Arab countries need more than $230 billion to be able to achieve the goals of sustainable development, according to the recommendations of the annual conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED).
The 11th edition of AFED discussed “Financing Sustainable Development in Arab Countries” and stated its recommendations concerning the development of realistic integrated strategies and plans with clear and linear priorities for sustainable development goals at the local level, according to a specific implementation schedule.
This will be supported by studies and will be coupled with the adoption of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework that will ensure the confidence of financing parties, according to the forum’s recent report.
The forum was attended by around 420 delegates and 50 speakers from 36 countries across the world, representing government authorities, the private sector, regional and international organizations, research centers, civil societies, academics, and students.
Achieving sustainable development goals requires huge investments that necessitate innovative financing mechanisms, AFED highlighted.
“Financing sustainable development in Arab countries is one of the most important contemporary topics that mustn’t be overlooked in order to achieve the goals of sustainable development,” Waleed Zubari, professor of Water Resources at the College of Graduate Studies at Arabian Gulf University, said.
Aid organisations, development funds, companies, and banks are required to support the government and contribute to achieving these goals.
Participants affirmed the importance to develop prerequisite legislation to attract aid and investments, terminate waste and corruption, and adjust subsidy systems to efficiently manage natural resources, in addition to developing tax systems to enhance sources of income while ensuring equitable distribution of wealth.
The annual funding gap is expected to reach over $100 billion, while economic activity suffered losses of $900 billion since 2011 due to wars and conflicts, which will undermine the implementation of development goals, due to overlap with reconstruction requirements.
AFED’s report called for the reversal of investment in the Arab region, which entails reformation of fiscal policies and taxation systems, combating corruption, and providing incentives and facilitation to encourage investment and efficient use of resources.