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Sustainable Development Goals in the UAE


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer to the global initiatives aimed at ending poverty, protecting the earth, and ensuring that all global citizens have peace and prosperity. They are also known as the Global Goals that focus on building on the achievements of Millennium Development Goals. These goals cover areas such as climate change, financial inequalities, consuming sustainably, acquisition of justice, and living peacefully among others (United Nations Development Program, n.d.a). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a leading UN development agency that assists in the implementation of these initiatives in about 170 nations. It helps governments to assimilate the SDGs in their plans and policies. The agency also focuses on various social issues such as alleviating poverty, climate change, and economic inequality (United Nations Development program, n.d.a). This report discusses a feature story in the UAE that is concerned with a significant social issue aimed at achieving SDGs.

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Summary of the Story

This is a news story by UNDP on how the UAE Government has made a diversification of energy and climate change its strategic priority. The nation’s economy is mainly energy and carbon-intensive than that of other countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The nation has a population of more than 8 million that is predominantly urban-based. It also has a high population growth rate that is the third highest in the world at 3.6 percent. For this reason, the need for contemporary energy is expected to continue increasing. This implies that the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) will continue growing at a high rate if the future governments fail to intervene. The objective of UNDP’s new project in Dubai is enhancing the nation’s capabilities of joining global carbon markets and at the same time reducing its carbon emissions (United Nations Development program, n.d.b).

Several important factors have contributed to the success of the project. First, UNDP innovatively sought for required investments in renewable energy projects by providing crucial evidence, projections, and assistance. Secondly, close collaborations between the government, UAE UNDP County Office, MDG Carbon Office as well as the Environment and Energy Group contributed to the project’s success. The project also has high profile supporters such as by the UN Secretary-General and UAE Prime Minister. Third, consultations between various stakeholders ensured proper program assessments, enabling the project team members to design and run the project’s implementation plan. Fourth, UNDP has successfully registered five projects under the Clean Development Mechanism in the country. These projects are both in the industrial and commercial sectors and provide creative solutions for renewable energy and energy efficiency. They also act as an inspiration to the UAE Government as it seeks to implement its new and increasingly ambitious strategy in low-carbon development (United Nations Development program, n.d.b)

Significance of this Story in Achievement of SDGs

Climate change is a significant social issue that is part of the SDGs. The initiative to promote low carbon emissions by the UAE Government in collaboration with UNDP helps in combating and adapting to climate change. The increasing focus on the production and promotion of clean energy in the UAE demonstrates its unwavering commitment to sustainable development. The UAE Government has taken this initiative as an obligation that helps in ensuring the world will be in a position to sustain future generations (Todorova, 2013). It is also aware of the fact that the achievement of global environmental sustainability is only possible if fundamental changes are made at the grass-root level. To become a driving force in making this global initiative a success, the UAE has undertaken projects that promote a green economy. It has also collaborated with other stakeholders in attaining these goals of a green economy.

Promoting investments in renewable energy projects helps in improving the economy’s environmental performance by reducing carbon emissions that can affect the existence of future generations. The projects ensure that the economy consumes resources available in an efficient manner and reduces the environmental impacts of the society in the UAE (Khan, 2015). Reduced emissions have the potential of improving the environment in which current and future generations live. They also inspire organizations conducting businesses in the UAE to come up with CSR projects that support sustainable development. For instance, Dubai Properties Group (DPG) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Dubai Centre of Excellence (DCCE) to advance environmental awareness and resource efficiency through its CSR program (Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, 2014). UAE also participates in other initiatives that are concerned with climate change. For example, it has signed the Paris Agreement that requires its signatories to present a climate action plan every five years beginning 2020 illustrating various national circumstances.


The UAE Government with the support of UNDP has been a driving force to achieving low carbon emissions that will enable efficient use of energy and attainment of green objectives. The nation has been at the forefront of promoting global efforts of sustaining the environment of future generations through the reduction of carbon emissions. These efforts have led to investments in renewable energy as well as encouraging firms within the economy to adopt similar initiatives.


Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence. (2014). Low carbon developments made by DPG & Dubai Carbon. Web.

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Khan, T. (2015). UAE hails landmark sustainable development goals. The National. Web.

Todorova, V. (2013). UAE a contructive and progressive partner in race to lower carbon emissions. The National. Web.

United Nations Development programme. (n.d.a) Sustainable development goals. Web.

United Nations Development programme. (n.d.b). The UAE promotes low-carbon emissions in Dubai. Web.

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