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UN Secretary-General, Member States praise the important role of the UN Regional Commissions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

With the adoption by Member States of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, the discussion has focused on the implementation at the national and regional levels. Experiences of the first year clearly demonstrated that regional cooperation and action at the regional level is critical for supporting effective implementation at the national level. The UN Regional Commissions are instrumental and play an increasingly important role in spearheading UN regional efforts to support their member countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including by building strategic partnerships, promoting integration, policy coherence, strengthened data and statistical capacities, and peer learning.

Opening a high-level side event on “Regionalism and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” on the margins of the General Debate of the 71st General Assembly, in New York on 23 September, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined: “World leaders recognized like never before the role of regional cooperation in implementing and assessing progress towards 2030 Agenda. … The UN Regional Commissions are central to our work. Every day, they promote regional cooperation and integration and extend their expertise for socio-economic development.”

The President of the Republic of Namibia, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, the foreign ministers of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Nepal; and the Executive Director of the Mexican Agency for International Development (AMEXCID) underlined the significant role regional cooperation and integration play in the development of national strategies and building institutional capacities. Further they highlighted concrete examples of the support by the Regional Commissions.

H. E. Mr. Hage Geingob, the President of Namibia informed the participants that the African Union benefited from the presence of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) through efforts to ensure regional harmonization and policy coherence. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, commended the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) for cooperation so far and stressed a need for further joint actions to promote peace, security and development in the region. H. E. Mr. Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, provided examples on the cooperation with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on resilient infrastructure, transport and innovation. H. E. Mr. Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan reconfirmed the important role of the Regional Commissions, especially of the UNECE and ESCAP, in the implementation of regional initiatives in Europe and Central Asia, not the least of the Green Bridge Partnership Programme initiated by Kazakhstan. H.E. Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Foreign Minister of Nepal, noted that support from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) for the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals into Nepal’s development plan has supported internalization and ownership of the SDGs. Ms. Gina Casar, Executive Director of AMEXCID, underlined the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation for the region, noting that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) had provided critical support to the formation of regional fora for this exchange to take place to facilitate peer-learning, harness synergies, and promote innovation.

The Executive Secretaries of the Regional Commissions highlighted in their interventions the challenges facing the regions towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reiterated their commitment to assist Member States in the Agenda implementation, follow up and review.

For more information on the event, please see www.regionalcommissions.org

The recording of the event is available at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/search/regionalism-and-the-2030-agenda- for-sustainable-development/5138722821001?term=regionalism