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United Nations panel ‘should heed Arab concerns’
July 17, 2014, 11:16 am

Kuwait has urged a United Nations panel on Sustainable Development to heed the concerns of the Arab Group and include several Arab targets in its final working document. The end of occupation figures high among the concerns and it is seen as key in efforts to achieve sustainable development for all, the Group said.

Addressing the 13th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Hassan Shaker Abu Al Hassan, Second Secretary at the Kuwait Mission to the UN, said the Arab Group “cannot accept a selective approach with regard to the relationship between development, peace and security”. He added the Arab Group wishes to include the immediate end to all forms of colonial domination and foreign occupation in order to achieve sustainable development for all in the final document, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported on Wednesday.

Other targets highlighted by the Arab Group are strengthening adherence to international law by all stakeholders, including states, international organisations and financial institutions, to achieve an order based on the rule of international law and intensifying international cooperation in the field of countering terrorism, in particular addressing its root causes as an obstacle to achieve sustainable development.

“The Arab Group expects that these suggested targets will be duly reflected in the [final] working document,” Abu Al Hassan said. He added that despite lack of consensus, Goal 16 — achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all, and effective and capable institutions — remains in the working document. He said he would like the Arab targets to be included under that goal.

He recalled that the Arab Group had acknowledged in the past the “intrinsic link between development, peace and security”, and reiterated that a detailed discussion of the issue “should take place in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda, not the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) due to the lack of mandate from Rio+20 Conference”.

The Kuwaiti diplomat added that the Arab Group reaffirmed that” any discussion on peace and security should take into consideration and address Arab concerns in this regard, in particular those related to ending foreign occupation and fighting terrorism”, Kuna reported. He said the Arab Group reiterated its commitment — expressed in several high-level meetings, including the 2010 plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - “to take further effective measures and actions” to remove the obstacles to the full realisation of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation.

The Group argued that the occupation continued to adversely affect people’s economic and social development as well as their environment. Such conditions are incompatible with the dignity and worth of humans and must be combated and eliminated, he said.

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