Strategic challenges impacting


In the face of environmental pollution and climate change due to diverse human activities that degrade the environment, engaging in and enabling sustainable development is among the major goals for all nations globally. (2019) highlights seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), number 7, of which includes development of affordable and clean energy supply. Saudi Arabia as a country is significantly tied to this goal given the backdrop of oil mining which has been quite detrimental to the environment as well as the economic and political spaces of the country (, 2018). While different countries face different problems and challenges in the effort to implement strategic development, a significant number has been successful while others have yet to succeed in dealing with some of the strategic challenges faced. This study involves an analysis of the major strategic challenges faced by Saudi Arabian Ministers in the process of implementing the necessary SDGs as well as the measures taken by the ministers to effectively mitigate these challenges. The management measures and mitigation procedures of the Saudi Ministers will then be appraised against those of Australian ministers.

Background of the Study

Saudi Arabia despite being immersed in political and economic conflict on account of oil mining in the country since the end of World War II has in the last two decades turned round to develop and maintain a steadily growing economy. According to World Bank (2019) Saudi Arabia has developed a steady economic growth rate with the country’s GDP going from 190 billion USD in 1998 to more than 780 billon USD in 2018. UN.Org (2018) points out that in achieving increased growth, political and economic development the country has been able to significantly achieve its national sustainability goals and is now focused on extending its impact to the UNs SDGs. According to UN.Org (2018) Saudi Arabia’s Voluntary National Review to the 2018 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development includes the country’s first involvement in the UNs SDGs aligning them with the countries vision 2030 for sustainable development. As a result of this the country has already taken up strategies and activities aligned with sustainable development on the national level including the government sector, the private sector, and non-government organizations to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The countries sustainability goals are aimed towards all the 17 goals and objectives of sustainable development according to the United Nations including: eradicating poverty, fighting inequality and protecting natural resources. Some of the major actions already taken include sustainable development within the country, protection of natural resources within the country and international assistance. Unicef.Org (2018) points out that Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the international development agenda is reflected not only in the actions it has undertaken domestically, but also the contributions it has generously provided to the development efforts of low-income countries through humanitarian and development assistance. However significant challenges have also been experienced from these strategies as highlighted by (Al Rasheed, 2017) including: Saudization strategy, food security and dwindling water supplies, privatization of the government sector as well as Citizen Account program. This study aims to evaluate the steps taken by Saudi Ministers in being able to mitigate these challenges comparing them to the different steps taken by Australian ministers in solving and mitigating similar challenges within their strategic objectives for sustainable development. .

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Research Problem

Australia has over the years perfected its governance systems and policy impacting significant safety and elevated standards of living for its citizens. According to Gov.AU (2019) the country has a vision 2030 Agenda for sustainable development involving both domestic and international Agenda. Over the past years the Australian government through the ministry of foreign affairs and trade as well as the department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), have effectively overseen implementation of sustainability development goals. According to Australia’s Voluntary National review of 2018 cited by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and trade (DFAT, 2018), the country has made significant head way in handling sustainability problems and challenges in multiple fields. Aspects such as responsible production, climate action as well as environmental conservation and protection have seen significant improvements on account of Australian ministers. Despite its involvement in sustainable development however, Saudi Arabia still faces challenges and problems that are from within the country including culture and saudization of systems all of which are posed to significantly impact the sustainability development process. Given that the ministers are part of the system, and more likely to be susceptible and supportive of the systems, the realization of the SDGs may be significantly compromised. To be able to determine the effectiveness of the Saudi Arabian ministers’ mitigation and management techniques, their management and challenge mitigation strategies will be comparatively analyzed with those of Australian ministers. .

Research Aims and Objectives

The study aims to comparatively evaluate the different strategies taken up by Saudi Arabian and Australian ministers in the mitigation and management of challenges related to sustainable development goals (SDGs) taken up by the respective countries in a bid to recommend better ways of managing the challenges.

Research Objectives

  • To critically review theories, concept, findings, and assertion made by existing literature on sustainability, sustainable developments, and sustainable goals implementation
  • To conduct a comparative review of status of SDG in the Saudi Arabia and Australia
  • To investigate major challenges faced in implementation of sustainable goals by Saudi Arabia Ministries
  • To investigate the management procedures applied by Saudi Arabian ministries towards implementation of SDGs
  • To investigate comparative analysis of sustainable goals mitigation strategies formulated by Australian and Saudi Arabia ministers

Research Questions

  • What are the major challenges faced by Saudi Arabia in the process of implementation of sustainability development goals?
  • What are the similarities and differences in implementation process of the sustainable development goals in the Australia and Saudi Arabia?
  • Why is implementation of sustainable goals in the Saudi Arabia not attained at the same level of success compared to Australia’s
  • What are some of the major differences between the strategies toward attainment of sustainable goals taken by the Saudi Arabian and the Australian ministrie

Literature Review

Sustainability Development Goals

UN.Org (2018) describes some of the SDGs-related activities that Saudi Arabia are currently implementing and that are designed to proceed hand-in-hand with the implementation of Vision 2030 which has already gathered significant momentum. Some of the major priority areas include: continuing the process of alignment of state programs and strategies with global development goals as well as targets and indicators, improving the quality and coverage of SDG indicators and analysis of data, developing strategies for strengthening collaboration among different actors, enhancing the monitoring and evaluation infrastructure for tracking progress towards the achievement of SDGs at the national and sub-national level as well as strengthening the role of SDGs at the sub-national level and promoting international partnerships around the SDGs through development assistance, especially at the regional level. Susilawati and Al Surf (2011) and Al Rasheed (2018) however point to a significant development of challenges in the process of implementation some of which are developed due to the country’s social and cultural set up. Al Rasheed (2018) highlights among the challenges being faced currently with regards to sustainable development to include: Saudization strategy, food security and dwindling water supplies, privatization of the government sector as well as Citizen Account program. Achieving sustainable development as such require effective management of these challenges and ensuring they do not significantly impact the development process. Through a secondary study of available information with regards to journals, newspaper articles as well as media briefings, UN sessions and Saudi Arabian government communications, a wide range of the different steps taken by Ministers to mitigate these challenges in Saudi Arabia can be highlighted and compared for effective action.

Methodology Research Approach

A research approach refers to a procedural plan that consists of the broad assumptions which are necessary in concluding the course of the research (Lewis, 2015). The studies will employ a qualitative research technique with an inductive approach. According to Silverman (2016) the inductive approach does not involve development of the hypotheses rather; the approach starts from the aims, research questions and objectives as the genesis of the research process. This is particularly effective for the study given the use of study objectives and a secondary data collection technique.

Research design largely denotes the strategy chosen for integrating significant components behind a study in a logical and coherent way. This ensures that that the research takes note of the research problem while forging a blueprint meant for collection, measurement as well as analysis of data. The study will employ the use of Action research design. The action research design follows a cycle where the exploratory stance is effectively adopted. This brings in the essence of understanding the problem before producing an interventional strategy. The action research design fosters pragmatic as well as solution-driven research, which is better than simply testing various theories.

This is an essential part of the research that adopts key tools to be used in collecting data. Given the nature of the study being a qualitative study, qualitative tools would be more convenient for collecting data. Some of the tools include interviews, questionnaires and surveys, case studies and document records, observations, focus groups, ethnographies, and oral history. In this research however systematic review of available literature regarding the various challenges experienced by Saudi Arabia in the implementation of sustainability development as well as the steps taken by the ministers to mitigate these challenges will be effectively reviewed for secondary data and information.

In articles identification, keywords were keyed into the following databases namely EBSCO, Google Scholars, Proquest, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Sage Journals, JSTOR and Emerald. Newspaper articles, Journal, Press and government statements as well as UN progress and development session papers were also included in the secondary sources evaluated. Fundamentally, the search was conducted based on research objectives and following core variables. Key words included SDGs, Saudi Arabia, Challenges and ministers were used in the location and identification of the sources

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

While research method and data collection method form the critical components of the research process, the sampling procedure is equally important. This means that a criterion was set up to establish the articles to be selected from a possible vast number returned from databases search. There are many sampling procedures that the research is likely to encounter (Gorny and Napierała 2016).

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Data Analysis

Data analysis is regarded as a process meant for inspecting, cleansing, transforming as well as modeling data with the central purpose of discovering significant details, support key decisions and inform on the conclusions. While figures would be noted in some of the cases studies sampled for this research, the presumption is that the data collected will be qualitative, and therefore call for the qualitative data analysis techniques (Braun and Clarke, 2006), The research took advantage of the content analysis, which is known for being the research technique meant for replicating, making valid inferences, and interpretation of the textual materials. It includes evaluating the data and information captured by selected articles and documents focusing on texts, graphics, and even oral communication from each then working towards making sense of such data (Blaikie, 2010)

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Al Rasheed T. F. (2018). Saudi Arabias Strategic Transformation towards Sustainable development, [online] Available at (Accessed June 18, 2020) Blaikie, N. (2010) Designing Social Research (2ndedn).Cambridge: Polity DFAT (2018). Voluntary National Review 2018. [online] Available a

Lewis, S., 2015. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Health promotion practice. 16(4). pp.473-475.

SaudiArabia.Org (2018). Sustainable development goals. [online]. saudeiarabia,org. Available at (Accessed June 18, 2020)

Susilawati C. and Al Surf M. (2011). Challenges facing sustainable housing in Saudi Arabia: A current study showing the level of public awareness. In the 17th pacific rim real estate society conference.Bond University, Gold coast.

UN.Org (2018). Saudi Arabia. [online]. Available at (Accessed June 18, 2020)

World Bank (2019). GDP Growth (annual %)- Saudi Arabia. [online] . Available at

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