The UAE ranked the first in the Middle East and North Africa on quality infrastructure to support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the national level, said a report by UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).
The Emirates ranked 11th globally on the index, ahead of Portugal, Singapore, Finland, Denmark and Belgium. The Quality Infrastructure for Sustainable Development Index report issued by Unido tracks 137 countries on measures against a list of 36 indicators.
The index is based on five main dimensions: metrology, accreditation, conformity assessment, policy and standards. It maps out indicators for each, then links them to three of the five pillars of the SDGs: prosperity, people and planet.
"The UAE has an advanced framework that supports quality infrastructure, which excels in the five main indicators of the index," Omar Al Suwaidi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, said.
"Unido's report reflects the UAE’s capabilities and efforts to create a supportive, efficient, innovative and safe legislative environment."
The UN's SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the environment and achieve equality, peace and prosperity.
The 17 SDGs, which include the goals of quality education and decent work and economic growth, are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UAE's ranking reflects the efforts of the country's government and is "representative of the government’s clear strategy for making the UAE one of the world’s most advanced countries", Hanan Ahli, director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, said.
The ranking is "a global recognition of MoIAT’s and its strategic partners’ efforts to achieve sustainable development and enhance the UAE’s position in global competitiveness reports”.
Globally, the UAE is ranked first in 152 competitive indicators and in the top 10 in 425 competitive indicators, Ms Ahli added.
This is out of the 1,502 indicators that are published by the UN and other international organisations, and reported by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.
The index shows the value of quality infrastructure as an enabler of sustainable development and the importance of investing in it, Gerd Muller, director general of Unido, said.
"The index aims to bridge an information gap by being the first tool to explicitly measure how fit-for-purpose, quality infrastructure is in meeting the SDGs," Mr Muller said.
The UAE's ranking "is a milestone in our efforts to enhance global competitiveness. It reflects the country’s advanced and integrated ecosystem for quality infrastructure, which contributes to its economic and industrial growth while underlining the quality of its frameworks, accreditations, and standards", Dawood Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said.
Abu Dhabi aims to build a knowledge-based economy by establishing a quality infrastructure system based on international standards, Hilal Al Kaabi, secretary general of the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, said.
"The council supports regulatory and government bodies in implementing quality standards and systems to ensure that products, employees, and processes comply with the relevant standards set by Abu Dhabi, with the aim of enhancing the level of safety and quality of products and raising the competitiveness of those products locally, regionally and globally," he said.
The number of development indicators in which the UAE achieved a top global ranking rose to 156 compared with 121 before the Covid-19 pandemic, government data showed. Meanwhile, the tally rose to 288 for top-five rankings for the Emirates from 189 for the same period.