ORIENT I 2020: The Sustainable Development Goals and the Near and Middle East

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Dear ORIENT readers,

2019 has been an eventful year for the countries of the Near and Middle East. On the one hand the region continues to face crises, wars and authoritarian rule. On the other hand, protests (although unfortunately at times they have turned violent) and elections have in some countries showcased that populations are no longer willing to accept bad governance and demand revamped relations between the state and its citizens.

The Near and Middle East is a region that has often been a focus of global efforts to achieve sustainable development. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals encompass a wide array of different topics and approaches, some of which we seek to highlight in this issue.

In this issue of ORIENT we aim to take a look at challenges that include the creation of sufficient opportunity for the young populations are equally stressed as are the difficulties in tackling the water-energy-food nexus that has become a Gordian knot for many countries.

Firstly, Iyad Dhaoui analyses how unemployment among youth challenges many countries in the region before Manfred A. Lange then delves into the water-energy nexus across the MENA region. Tobias Zumbrägel sheds light onto the politics behind sustainability policies in the Arab Gulf monarchies and Katharina Nicolai compares environmental policies. Larbi Sadiki and Layla Saleh take a deep dive into the case study of Tunisia and the differences in its regional development. Capping the issue off, Lea Zgheib, Nay Karam and Nadim Farajalla takes us back to water management in their analysis.

I hope that the current issue provides you with valuable perspectives on topics relating to the Sustainable Development Goals in the Near and Middle East.

I wish all readers a happy and peaceful new year!

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute



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