Bahrain presents its Second Voluntary National Review on Sustainable Development at UN High-Level Political Forum

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Bahrain presents its Second Voluntary National Review on Sustainable Development at UN High-Level Political Forum

New York, July 18 (BNA): The Kingdom of Bahrainpresented its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the progress made inachieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United NationsHigh-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023, titled"Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and thefull implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at alllevels".

In her speech, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Noor bint AliAlkhulaif, affirmed the Kingdom of Bahrain's commitment to achievingsustainability in a holistic manner that encompasses social, economic, andenvironmental development, in line with the approach and vision of His MajestyKing Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and with the support of HRH Prince Salman binHamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.

The Minister indicated that the Kingdom’s approach is anchored on the principleof "Leaving No-one Behind," which was visible in the inclusivenessand efficiency of the how Government of Bahrain and its institutions managedthe COVID-19 pandemic and implications. The Kingdom’s approach also illustratedthe importance of strategic partnerships between the public and private sectorsand the efforts of more than 50 thousand volunteers in combatting the pandemic.

Minister Alkhulaif added that the Kingdom’s success was reflected in the WorldHealth Organisation (WHO) case study, which documented the Kingdom’s responseto the pandemic and its success in overcoming an array of challenges through acombination of early preparedness and agile responses in providing free medicalcare, treatments, and vaccines to all citizens and residents alike. This, inaddition to launching a sizeable fiscal and economic stimulus package of morethan USD 12 billion, to support economic recovery and sustained growth.

The Minister stressed the commitment of the Government of Bahrain to acceleratethe pace of adoption and integration of the 2030 Agenda in its differentdevelopment projects and policies through the launch of the Economic RecoveryPlan, the commitment to achieving net carbon emissions, alongside thesignificant alignment of the Government Plan (2023-2026) with these objectives.

With regards to Goal 6 (Clean water and Sanitation), the Minister highlightedthe Government's efforts, including achieving 100 percent coverage of safedrinking water supply and sanitation services. In two decades, the Kingdom hasalso been able to reduce consumption of non-renewable natural resources by onefifth, while improving water efficiency by 80 percent. She pointed out that theKingdom of Bahrain has sought to accelerate efforts through numerousinitiatives, including: the launch of the National Water Strategy 2030, theestablishment of the Water Resources Management Unit focused on strengtheninginstitutional capacities and water knowledge management, enhancing the capacityto develop sanitation and water treatment in partnership with the privatesector, and finally encouraging the agricultural sector to continue to adoptagricultural reserves, agricultural systems, and modern irrigation systems.

Alkhulaif also clarified that the government has intensified its work on anumber of renewable energy projects, such as installing solar energy systems onthe roofs of government buildings to circumvent the challenges of limited spaceavailable to large-scale solar farms. She then highlighted the Kingdom'sefforts to improve infrastructure supportive of digitisation and industry,while embracing the digital revolution to achieve the ninth SDG; focused onIndustry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.

The Minister noted that in a visible alignment with the SDGs and the 2030global Agenda, the Government has launched its Telecommunications, ICT, andDigital Economy and Industrial Strategy (2022-2026)  as part of theEconomic Recovery Plan. It has also promoted a culture of digital literacythrough the digitisation of government services and the adoption of a cloudcomputing policy, and applied the first-of-its-kind law on foreign parties'cloud computing, thus giving sovereignty over data of their subscribers.

She also highlighted the sustainable and quality housing programmes andsolutions provided by the Kingdom of Bahrain in line with SDG 11 on SustainableCities and Communities. She also noted that SDG13 on Climate Action iswitnessing significant movement in the Kingdom, as it strives to reach zeroneutrality by 2060 by accelerating its plans for transition to renewable energysources, quadrupling the number of mangroves, doubling the number of trees, anddirectly investing in carbon capture techniques.

Alkhulaif concluded her speech by emphasising to the importance of SDG 17 onPartnerships for the Goals as the main engine to accelerate the implementationof the SDGs. She stated that this has been over the years, a key tenant of theKingdom’s active diplomatic efforts to develop relationships with theinternational community, as highlighted by the Kingdom’s success in partneringwith various United Nations organisations across levels and disciplines in amanner that contributes positively to achieving the SDGs.

The second Voluntary National Review (VNR) provides a comprehensive review ofthe Kingdom’s progress on the implementation of 2030 Agenda since thesubmission of the first VNR in 2018. The review highlights the successes,challenges, and opportunities encountered in the implementation of the SDGs. Itshowcases the key efforts exerted in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and itsimpact, alongside the policies and strategies adopted to align the SDGs to theGovernment Plans, programmes and policies, in addition to showcasing theupdated performance indicators, all while highlighting the processes employedto effectively engage all stakeholders to achieve sustainability for all.