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Adoption of SDGs in the UAE and Middle East

25 Jan

Sustainable Development Goals were introduced by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 and consist of 169 specific targets that member states have set out to achieve by 2030. These goals include social, economic, and environmental goals aimed at improving the quality of life across all these sectors in a holistic manner [1].

Within the Middle East, 13 countries have adopted the SDGs, including the United Arab Emirates. However, progress in the Middle East is highly varied, largely due to the diversity and political instability within the region, and climate issues such as water scarcity and continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Within the UAE, some goals of primary focus that are seeing progress include: Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Good Health and Wellbeing and Affordable and Clean Energy.  

As the Middle East is the most water-scarce region in the world, the goals which have received the most attention fit the context of the region, whereby they place extra emphasis on water security. Given that the region is also known for its abundance of fossil fuels, oil and gas in particular; it also translates to a lot of countries showing moderate improvements in achieving the target of affordable and clean energy.

When looking at the possibility of attaining the SDGs by 2030, data gathered prior to the pandemic showed the region to be performing poorly [1]. The region has taken efforts to achieve the SDGs, with many Arab nations taking steps to incorporate sustainable development within their national plans. Some examples from within the UAE include:

  • Abu Dhabi built the world’s largest single site solar power plant, “Noor,” with 3.2 million solar panels and produces 1.2GW of power and reduces 1 million metric tons of carbon footprint reduction per year [2].
  • Investing in a sustainable sewage disposal and treatment system across the country by upgrading and extending sewer systems [3].
  • Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCaE) within the UAE has been conducting several public awareness campaigns to encourage more sustainable production and consumption patterns across the country [3].
  • To uphold policies for rationalisation of water use, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCaE) introduced the “National Strategy for Preserving Water Resources”[3].

It’s important to note that the SDGs are ambitious targets that have been set for all member states within the UN, and like most regions in the world, the Middle East is making progress, but there are challenges that need to be overcome to achieve them.


Sustainable Development Goal 13 – Climate Action, which covers the need to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts,” is a goal that we aim to help achieve through our sustainability services and training courses. The sustainability services we offer include:

Veracity EMS is our environmental management software, that can be configured to incorporate all environmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that need to be monitored, including air quality, water (Sewage, Tailings, Underground, Surface, Discharge) quality, noise levels, dust levels, energy usage, waste generated, etc.

The Sustainability in Industry training course is a 2-day training course, that will next be offered on 26-27 April 2023, with an early bird registration discount. It consists of 8 modules that cover the theoretical and practical aspects of sustainability. The modules provided include:

  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • The World’s Energy Transition
  • Frameworks and Standards
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Environmental Management
  • Optimising Energy Processes
  • Methane Emissions Detection and Reduction
  • Operationalising Sustainability

The fight against climate change is one that requires a collective effort, and we hope to use our services to help achieve this goal.

To book a slot in our Sustainability in Industry training course on 26-27 April, please click here.

To learn more about Veracity EMS, please click here.

To learn more about our other sustainability services, please click here.


[1] https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/challenges-facing-sustainable-development-goals-in-arab-states/

[2] https://www.ewec.ae/en/power-plants/noor-abu-dhabi

[3] https://u.ae/en/about-the-uae/leaving-no-one-behind/12responsibleconsumptionandproduction

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