"Not that late" on SDGs: Commission chief on Arab states

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ESCWA Executive Director, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, speaks to May Yaacoub in the UN Radio studio. UN Photo

Arab states are late in beginning the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due largely to conflict and instability, but "not that late".

That's the cautiously optimistic view of Mohamed Ali Alhakim, the newly-appointed Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), which includes 18 Arab states.

He's the first Iraqi to become an Executive Secretary in the UN system, and he's a former Iraqi Ambassador to the UN in both New York and Geneva.

He said he was hopeful that by 2020, Arab states overall will have caught up with other regions, but they would "need to race" to meet the ambitious goals on ending poverty, and hunger – just two of the 17 ambitious targets.

May Yaacoub asked Mr Alhakim – who is at UN Headquarters for the High Level Political Forum on SDG implementation – what the state of progress was now.

Duration: 5'12"

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