Oman on track to meet U.N. development goals
July 20, 2019 | 8:40 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Oman’s delegation to a high-level United Nations summit, led by Dr Ali Al Sunaidi, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, discussed achievements and goals with regard to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

In his statement which was recorded in Oman's first Voluntary National Review which was submitted to the UN, Al Sunaidi said: "In pursuit of the SDGs, the Sultanate has relied upon broad community participation at national and local levels. Panel discussions, workshops, and dialogue sessions have been held with various development partners representing the government, the private sector, civil society, youth, parliamentary and academic entities, and international organizations,

with a view to ensuring community ownership of the development agenda."

This plan of engaging with communities and local leaders is part of the Supreme Council for Planning's 'All of Oman' initiative.

"All of Oman is one of the most prominent initiatives adopted by the Sultanate that aims to heed the priorities and future aspirations of local communities," Al Sunaidi added.

The SDGs are a series of objectives that aim to provide fair and equal living standards, employment opportunities, and affordable healthcare, as well as safeguard the environment and maintain a peaceful society for future generations.

Al Sunaidi has met a number of investment officials from leading organisations such as the World Bank, as well as bodies such as the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce, which looks to encourage American investment in Arab countries, and the Business Council for International Understanding, which creates stronger ties between business and government leaders.

Meanwhile, HH Sayyida Muna Al Said, who is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation at Sultan Qaboos University, met with UN officials to look for ways to curb violence against children at school and at home, as part of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which includes UNICEF, United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

According to a spokesman from the Supreme Council for Planning, whose members are spearheading Oman’s drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, “HE Al Sunaidi held a meeting with the businessmen representing the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce.

"There was also a “review of ways in which to enhance economic cooperation during the meeting between Al Sunaidi and Dag-Inge Ulstein, the Norwegian Minister of International Development,” added the council spokesman.

“He also held a meeting with Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Vice President of the World Bank for the 2030 Development Agenda.”

During her time in New York, Sayyida Muna Al Said attended the Safe to Learn event, which is taking place on the sidelines of the political forum. She met with Najat Mualla Majid, the special representative of the UN Secretary General on violence against children, and represented Oman at the ‘Safe Environment for Education’ seminar, hosted by UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, who praised the role of the Sultanate in combating abuse, exploitation and violence against children.

“Among the most prominent achievements that have been presented in terms of the legislation through the promulgation of the 2014 Child Law are the establishment of child protection committees in all the governorates and the establishment of the line of protection and shelter for children,” said Sayyida Muna Al Said, sharing Oman’s achievements towards protecting children during her speech at the UN. “We are very proud of the progress made by the Sultanate in the field of child protection, and we are working hard to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“We are here to join other countries to show our commitment to the Safe to Learn Campaign and the Sustainable Development Goals,” added Al Said, who is also the head of Oman’s Children First Association, a licensed organisaton that deals with the welfare of children. “Violence in schools and corporal punishment are important issues the government is tackling now with leadership from the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.”

Back in the Sultanate, a study is being funded in part by the Al Jisr Foundation, a volunteer and welfare organisation that is studying the 17 UN SDGs from an Islamic perspective, ensuring that they are in keeping with the Sultanate’s traditions, cultures and values.

The project is being launched by the Islamic Reporting Initiative, which looks to analyse each of these SDGs in collaboration with the best scholars and theologians from around the world. Among them is Dr Kahlan Al Kharousi, the Assistant Grand Mufti of Oman.

A statement from Al Jisr Foundation said: “The research project drew on the best scholars and theologians from around the world to link each of the 17 SDGs with relevant scriptures from the Quran. Among the scholars, Dr Kahlan Al Kharusi, the Assistant Grand Mufti of Oman, was invited to partake in the project where his input was valuable in the project’s initial stages.

“Islamic principles serve to imbue individuals and organisations with a responsibility to care for society and the environment,” added the statement. “As such, it is widely recognised that organisations operating according to Islamic principles tend to embrace an organisational culture that is premised on notions of trust, morality, and accountability.”

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