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Regional Forum 2018

The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region will be held on Thursday,         1 March, and Friday, 2 March 2018, at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG).


The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD) follows up on and reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UNECE region. Focusing on practical value-added and peer learning, it creates a regional space to share policy solutions, best practices and challenges in SDG implementation and helps identify major regional and subregional trends. Read more 


For government representatives and other stakeholders wishing to participate in the Regional Forum, please register at your earliest convenience, preferably by 16 February 2018. Late registrations will be accepted after the deadline, subject to room capacities. Please register for the main meeting and the two round tables of your choice.



 Amb. Michael Gerber Marie Chatardová      Amina J. Mohammed   
Chair of the Regional Forum


President of the

Economic and Social Council


   UN's Deputy Secretary-General

 (video message)


       Olga Algayerova             

      Cihan Sultanoğlu 

                  Peter Messerli

           UNECE Executive Secretary

             Chair of the Regional UNDG Team
                      for Europe and Central Asia        
     Professor of Sustainable Development

Peer learning round tables

Round tables will facilitate peer learning and practical exchange of experiences and best practices for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Please find further information on each round table here. Informal concept notes and descriptions of each round table can be found in the tabs below.

  SDG 6 Sustainable Water

Making universal access to water and sanitation a reality in the UNECE region

  • How can countries assess existing gaps in the equity of access to water and sanitation?
  • Which social and economic measures are proving effective to address problems of equity in access to water and sanitation?
  • How can all relevant stakeholders and sectors, such as finance, education, housing and health, provide solutions to the challenge of universal access to water and sanitation?
Case studies

Ensuring participation of public in water and sanitation related matters in Romania

SerbiaSelf-Assessment of the Situation of Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation in Serbia
PortugalIntroducing social tariffs following an equitable access self-assessment in Portugal
European Environment and Health Youth CoalitionYouth  participation: voices from the schools of the pan-European region on access to water and sanitation



Sharing water: balancing competing needs in a context of declining resource

 Interpretation: English / French / Russian

  • How can water needs of different sectors and the environment be balanced, including in the face of increasing water scarcity?
  • What kind of intersectoral coordination and planning arrangements are proving effective?
  • How are countries dealing with conflicting water uses and trade-offs in transboundary basins?
  • How are countries and basins coping with growing water scarcity?
Case studies
SwitzerlandWater quality in Switzerland – connecting drops at different depths
FinlandOptimising water allocation for energy and hydrological extremes in transboundary context



  SDG 7 Sustainable Energy

Improving the efficiency of the energy system

Interpretation: English / French / Russian

  • What are countries doing to overcome barriers to improving energy efficiency?
  • What approaches have been effective in accelerating investments in energy efficiency?
  • What is being done to improve energy efficiency in industry?
  • What steps are countries taking to improve energy performance of buildings?
Case studies
UkraineUkraine: Improving Energy Efficiency – Launch of the State Program on Energy Efficiency
SerbiaEstablishment and operation of the Budgetary Fund for Energy Efficiency
The former Yugoslav Republic of MacedoniaRaising awareness for energy consumption trough a marketing campaign “Energy Mathematics”

Transforming energy in support of the 2030 Agenda

Interpretation: English / French / Russian

  • What policies and measures are policymakers developing/implementing to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy?
  • How can the need to reduce CO2 emissions in order to reach the objectives of the UNFCC Paris agreement be reconciled with the necessity to rely on fossil fuels as an important share of the energy mix in the short and medium term?
  • How are countries addressing potential social impacts of the transition to sustainable energy



 SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Financing the transition to sustainable cities and communities: challenges and opportunities

  • What policy tools and financial mechanisms can policymakers use to promote access to affordable decent housing and basic services? What are the challenges they face in financing effective policies?
  • What are the instruments they can use to reduce the environmental footprint of cities, improve air quality and manage waste, ensure sustainable transport and disaster risk management? How can they harness the power of ICT and other innovative technologies and processes?
  • Which governance structures for housing and urban finance showed to be successful? Who are the key stakeholders in urban and housing finance? How can the integrated and participatory urban planning promote effective use of existing financial resources and leverage new sources of finance?
Case studies
Belgium (region Flanders)Urban renewal projects Flanders
ItalyRenovating School Buildings
Glasgow City CouncilThe case for integrating the SGDs at international, national and local level with reference to the Government Strategy for Scotland and the development plan for the City of Glasgow
Council of Europe Development BankFostering competition in small housing markets - innovative housing programme in Montenegro
Czech RepublicRental housing finance for older persons


Promoting resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements

Interpretation: English / French / Russian

  • What approaches do governments take to promote resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements? What tools (normative frameworks, standards, etc.)  are available to support these efforts?
  • What are the gaps in the availability of reliable data to track and monitor progress and to deliver urban solutions? How can they be addressed?
  • What are the opportunities for more effective multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of SDG 11, the New Urban Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction?
Case studies
REC CaucasusThe KPIs for Smart Sustainable Cities and overcoming the data availability barrier in small cities

The Kyrgyz Republic

Resilient cities
Russian FederationSustainability of urbanized areas
Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Sustainable Cities – Promoting solutions for sustainable, liveable and smart cities
Potenza, Basilicata, Italy#weResilient: A local governance and accountability model for territorial and community resilience
SerbiaFrom response to resilience: Disaster Risk Management in Serbia



 SDG 12 Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

Successful approaches to delivering on Sustainable Consumption and Production by 2030

Interpretation: English / French / Russian

  • Are the prerequisites for SCP – the governance, institutional and policy approaches used in implementing SCP – in place? Are they effective? Who is taking the lead in SCP?
  • Are the enablers for SCP – technology, financing, investment, education and awareness-raising, etc. – in place? What are the approaches used? Are they effective in supporting SCP?
  • How are the private sector and civil society engaged to bring about behavioural change?
  • What are the bottlenecks and challenges? What is the way forward?
Case studies
SwitzerlandDelivering on sustainable consumption and production: Phosphorous recovery and reuse from wastewater streams and separated organic fractions
RomaniaMainstreaming sustainable consumption and production patterns into national policies to develop a Green Economy in Romania
SwedenSustainable consumption and production in the national policy landscape of Sweden
LatviaGreen Public Procurement
KazakhstanInternational Center for Green Technology and Investment



Towards a circular economy: innovation for sustainable value chains

  • How to move from a linear to a circular production pattern? What are the challenges and opportunities? What is the potential contribution of innovation and partnerships?
  • Which innovative practices can support information sharing among different stakeholders to ensure that consumers have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable lifestyle?
  • How can enhanced transparency and traceability of value chains and their environmental, social and health risks contribute to raising knowledge and awareness about sustainable production?
  • How can policymakers meet the target to halve per capita global food waste by 2030?
Case studies
The NetherlandsThe international Green Deal North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSRR)
Nordic Council of MinistersNordsyn – a project of the Nordic cooperation council for green and compliant products
Czech RepublicThe food waste management in the Czech Republic
MontenegroSustainable agriculture and rural development strategy based on quality centred production and consumption in Montenegro
SloveniaTransition to a Green Economy:  National Strategy and Process
Republic of MoldovaResponsible consumption and production in the Republic of Moldova – Organic Agriculture

 SDG 15 Sustainable management of forests and ecosystems

Sustainable Forest Management and the SDGs

Устойчивое управление лесами и экосистемами

Interpretation: English / French / Russian     //       Room: Room 3, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG) 

  • How can policymakers use Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) policies and tools to increase climate resilience and integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning?
  • How can SFM contribute to and influence energy policies to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix?
  • How can policymakers enhance SFM to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, reduce the degradation of natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity?
  • How can policymakers further promote SFM to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices? How can SFM support the bio-economy and improve progressively global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation? 
  • How can sustainable forest management make cities more resilient?
Case studies
The State Forests, PolandCarbon forests - a natural solution to enhance climate change mitigation efforts
The Republic of KazakhstanSustainable forest management for cities: The “green belt” of Astana city
European Network IntegrateINTEGRATE – A European-wide network to enhance nature conservation in sustainably managed forests 
IKEA of Sweden AB - Inter IKEA GroupIKEA Wood Direction – Having positive impact on people, society and planet.
Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, AustriaA journey through the value chain of wood: the case of Austria.
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, FinlandForest products and the bio-economy: the case of Finland

Biodiversity at the heart of sustainable development

  • Why are biodiversity and healthy ecosystems important for sustainable development? Are there recent case examples that demonstrate the linkages between biodiversity and healthy ecosystems in terms of providing revenues and jobs, water, agriculture tourism, and other benefits?
  • How can policymakers enhance the integration of ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and subnational planning and development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts?  Are there specific examples of successful measures already put in place which could be replicated or scaled up, including measures which target specific economic sectors?
  • What are the most important obstacles and challenges for implementing SDG 15?  What are some of the most important changes that are needed to address such challenges?   

Side events

1 March 2018, 13:15-14:30

Fashion and the SDGs: What role for the UN?

Organiser: UNECE

Venue: room 2 (plenary hall), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

Description: The fashion industry has a significant impact on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This side event gathers the UN offices that address issues related to sustainable fashion to brainstorm and discuss how the UN could reach a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated approach towards the development of a sustainable fashion industry in order to contribute efficiently to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Please find further information here.

Adolescents and Youth as partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Organiser: Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UN SDG Action Campaign, European Youth Forum, UNFPA EECA Regional Office, UN Youth Delegates of Sweden, Slovakia and Hungary

Venue: room 3, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

Description: This side-event will discuss and share best practices on how Member States can work together with adolescents and youth as partners on the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in specific in the process of drafting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), and in their delegations to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Achieving the SDGs by participation of all – in the light of SEA/EIA procedures

Organiser: Czech Republic

Title: Achieving the SDGs by participation of all – in the light of SEA/EIA procedures; Perspectives of the Czech Republic, Georgia, EU and UNECE.

Description: The event focus on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) as tools for preventing and mitigating damage to environment and health through inclusive and participatory decision-making and international collaboration. It builds on experience of the Czech Republic and Georgia and will concentrate on specific activities under the regional programme "Greening Economies in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood" (EaP GREEN) placed under the competence of the UNECE. It also links to participation as a lead theme of the current Czech presidency of ECOSOC.

Please find further information here.



Rural women, migration and agriculture

Organiser: FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the International Organization for Migration

Description: The side event aims to raise awareness on the links between agriculture, rural development, food security and migration in the region of Europe and Central Asia. The focus is on measures to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and income of rural women, small scale producers and family farmers, by discussing the key challenges of rural migration and its gendered impact on migrant workers and left-behind communities, including women and the elderly in the countries of the region. Practices will be identified to create better conditions and resilient livelihoods in rural areas, that allow women and men to stay and continue farming and engage in non-farming activities in rural areas rather than migrating.

SDG 6 in-depth review: UN-Water Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation

Organiser: UN-Water

Venue: room 15, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

Description: To provide input to Member States preparing the in-depth review of SDG 6 for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, UN-Water will release a report on the global status on water and sanitation. This side event presents the early signals emerging from the writing process and discusses ways to accelerate achieving SDG 6 within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda. Kindly find further information in the programme and here.


2 March 2018, 8:30-9:45

Gender Equality as an Accelerator for SDGs Implementation

Organiser: United Nations Issue-Based Coalition on Gender Equality for Europe and Central Asia Region

Description: The aim of this event is to clearly position gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls within the broader scope of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and identify gender as an accelerator for sustainable development in Europe and Central Asia.

How to institutionally support the implementation of SDG 6 on a global level?

Organiser: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

Venue: room 4, International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

Description: The aim of this side event is to provide a space for discussion to UNECE Member States on current gaps and weaknesses of the UN’s institutional set-up in the water sector and possible options for allowing collective review and follow-up of SDG 6 implementation by UN Member States and strengthening coordination of UN support to SDG 6.

Please find further information here.

EAEU sustainable development and its experience of the SDG implementation at sub-regional level

Organiser: Eurasian Economic Commission

Venue: room 7/8, International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

Description: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key element of the strategic long-term development for most countries of the world including Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The focus of this side events is on three aspects: (1) how regional integration supports the achievement of the SDG Agenda in the EAEU and its Member States, (2) presentation of the System of Integration Indicators (SII) and (3) presentation of the report on Inclusive Growth for the EAEU Member States.

Further information and the programme of the side event.

Making the business case for sustainable infrastructure: the SAVi methodology

Organiser: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Description: Conventional methods of assessing the financial feasibility of infrastructure ignore a range of material environmental, social and economic risks, intangibles and externalities. When these risks and externalities are included, the business case for sustainable infrastructure become much more apparent. IISD developed the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) tool to demonstrate to governments, investors and citizens why sustainable assets can deliver better value for money and more attractive internal rates of return. This session will cover the essentials of sustainable infrastructure, the use of the SAVi methodology, as well as a demonstration of SAVi on an actual infrastructure project (offshore windfarm in the Nord Sea) to foster an understanding of the information that SAVi generates.

Mechanisms for citizen engagement and measurement for the implementation of Agenda 2030

Organiser: UN Volunteers (UNV) and the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Description: Agenda 2030 highlights a people-centered approach to development efforts. An estimated 1 billion people volunteer in their communities globally. To date, discussions under SDGs have focused primarily on financial resources. This session provides guidance on how Member States can strengthen analysis and reporting under SDG17 through integrating national data on volunteerism by:

  • Including qualitative and quantitative data to estimate economic value of volunteering;
  • Demonstrating case studies on voluntary citizen engagement to provide a narrative on social inclusion.

Evidence on volunteerism is a source of information that can be used to showcase a ‘whole of society approach’ within VNRs and to move beyond financial resource considerations. The session will be run by UN Volunteers and the International Labour Organization.



For government representatives and other stakeholders wishing to participate in the Regional Forum, please register at your earliest convenience, preferably by 16 February 2018.

Please register through the Online Registration System

The Registration Guide explains the registration procedure step-by-stepPlease register for the main meeting and the two round tables of your choice. 

Preliminary ProgrammePDF
Provisional AgendaPDFPDFPDF



Preliminary List of Speakers


Civil Society Pre-Meeting (28 February 2018, Geneva)                                                     

The Regional Forum will be preceded by a civil society pre-meeting on 28 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations. For civil society organisations wishing to participate, please find the draft agenda here and register through the link.

Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2018 VNR countries (28 February 2018, Geneva)

The Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 15 countries from the UNECE region volunteer to take part in VNRs at the 2018 session of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). The Division for Sustainable Development of UN DESA organises a Regional Preparatory Meeting for VNR countries of the UNECE region on 28 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations. Participation upon invitation by UN DESA.

Back-to-back meeting

Informal Briefing on the Status of the SDG 7 Global Review Process (28 February 2018, Geneva) 

UNECE together with UN DESA is organizing a back-to-back meeting with the UNECE Regional Forum to inform member States of progress on the SDG 7 review. Following UNECE's participation at the SDG7 Conference and the third meeting of the "Ad Hoc Informal Multi-stakeholder Technical Group of Advisors on SDG 7" in Bangkok from 21-23 February, participants will be briefed on the status of the review process and the preparation of the policy briefs. Subsequent meetings of the technical group, including an event in Paris in March hosted by the International Energy Agency, will further prepare the key messages to be put forward to the High Level Political Forum in New York. The meeting will take place at the Palais des Nations (room IX) on 28 February 2018, 13h15 to 19h00. Please register for the meeting here.


Sustainable Development

and Gender Unit (SDGU)



Palais de Nations

8-14 Avenue de la Paix

1211 Geneva 10