The ARFSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform organized jointly by the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and the Host Government in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities of the United Nations System. It brings together Ministers, senior officials, experts and practitioners from UN member States, private sector, civil society, academia and UN organisations. Accordingly, the 2022 Forum will be organized jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Government of the Republic of Rwanda in collaboration with partners outlined above.
The ARFSD like all the other regional forums on sustainable development is mandated by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The regional forum is one of the three mechanisms mandated to follow-up, review and catalyse actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by UN member States in September 2015.
The other mechanisms are the Voluntary National Reviews and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the global level.
Unique to Africa, the ARFSD undertakes integrated follow-up and review of the SDGs and goals of the African Union Agenda 2063. This is because for Africa, the two Agenda provide a synergistic framework for achieving inclusive and people-centred sustainable development in the region.
The ARFSD also provides a platform for peer learning including on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) by subnational entities.
The Forum adopts two main outcomes:
- Summary and key messages: This is Africa’s collective input to the HLPF on all the deliberations of the Forum. This outcome document consists of Africa’s priorities and policy recommendation to accelerate implementation of the two Agendas.
- Declaration of the Forum: This takes the name of the host city and presents an African collective position on specific issues of importance for the Bureau and the Chair of the Bureau, following the deliberations of the participants of the ARFSD.
A concise synthesis of these outcomes is presented to HLPF by the Chair of the Bureau of the ARFSD. In this case Rwanda will present Africa’s position at the high-level segment of the 2022 HLPF to be held in New York, from Tuesday, 5 July, to Thursday, 7 July and Monday, 11 July to Friday, 15 July, and Monday, 18 July 2022.
Seven sessions of the Regional Forum have been held to date. Currently, the Republic of Congo is the chair of the 5-member Bureau of the of the seventh session of the Regional Forum, held in Brazzaville, Congo in in March 2021.
The Eighth Session of Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-8) to be held in 2022.
Notwithstanding the progress in the implementation of the two agendas, available assessments show that countries are off track to achieve the SDGs and goals of Agenda 2063 within the set time frame. COVID-19 has further undermined progress to achieve the SDGs and goals of Agenda 2063.The decade 2021 to 2030 (dubbed the Decade of Action and Delivery on Sustainable Development) presents an opportunity and a window of hope to dramatically speed up the pace and expand the scale of implementation to deliver the regional and global goals alongside recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Previous session of the Regional Forum and meeting of HLPF and SDGs Summit helped to spotlight several areas in which ambitious and transformative actions taken will drive up progress across multiple goals.
ARFSD-7 (2021) adopted key recommendations in the form of key messages and the Brazzaville Declaration with the view to accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 . These outcomes were presented to the 2021 meeting of the HLPF held in New York, in July 2021. The HLPF undertakes global level review and follow-up on the implementation of the 2030 agenda and adopts a ministerial declaration to inform actions to accelerate implementation across the globe.
Focus and theme of the eighth (2022) session of the Regional Forum
The Forum is always held with a focus on the theme that has resonance with the context and priorities of the Africa and that should be well aligned with the theme of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). As such the 2022 ARFSD will be held under the following theme : Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, aligned with that 2022 HLP, namely Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In general, the eighth session of the Regional Forum will:
- Conduct a regional follow-up and review of the implementation of the selected SDGs and Agenda 2063 goals. The selected set of Sustainable Development Goals to be reviewed in-depth shall be Goals 4, 5, 14, 15 and 17
- Focus on identifying ambitions strategies and policy actions to build back better from COVID-19 and to dramatically scale up implementation in 2021-2030.
- Facilitate learning, including sharing approaches, experiences and lessons learned from VNRs, VLRs and implementation efforts.
- Deliberate and agree on Africa’ regional input to the 2022 meeting of HLPF to be held in New. The outcome could be in the form of Key messages.
The Forum will be preceded (March 1st and 2nd) by the Africa ion Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP) of UN agencies operating in the region; the third Africa Regional Forum on Science and Technology; the capacity development workshop on Voluntary National Reviews and Voluntary Local Reviews; and Africa Regional Preparatory workshop for Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). These events as well side events are held in the same venue with ARFSD-8.
Officiation and Participation in the Regional Forum
(i) The official opening of the Forum is officiated by:
- Head of State and Government
- The President of ECOSOC
- The Deputy Secretary General
- The Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA
- Chairperson of AUC or his designated Representative
- The President AfDB or his Designated Representative
(ii) The Forum will be attended by representatives of:
- All 54 Member States of ECA (Ministers and high-level policymakers and experts from ministries and agencies in charge of economic planning, finance, environment and natural/mineral resources, social affairs, energy, agriculture, justice, statistics and science and technology).
- Major groups and other stakeholders, including civil society, business and industry organizations, academia and research institutions.
- The African Union Commission, Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA/NEPAD) and the Secretariat of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism.
- The African Development Bank.
- Regional Economic Communities.
- Agencies and organizations of the United Nations system, and other international agencies and organizations.
- Development partners.