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[Viewpoint] Who’s been left behind? Why sustainable development goals fail the Arab world

A set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September, 2015. The Arab world, alongside other regions, has problems of poverty, poor health, and substantial environmental degradation—ie, the kind of problems that the SDGs aim to address.1–5 Evidence of persistent infectious disease in low-income and middle-income Arab countries exists, alongside increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases in all Arab countries,6,7 high out-of-pocket health expenditure,8 poor access to safe water, as well as violent conflict, persistent foreign interventions, and high levels of social and political fragmentation that result in weak health systems and diminished rights to health.