The President of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Dr. Bandar Hajjar has welcomed the strengthening of partnership with the United Nations (UN) towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Hajjar made the remark when he received the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, at the IsDB Headquarters in Jeddah.

Dr. Hajjar told the UN Deputy Chief that IsDB is investing a lot towards the implementation of the SDGs through various infrastructure projects; and he called on the UN to specifically focus on building smart villages as a strategy for controlling rural-urban migration. Dr. Hajjar added that by focusing on building smart villages, the targets of SDG11 on smart cities can be achieved.

“The Islamic Development Bank is moving from aid to empowerment to support our member countries to improve their competitiveness and increase economic growth. We are doing a lot on the SDGs, that is why we established Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem to implement the SDGs with $500 million Transform Fund,” Dr. Hajjar said.

Dr. Hajjar added that IsDB member countries are facing huge challenges, with 10 million people entering the workforce every year even as several member countries export raw materials. He said IsDB will be happy to work with the UN to exchange ideas on how to confront the development challenges through implementation of the SDGs in member countries.

During the visit to the IsDB President, Ms. Mohammed stated: “The recent capital increase of the Bank is a testimony to the trust in your leadership. We need more support from the MDBs. Technology is moving very fast and it will determine how cities work. The 2030 agenda is a good framework for engagement. IsDB goes to places where others don’t go easily, we need your participation in the next event on Financing for Development at the UN.”

During the visit, Ms. Mohammed held an interactive discussion with IsDB staff where she urged for the support of development practitioners to ensure that the SDGs remain on track.