New York, July 17 (BNA): Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Chairman of the National Information Committee, Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Mutawa, said the Kingdom of Bahrain has accomplished multiple achievements in the fields of sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Cabinet Affairs Minister stated that as he reviewed Bahrain’s first national voluntary report to implement the goals of sustainable development 2030 in the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development being held in New York under of the patronage of the UN Economic and Social Council. The minister said Bahrain’s first national voluntary report reviews the comprehensive development process patronized by HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, HRH Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister. He said Bahrain’s commitment to implement the SDGs was reflected in its participation in formulating the same goals at the local, regional and international levels, hosting the second session of the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development in May 2015, in addition to hosting the sixth meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs).
He added Bahrain has initiated the SDGs implementation phase by establishing the National Information Committee to follow up the implementation of the SDGs in the Government Action Programme and to prepare related reports before providing them to the National Statistics Office for monitoring and reporting the indicators and exchanging information with development related parties. He said the implementation of the SDGs has been achieved through the Government Action Programme in collaboration with the private sector, NGOs and academic authorities.
He said the National Information Committee, during the preparation of the report, was keen to organize workshops for all parties interested in the sustainable development issues in support of the principle of participation in setting priorities to achieve the development. He explained Bahrain’s government has prioritized the creation of a civilized environment in which sustainable decent living conditions provided for Bahrain citizens, in addition to education and health services and building a strong economy to generate thousands of work opportunities annually.
He said Bahrain enjoys a leading rank in the field of economic and social development as it has made key steps in a number of SDGs fields, including poverty, hunger, health, education. Adding with regard to delivering adequate housing for low income citizens, the government has provided housing units for approximately 65% of the citizens in a strategic collaboration partnerships with the private sector in conformity with the international standards and the concept of sustainable development. In respect of gender equality and women empowerment, he said Bahrain has a rich experience for Bahraini women have played a significant role in the municipal council since it was first established in beginning of the 1920s. He pointed out the establishment of the Supreme Council for Women, led by wife of HM the King HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, to ensure equality, justice and equal opportunities in government and private sectors.
With respect to the provision of a decent work, he added Bahrain has adopted an active policy to provide qualitative work opportunities of high wages, regulating the labour market to ensure expat labour rights, pointing out Bahrain’s environment attractive to expat labour who represent 76% of the total workforce who transferred $2.5 billion to their families in 2017 to promote their countries economies. The minister said Bahrain’s GDP grew by 3.9% in 2017 compared to 3.2% in 2016, emphasizing the Government Action Programme (2015-2018) focuses on diversification of economy, supporting non-oil sectors, openness to foreign investment and promoting partnerships between government and private sectors. He stressed Bahrain’s keenness to foster the culture of dialogue, rule of law, constitutional institutions, holding elections, in addition to fighting corruption and preserving public money. It also seeks protecting human rights and maintaining the independence of judiciary, separation of powers, respect for rights and freedoms, freedom of opinion and expression, establishment and activities of NGOs and freedom of media.
He underlined Bahrain’s leading experience at the regional and international levels in combating trafficking in persons. The minister said although Bahrain has made progress in the implementation of the SDGs in a number of fields, but there still multiple challenges faced by Bahrain as a small and developing island, chiefly achieving a high economic growth rate while maintaining price stability; the optimal investment of production elements in light of limited natural resources; preventing the potential negative impacts on the environment; reducing budget deficit and addressing public debt; in addition to climate change and its negative impact on water and agricultural resources, infrastructure and health. He underscored security and stability as essential correlated factors necessary for Bahrain’s development process. He also stressed the importance of expanding global partnerships in financing areas to maintain its progress and well-being of its citizens and residents living on its land.
The minister reiterated Bahrain’s commitment to achieving the SDGs 2030, at the same time responding to the needs of present and future generations, emphasizing its aspiration to continue cooperation with the international community and UN organizations to achieve the objectives of sustainable development. In response to a question raised on the information contained in Bahrain’s first voluntary national report on human rights, the minister said such topics should not be politicized according to the orientations of politicians and suspicious agendas, Bahrain is working hard to solve the great challenges it has been facing. He affirmed Bahrain is determined to achieve a sustainable society with the participation of all its members.
In conclusion many global delegations congratulated Bahrain on the success it has made through the review of its national voluntary report that documents achievement stages of sustainable development. The Bahraini delegation presented a film documenting Bahrain’s development achievements in line with the SDGs in areas of housing, health, education and social welfare. The film also showed contribution and role of legislative branch, private sector, NGOs in the field of development seen by the Kingdom of Bahrain.