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Hasbani presents Lebanon’s report on Sustainable Development Goals: Lebanon has made progress, is determined to activate economy

Deputy Prime Minister and caretaker Minister of Public Health, Ghassan Hasbani, presented this Thursday the national report on the goals of sustainable development at a United Nations high-level forum.

Hasbani chaired the Lebanese delegation, after thorough coordination with the concerned ministries, the civil society and the private sector, so as to develop an integrated report under the framework of the National Commission for Sustainable Development 2030, headed by PM-desigante Saad Hariri.

The report conveys Lebanon's progress in each of the 2030 United Nations sustainable development goals, as well as the working methods and mechanisms adopted by the Commission to involve all the concerned parties in the public and private sectors as well as the civil society.

These goals are considered as an integrated framework for the development of the economic, social, environmental and health sectors and the sustainability of this development on the long run, while preserving the environment and human beings.

The 17 goals include combating poverty and hunger, developing health, securing clean and affordable energy, promoting new jobs, boosting economic growth, ensuring equal opportunities in society, building cities and sustainable communities, responsibly using resources, securing climate care, land and nature sustainability, peace and justice, and partnership at the local and global levels.

These goals also serve as a framework for guiding international investments such as the Cedre Conference, and ensuring sustainability of impact on the economy and the society.

In his speech, Hasbani stressed "the commitment of the Lebanese government to the 2030 agenda and the implementation of the goals of sustainable development."

"As you know, Lebanon is a small, middle-income country with a democratic political system, a liberal economy based on entrepreneurship and largely dependent on services, a society characterized by cultural diversity and openness, and a location in the midst of one of the most turbulent regions in the world," he said. "However, it has shown noticeable flexibility amid a number of security, political and economic shocks, since the end of the nineties. In recent years, Lebanon has been deeply affected by the conflict in Syria and, for the eighth year in a row, continues to bear the economic, social and environmental burden of hosting more than 1.5 million displaced people from Syria."

"Despite these developments, Lebanon's first voluntary national report on sustainable development comes at a time when Lebanon has succeeded in holding parliamentary elections and a new government is expected to be formed soon," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"The international community has made it clear that political and economic stability in Lebanon is essential, including for the region as a whole, and must be maintained," he added.

"Lebanon has achieved at least seven of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the fields of health, primary education and gender equality in education," Hasbani stressed. "The remaining goals have shown mixed results, either they are not viable, or they are not expected to be achieved on time," he added.

"The role of the National Commission is to coordinate national efforts, integrate sustainable development objectives into national programs and strategies, develop a national database of indicators of sustainable development goals and contribute to the preparation of the national voluntary report. A parliamentary committee on sustainable development objectives has been established to monitor and promote sustainable development goals in Parliament, including mapping of existing legislation. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals website - Lebanon was established, several awareness raising workshops were held and active participation was also launched with civil society organizations and the private sector," the minister went on to say.

"To move forward, Lebanon's progress on the 2030 agenda faces a number of challenges that need to be addressed and considered, as follows:

1- The lack of strong statistical system and database of goals and indicators of sustainable development objectives: Capacity-building and technical assistance are needed.

2- The need to strengthen institutional capacity for public sector management, with the support of United Nations agencies and international partners.

3- The development plan in Lebanon must be financed through very concessional loans and grants and by mobilizing private sector resources in the framework of public-private partnership, given the high fiscal deficit and public debt ratios.

4- Progress on Lebanon's development agenda will be more challenging given the ongoing crisis of displaced Syrians and their unprecedented repercussions on Lebanon's economy, environment, public services and infrastructure.

The caretaker Minister declared that Lebanon will henceforth focus its work on:

- Prioritizing targets or objectives in each goal

- Ensuring an integrated approach to development

- Formulating a medium-term vision for development

"We in Lebanon are determined to take our economy to a new level, to improve the livelihood conditions of Lebanese citizens, to achieve sustainable development in all areas, and to preserve our natural resources and rich heritage of cultural diversity," he finally maintained.

"We appreciate the invaluable support of our friends in the international community, including all the United Nations agencies, and we look forward to strong cooperation in the future to achieve our goals of sustainable development and securing a prosperous future for the Lebanese," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency