘Implementing the SDGs in the Arab Region and the Role of Diplomacy’.

Panelists from left to right: His Excellency Bernardino León, EDA Director General; His Excellency Dr Salam Fayyad, former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority; Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency and EDA Deputy Director General, His Excellency Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum; and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of SDSN.

The EDA aims to build the SDGCAR as a Center of training and research with a specific focus on regional challenges and solutions to achieve the SDGs. Among its first initiatives, the SDGCAR will support SDSN by being part of its extraordinary network of massive open online courses (MOOCs) through the SDG Academy. In addition, the Center will engage in various activities related to sustainable development diplomacy and work with SDSN’s National and Regional Networks, SDSN members, as well as a variety of stakeholders in the Arab region that include universities and other knowledge partners, governments, civil society, businesses, and key UAE stakeholders.

At the event, His Excellency Abdulla Nasser Lootah opened by conveying a message from Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Chairwoman of the National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, who said that “the Sustainable Development Goals represent important components of Vision 2021. Being host to the SDGCAR will add credence to the good work EDA already has conducted in the region and present EDA as the de facto choice when searching for research, training, and knowledge on SDGs. It will also make valuable contributions towards the UAE’s achievements of the SDGs.” Prof. Jeffrey Sachs continued by emphasizing the role of diplomacy in achieving the SDGs.

“I can think of no better home to a Sustainable Development Goals Center of Excellence for this region than the UAE due to its exemplary leadership. The Emirates Diplomatic Academy has already proven to be a powerful agent using all the tools at its disposal to educate and structure the talk around SDGs in a way that makes them accessible and understandable. We must continue to control the message in this manner to help the world understand that we must commit to the SDGs with the same verve and belief as the UAE.” Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.

His Excellency Bernardino León, Director General of EDA, followed by saying “the EDA is honored to be the host of this prestigious regional platform. We will work hard, from day one, to make this Center the go-to hub for training and research on region-specific challenges and solutions for achieving the SDGs”.

The esteemed panel discussed the role of diplomacy in achieving sustainable development and gave advice to future diplomats on their role in realizing the Agenda 2030 in the region.

The launch event was attended by His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, UK Minister of State for the Middle East; His Excellency Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, Ambassador of UAE to the Kingdom of Belgium; Baroness Catherine Ashton, former High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union; His Excellency Paulo Portas, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Portuguese Republic; Her Excellency Susana Malcorra, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Argentine Republic; Her Excellency María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia; His Excellency Ibrahim Al Abed, Advisor to Chairman of the National Media Council, among others.

About the Emirates Diploatic Academy

Established in Abu Dhabi in 2014, EDA is the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomatic institution. As a prestigious platform that combines the best of academia, research and practice, the Academy equips the country’s current and future diplomats with the knowledge and multi-disciplinary skills to effectively serve their nation. As part of its core mandate, EDA integrates sustainable development and SDGs into multiple areas of its work and activities, including its regionally pioneering work in diplomatic training on UN climate change negotiations. The Academy also runs a research programme on ‘Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development’ that conducts and publishes research, and organizes workshops and roundtables dedicated to SDG-relevant issues.

Media Wrap-up

SDG Centre of Excellence for Arab Region Launched 

Emirates News Agency – November 18, 2018

SDG Centre of Excellence for Arab Region Launched

Thompson Reuters, Zawya – November 18, 2018

Emirates Diplomatic Academy Launches SDG Centre of Excellence for the Arab Region

MENA Herald – November 18, 2018

SDG Centre of Excellence for Arab Region Launched

Trade Arabia – November 19, 2018

SDG Centre of Excellence for Arab Region Launched

Urdu Point – November 19, 2018