By Ayman Adly/Staff Reporter
Qatar can look forward to achieving further development as it has attained most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) well before the deadline, 2015. However, a few challenges still remain for the country before it fully achieves all the goals.
Speaking at the MDG Forum in Doha yesterday, Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) president Sheikh Hamad bin Jaber bin Jassim al-Thani said two goals had not been fully achieved yet: the adequate participation of Qatari women in public life, due to some social and traditional constraints in the local community; and CO2 emissions from various industries.
“In this forum, we hope to discuss the development goals beyond 2015. All institutions of the country have to study the new goals, in particular their nature and the modern methods to measure them,” he said, expressing his wish that the forum would adopt a plan to have a national team for preparation of the phase beyond 2015 in co-operation with the international bodies concerned.
The QSA president said Qatar should invest in upcoming development projects in the country as well as in preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
The high representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, Nasser bin Abdulaziz al-Nasser, stressed that Qatar had made efforts worthy of praise regarding the implementation of MDGs. “Qatar’s efforts were not limited to the national front alone, but it has also reached out to include innovative initiatives to push forward the process of development in different parts of the world.”
For example, Qatar has launched the Education Above All initiative in conflict zones, Silatech provides young people in less-developed countries with jobs and the South Fund has been created for humanitarian aid in developing countries.
“Honestly, governments should arrange their internal policies and priorities in a way that makes development a primary standard for measuring their advancement. This is what Qatar did, for example, when it launched its
vision for 2030,” stressed al-Nasser.
Paolo Lembo, representative of the UN Development Programme, said it was important to conduct a process for harmonising statistical methods in a comparative way and measure them against the desired development targets. He said the countries that managed to successfully achieve the MDGs were those that were able to harmonise their development vision, like what Qatar had done. “It is a process of shaping the global platform based on the needs of your country.”
Lembo said that in the past 13 years great achievements had been made globally in terms of education and health. Yet, in various parts of the world, people lived in extreme poverty, facing health, sanitation and food challenges daily . He urged governments to identify new objectives in different areas of development and reflect the expectations of the new generation, especially in the Arab world, on what
kind of a world they wanted to live in.
The Arab region has achieved remarkable progress in achieving the MDGs, particularly in terms of education. “However, the region is still lagging in other areas, especially when it comes to combating hunger, food security, clean water supplies and sanitation in villages, and reducing the maternity death level,” said Nada Jafar, representative of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
Jafar said that though the Gulf countries had achieved many of the MDGs, some discrepancies existed in these places. For instance, they were lagging in terms of achieving equality for women, it was observed.
Jafar stressed the importance of developing national statistics strategies in Arab countries as a key component of attaining the desired sustainable development.
The forum, which concludes today, is seeing the participation of representatives from the government and ministries, local civil societies, Arab League and the UN. It is expected to issue recommendations that will lead to greater achievements in the country and follow up on them by adopting new strategies to collect data and save it, among other issues.
Qatar has managed to implement most key MDGs, which include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, combating HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases, environment sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
Through this forum, the country is looking to address shortcomings and sustain the success already achieved. Page 8