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2018 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development to foster exchange of experiences and solutions for SDG implementation in the UNECE region

Published: 25 January 2018

The 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the most ambitious agenda ever adopted by the United Nations. It calls for collaborative action by all countries and all stakeholders to eradicate poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030.

The vision is clear but the ways to reach this vision differ from one country to another. This leaves plenty of space to share experiences and learn from each other. Which concrete steps are policymakers undertaking to implement the SDGs? What specific challenges do countries face in their pursuit of sustainable development? Which effective measures can be replicated?

The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, convened by UNECE, provides a regional space for exchange on how to make the ambitious goals a reality. Representatives from governments of the UNECE region and stakeholders from international organisations, civil society, the private sector and academia will be converging in Geneva on 1-2 March 2018 to learn from each other’s experience in shifting onto a sustainable and resilient path of development.

The Regional Forum is closely aligned with the issues addressed at the 2018 High-level Political Forum (HLPF). The policy segment of the Regional Forum will therefore provide a regional angle to this year’s global theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

At the very heart of the Regional Forum are peer learning round tables with a focus on the five SDGs under in-depth review at the 2018 HLPF. Participants will discuss in 10 round tables:

  • How to cope with growing water scarcity and promote universal access to water and sanitation (SDG6);
  • What measures are needed to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and improve energy efficiency (SDG 7);
  • What approaches are taken to promote resilient and sustainable cities  and how to finance this transition (SDG 11);
  • What challenges need to be addressed to deliver sustainable consumption and production patterns by 2030 and support a circular economy (SDG 12) and
  • How to achieve the sustainable management of forests and promote biodiversity (SDG 15).

Country representatives and other stakeholders will share concrete case studies from their national experience, propose solutions to identified problems and discuss how best practices can be adopted by peers. Round table discussions will be interactive and steered by participants.

The Regional Forum aims to feed both into national and global processes. The round tables are designed to foster mutual learning and help countries accelerate national progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Chair’s summary of the Regional Forum will provide the regional input for the High-level Political Forum (HLPF).

The President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Marie Chatardová, and Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed (via VTC), will deliver opening remarks at the Forum. Switzerland’s Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development, Ambassador Michael Gerber, will be chairing the Regional Forum.

Further room for discussion is provided by side events covering a range of topics and approaches on SDG implementation, including on how to mainstream a gender perspective, how to best integrate youth voices and how to engage citizens in achieving the transformative agenda. Side events will reflect on further topics, including the role for the UN in sustainable fashion.

As an intergovernmental mechanism, the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development is convened by UNECE, in close cooperation with the regional UN system. All five Regional Commissions organise Regional Forums for Sustainable Development in their respective regions. Regional Forums are open to the participation of government representatives and all relevant stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector.

Two meetings will precede the Regional Forum: a preparatory civil society consultation and a regional preparatory workshop for the countries from the UNECE region conducting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum. Both meetings take place on 28 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

For further information and registration for the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (1-2 March 2018), please visit the webpage of the Forum: https://www.unece.org/rfsd2018.html.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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