The Sustainable Development Goals in Bahrain
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. With 21 United Nations Entities represented in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the work of the United Nations encompasses all 17 SDGs.
14 April 2022
2021 Country Results Report
In 2021, the United Nations in Bahrain continued to work in a challenging environment brought upon the country, the region, and the whole world by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The pandemic continued to test our resilience and resolve, which, nevertheless, proved to be sound in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Although some of our activities had to be postponed and others had to be redesigned, we managed to move forward with the implementation of most of our projects and initiatives and develop new ones for the future, achieving significant results in the process", said Mohamed El Zarkani, Resident Coordinator in Bahrain a.i. The year was also especially important for the United Nations in Bahrain because it marked the signing of the Strategic and Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-2022 with the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The document – the first of its kind in the Gulf region – is the single most important instrument for planning and implementation of the United Nations development activities at the country level. In 2022, the United Nations in Bahrain will build on previous success by continuing with the implementation of the Cooperation Framework in close partnership with the Government of Bahrain, placing a strong emphasis on leaving no one behind in the development process. Visit our 2021 Country Results Report dedicated website.
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27 April 2022
Secretary-General appoints Mr Khaled El Mekwad of Egypt as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain
Manama, 27 April 2022 - On April 16, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Khaled El Mekwad of Egypt as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain, with the approval of the host government. Mr Khaled El Mekwad has dedicated over 30 years to public service. Prior to this appointment, he served as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Regional Representative for Southern Africa, covering ten SADC countries. As UNIDO Representative, he was also assigned to Sudan with coverage of Djibouti and Yemen, and Lebanon with coverage of Jordan and Syria. During his 14 years in the UN system, he worked on industrial and socio-economic development, environment, poverty reduction, human rights, and post-war recovery in the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining the United Nations, he had a 19-year diplomatic career. He served as Alternate Representative at the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations in Vienna, Deputy Head of Mission at the Egyptian Embassy in Dakar, and Political Officer at the Egyptian Mission to the European Union in Brussels. During this period, he was involved in bilateral and multilateral affairs, international and regional organizations, and economic and social development in Africa and the Arab regions, with emphasis on South-South and triangular cooperation. In addition, he was a member of the national team in charge of negotiating the Euro-Med Partnership Agreement between Egypt and the European Union, where he was responsible for the chapters on Economic Development and Human Rights. Mr Khaled El Mekwad holds two post-graduate degrees in international relations from the École Nationale d'Administration in Paris and the Institute of Diplomatic Studies at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Cairo University. He is fluent in Arabic, English, and French.
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22 June 2022
King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to achieve the SDGs: A window of hope for dynamic entrepreneurs in Africa
Esther Ajari, a 23-year-old woman from Nigeria in her last year of medical studies, sees herself as an unconventional medical researcher who believes life should not revolve only around medical degrees. "I grew up as the 10th child of a polygamous family of 16 in Oghara, a small community in Delta State in the south-south of the country", she said. "My parents could not afford to buy me menstrual sanitary products. I often had to wear old cloths", she confided. Menstruation can have an effect on adolescent girls dropping out of school. According to UNICEF, 23 per cent of schoolgirls in Nigeria had missed school in the past 12 months because of their period. Today, Esther is invested in combating poverty worldwide and changing the narrative about health, gender equality, and education in Africa. At The TriHealthon, an NGO she founded in 2018, Ajari has overseen, among other projects, a programme that has trained more than 2,500 Nigerian girls and young women to make their own reusable biodegradable menstrual sanitary pads. According to UNFPA, difficulty affording menstrual products can cause girls to stay home from school and work, with lasting consequences on their education and economic opportunities. It can also exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, pushing women and girls closer toward dangerous coping mechanisms. The TriHealthon has also empowered about 2000 nursing mothers and pregnant women in Nigeria on good child feeding and nursing practices, including breastfeeding techniques. In December 2020, Esther Ajari received the King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (KHA). Launched at the Youth Forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2017, the prize is jointly implemented in collaboration between Bahrain's Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme. The award recognizes young people’s endeavour to be effective and productive citizens, contributing to the welfare of their communities and environment, as well as institutions that improve the enabling environment and infrastructure for youth to make an impact. As of the 2018 Award Cycle, the King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment to achieve the SDGs (KHA) includes two main categories; one for youth action, granting 5 Awards, and a second for youth enablers granting 3 Awards. The award has been on the rise ever since, with the number of countries participating increasing from 87 in the 1st edition to 125 in the 3rd edition, while the number of applicants increased from 663 to 4,064. "Winning the award has enabled us to double our impact figures and establish more partnerships. The award has increased national and global recognition of what we have to offer", she said. Sustainable cooking stoves Okey Esse is a self-taught serial social entrepreneur from Nigeria. "I build unrefined ideas from strategies to sustainability", he said. "I inherited and developed a social entrepreneurship spirit from my mother, who also was a successful entrepreneur." In 2018, Okey founded Powerstove Energy, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes affordable, clean cooking stoves that self-generate electricity. "So many families in Africa still rely on charcoal, firewood and kerosene for their daily cooking needs, but with increasing prices because of urbanization and deforestation, they struggle to afford these cooking means." "We like to think that our products improve the users' livelihoods by combating poverty and indoor air pollution as well as gender-based violence." Okey also supports NGOs that focus on nutrition and food security, gender equality, HIV/AIDS advocacy, and accessible primary healthcare services. "The award helped increase our brand and, most importantly, helped us to acquire a brand-new factory with 25,000 units' monthly capacity. This funding opportunity by King Hamad Award has also opened more doors of funding from internationally recognized NGOs and governments, further deepening our product acceptability in target communities." Dreaming of a sustainable, green Africa Franc Kamugyisha, 27 years, is a multi-passionate social entrepreneur from Uganda. He is the founder & CEO of a climate-tech materials company in Uganda that provides a solution to waste management and affordable housing through incentive-based plastic recycling. "I dream of a sustainable, green Africa, freed from poverty, unemployment and indecent housing", he said. The idea of the company was inspired by Franc's personal experience living in a slum community in Kampala when he first arrived in the city in search of a job. There he witnessed dire consequences of poor waste disposal with post-consumer waste plastic littering everywhere on streets, clogging sewers, and even encroaching on poorly built houses during heavy rains. "With neighbours, I would wait late in the night or very early in the morning to go and dump waste in the nearby drainage channels in the neighbourhood to avoid high costs paid to private companies", he said. According to UN-Habitat, nearly 1 billion people – one in four urban dwellers – live in urban slums and informal settlements. Municipalities in low-income countries spend about 20 per cent of their budgets on waste management on average, yet over 90 per cent of waste in those countries is still openly dumped or burned. Cost-effective means of adapting landfill sites to reduce emissions and improve safety are increasingly applied in Africa. “The King Hamad Award funding has enabled new partnerships, including a micro-financing scheme for 510 waste collectors which has increased plastic waste collected from seven to 30 metric tons per month”, Franc said. “Thanks to the growth fueled by the award, we have increased long-term, stable employment instead of casual wage positions for informal waste pickers, and increased access to healthcare insurance.”
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19 September 2022
Op-Ed: Transforming Education Summit – the global moment of truth
As parents, teachers and students got ready for a return to school this autumn, few were thinking of the fact that across the world, education is in deep crisis. This is a slow and often unseen crisis, but its impacts affect us all. At the upcoming UN Summit on Transforming Education, world leaders have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take decisive action. The United Nations and the European Union now call on all member states to deliver much-needed commitments to ensure that all girls and boys can access, enjoy and benefit from a meaningful, modern, high-quality education. Their rights and our collective futures depend on it. Education is the most powerful and transformative tool we have to empower girls and boys with hope, skills and opportunity for their future. It also paves the way for solving many of today’s global challenges. However, in many parts, poverty and inequality still have a major influence over school attendance and learning achievement. And right across the world, education systems are struggling to equip learners with the values, skills and knowledge needed to thrive in our rapidly changing world. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing crisis and the global funding gap for education has increased significantly. Even before the pandemic, governments were spending less than half of the needed sum on education. Since then, two in three governments have cut their education budgets while some international donors have announced their intention to reduce aid to education. Collective action on future-oriented learning and education financing is urgent, if we want to recover pandemic-related learning losses and ensure that children and young people everywhere are able to access their right to education as enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Investing in education has a transformative impact across the Sustainable Development Goals. It advances gender equality: educated girls are more likely to participate in the decisions that most affect them, to live longer, healthier lives, and to earn higher incomes. It makes a major contribution to national development: every euro spent on education can generate 10–15 euros in economic growth. And by nurturing informed, empowered citizens, it can help countries to tackle major challenges such as climate change, social breakdown, conflict, gender-based violence and more. The European Union is significantly increasing its investment in education in partner countries. The EU will dedicate more than 10% of its international partnerships budget, representing over 6 billion euros, towards global education. Now we need others to do likewise. The UN Secretary-General is calling on all government leaders and all actors, including private sector and civil society, as part of a global mobilisation, to make concrete commitments to increase funding for education, from all sources. At the Transforming Education Summit, the representatives of all countries and partners face a moment of truth: now is the time to collectively fill the investment gap to tackle the global education crisis. Now is the time to invest in learning recovering and help put the SDGs back on track, thereby sowing the seeds for transformation of our education systems, so that education better prepares learners to contribute to a more inclusive, peaceful, sustainable and just future, leaving no one behind.
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22 March 2021
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