This working paper provides a snapshot of the challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region, in the context of ongoing conflict and uncertainty. The Doha Declaration on the Implementation of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda requested that ESCWA continue undertaking comprehensive assessments of the impact of conflict on development.
The paper espouses the quantifiable short- and long-term toll that conflict is having on the region, and highlights a number of issues requiring most pressing attention. Key trends and findings in this paper include the severe effects of conflict across the region, namely 29 million people forcibly displaced from their homes by 2016, and over 50 million people requiring humanitarian assistance. Further impacts include hindered provision of utilities and social services, stunted economic growth and development, large effects on human development, degradation of institutions, and so forth.
The paper highlights the inter-connectivity of these elements of conflict in the region, and the cyclical nature in which impacts of current conflicts could sow the seeds of future crisis. It particularly notes the threat posed by conflict through all of these channels to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and that without instilling a peaceful environment with stable institutions as per SDG 16, regional progress towards the entirety of Agenda 2030 is at risk. Indeed, the paper makes clear that a regional approach with institutionalized cooperation and coordination across countries is necessary to mitigate the negative trends across the region and prevent future crises.