Title

Fourth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development
Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies
Wednesday, May 2, 2018 to Friday, May 4, 2018
Dakar, Senegal

Background

  • Across the globe, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which forms the global development framework around 17 Sustainable Development Goals, began in January 2016. In Africa, the 2030 Agenda is being implemented concurrently and in an integrated manner with the First 10-year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, a 50-year strategic framework for socioeconomic transformation in Africa, which is aimed at accelerating the implementation initiatives for growth and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 are mutually reinforcing and together are focusing attention on and framing efforts at national, subregional and national levels in pursuit of inclusive and sustainable structural transformation and sustainable development in Africa.
  • The review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is at global, regional, subregional and national levels, while the Agenda 2063 is being reviewed at national, subregional and regional levels. The follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda is the mandate of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 67/290. The Forum provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations for the follow-up and review of progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments, and is expected to enhance the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental, in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner at all levels. Through its resolution 70/1, the General Assembly reiterated that the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, under the auspices of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, would have the central role of overseeing the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. As part of its mandate, the Forum facilitates global sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned. It meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council for eight days, in a session that includes a three-day ministerial segment, and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly, for two days. To date, four sessions of the Forum have been held since its inaugural meeting, which took place on 24 September 2013.
  • Another crucial dimension of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development follow-up and review process of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is the regional forums for sustainable development, which are convened annually by the five regional commissions, and the voluntary national reviews. The regional forums serve as an important mechanism, not only for tracking progress in implementation at the regional level, but also for keeping all the stakeholders mobilized and engaged to strengthen their commitment to concerted action, and to garner international support for efforts to translate the Sustainable Development Goals into measurable and shared prosperity that benefits the planet and its people. In line with the primacy of member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda, the annual voluntary national reviews are vital and integral tools that inform the work of the Forum during its sessions under the auspices of Economic and Social Council. The voluntary national reviews facilitate the sharing of experiences, successes, challenges and lessons learned; promote the strengthening of policies and institutional frameworks; and help in marshalling multi-stakeholder support and partnerships to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
  • The General Assembly decided in its resolution 70/299 the themes and the sets of the Sustainable Development Goals to be reviewed by the sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of Economic and Social Council during 2018 and 2019 (table). In the resolution, it was decided that the Forum “without prejudice to the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals, shall discuss a set of goals and their interlinkages, including, if appropriate, with other goals, at each session representing the three dimensions of sustainable development, with a view to facilitating an in-depth review of progress made on all goals over the course of a four-year cycle, with means of implementation, including with respect to Goal 17, reviewed annually”. 

Year

Theme

Focus Sustainable Development Goals

2018

“Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

2019

“Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning for all

Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

  • The 2018 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will be held under the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development theme: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. Sustained, inclusive economic growth is possible with appropriate policies implemented to create and share wealth and address inequalities. The theme is timely as Africa aims to redouble its effort to translate rapid economic growth into sustained and inclusive development, through such interventions as putting in place development strategies that foster economic diversification and job creation and help to reduce inequality and boost access to basic services.  For Africa, strengthening productive capacities for inclusive growth requires a careful balance between economic diversification in order to achieve substantial and broad-based economic development, and human well-being and environmental stewardship and management of natural resources

The Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

  • The Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development follows up on and reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa, and provides inputs to the annual sessions of High-Level Political Forum. The Regional Forums are strategically placed to link the national and global discourse and serve as multi-stakeholder platforms to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Those Forums were set up following the General Assembly resolutions 67/290, 70/1 and 70/299 in which it acknowledged the importance of the regional dimensions of sustainable development; invited the regional commissions to contribute to the work of the High-Level Political Forum, including through annual regional meetings; and encouraged member States to identify the most suitable regional forum, as a further means to contribute to the follow-up and review at the High-level Political Forum.
  • The Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development was established in pursuant to the above resolutions. It is operating according to resolutions 930 (XLVIII) and 939 (XLIX) of the Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, held in 2015 and 2016. In resolution 939 (XLIX), the Conference of Ministers, requested the Economic Commission for Africa, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners, to convene on an annual basis the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for follow-up to and review of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda.

Objective and sub-themes of the 2018 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

Objective
  • The overall objective of the 2018 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development is to conduct a regional follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 and facilitate learning, including sharing experiences and lessons learned to advance their implementation.
  • With a particular focus on the selected Sustainable Development Goals for the 2018 High-level Political Forum and the corresponding goals of the First 10-year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, the specific objectives of the Regional Forum are to:
  1. Carry out a regional follow-up to and review of the implementation of the two agendas and address challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation;
  2. Provide a platform for peer learning and sharing experiences, good practices and lessons learned to accelerate implementation of the two agendas;
  3. Deliberate and agree on the priorities and recommendations of Africa in the form of key messages as the region’s collective input to the 2018 High-level Political Forum session.
Sub-themes
  • The activities of the Regional Forum will be conducted based on the following sub-themes, which have been crafted around the focus Sustainable Development Goals for the 2018 High-level Political Forum: 
  1. Clean water and sanitation;
  2. Affordable and clean energy;
  3. Sustainable cities and communities;
  4. Responsible consumption and production;
  5. Life on land.
  • Among the critical issues for discussion under each sub-theme are major trends and progress in implementation, including early results and promising approaches and practices that could be scaled up and out scaled to achieve set targets; emerging issues, challenges and opportunities to enhance implementation; delivering on the means of implementation; the role and status of data and statistics to track progress and to inform necessary policies and other measures to advance implementation; and strategic policy recommendations and measures to accelerate the implementation and achieve the goal and set targets.

Format of the Regional Forum

The Forum will comprise pre-Forum meetings and main sessions as follows:

Pre-Forum meetings and events

As the Regional Forum is an open space for exchange of cutting edge ideas, experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, it will be preceded by the pre-events organized for various stakeholders whose outcomes will feed into the deliberations during the Forum.

Main session of the Regional Forum

The meeting will comprise the following main session:

  1. Opening of the Forum: The Chair of the 2017 Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development will deliver short remarks and preside over the opening of the event. The Executive Secretary of ECA will deliver the welcome statement on behalf of the United Nations family, followed by statements from high-level representatives of AfDB and the African Union Commission. An Official of the host country will officially open the 2018 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.
  2. High-level panel on the theme “Challenges and opportunities in transforming towards sustainable and resilient societies”: This session will feature interactive discussions by a high-level panel comprised of ministers and other senior dignitaries. Among the panellists will be ministers of the 2017 and 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development voluntary national review countries. The representation will take into account sectors related to the focus goals for the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and meeting sub-themes.
  3. Overview of the progress report on the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063: This session will include a presentation of the report of ECA and the Africa Union Commission. With emphasis on 2018 High-level Political Forum focused Sustainable Development Goals and related agenda 2063 goals, the presentation will include a snapshot of progress in implementing the two agendas, existing and emerging challenges and policy recommendations to increase the pace, scale and the quality of outcomes. During this session, highlights will also be provided on the support extended by ECA and the African Union Commission to the implementation of the two Agendas.
  4. Round-table panel on learning and experience sharing: The panel will comprise selected senior experts and policymakers from the 2017 and 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development voluntary national review countries that are front-runners in implementing Agenda 2063, major groups and representatives of the donor community. The panellists will share their perspectives, experiences, lessons learned and highlight actions to enhance implementation of the two agendas. Outcomes of the various pre-forum meetings will be highlighted during the panel.
  5. Parallel panel sessions on the sub-themes of the Forum: Under this session, there will be six parallel panel sessions based on the sub-themes of the Regional Forum. Panel members shall include: country representatives, major groups, the African Union Commission, AfDB, ECA and other United Nations organizations according to their areas of interest and comparative advantage. The parallel sessions will review in detail the implementation progress on each sub-theme, and agree on key messages on the respective sub-themes to be presented to the plenary.
  6. Report back to plenary from the breakout groups: The parallel panel sessions will report back to the plenary. The presentations will highlight the key messages from the respective panel sessions.
  7. Consideration and adoption of key messages: During this session, the Regional Forum will consider, refine and adopt the key messages to be submitted to the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development as the regional inputs of Africa.

Participants

The following are expected to attend:

  1. All 54 member States of ECA (high-level experts from ministries and agencies in charge of economic planning, finance, environment and social affairs, mining and mineral resources, and science and technology);
  2. Representatives of major groups and other stakeholders, including civil society, business and industry organizations, academia, and research institutions;
  3. The African Union Commission;
  4. The African Development Bank;
  5. The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency;
  6. Regional economic communities;
  7. United Nations and other international agencies and organizations;
  8. Development partners.

Working Languages

The meeting will be conducted in English and French with simultaneous interpretation in both languages.

Dates and Venue

The 2018 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will be held in Dakar from 2 to 4 May 2018.

Contacts

Enquiries on the organization of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development should be directed to:
Ms. Fatima Denton
Director,
Special Initiatives Division
Economic Commission for Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Email: ECA-ARFSD@un.org

Mr. Nassim Oulmane
Chief,
Green Economy and Natural Resources Section
Special Initiatives Division
Economic Commission for Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Email: oulmane@un.org