What are the critical actions driving sustainable change? Gathering at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development on 19-20 March 2020, policy makers and other key actors from the region will kickstart the Decade of Action and boost their efforts to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Decade of Action: ten years left to transform our world
2020 marks the beginning of the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development, launched by world leaders at the UN Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While progress is being made, current efforts are far from the scale needed to deliver the SDGs within the next 10 years. Ambitious action is needed to bring about deep transformative change, including in the UNECE region.
Realizing the SDGs in the UNECE region
Key challenges for the UNECE region include areas where the region has a global responsibility such as sustainable consumption and production patterns or climate change. The transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies remains slow and consequently progress in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is sluggish. Advancements in decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation are insufficient. Gender gaps in all spheres, including labour participation, persist and a significant rural-urban divide creates further inequalities. Stronger efforts are needed to break down sectoral silos and build strong alliances. Greater public and private finance is required to match intentions and increased political will is needed to raise ambitions.
Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs): National efforts by UNECE member States
The high participation in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) is proof for the efforts by UNECE member States to tackle the persisting challenges and translate the SDGs into policy actions. 54 out of the 56 UNECE member States will have reviewed their SDG progress by summer 2020 which accounts for more than 95% of UNECE membership. At the 2020 High-level Political Forum, 13 member States from the UNECE region (including five for the second time) will be presenting their Voluntary National Reviews to a global audience in New York.
Regional Forum: Springboard for future action
However, current efforts are not enough - all stakeholders need to speed up delivery of the 2030 Agenda. The 2020 Regional Forum, in particular the peer learning segment, will thus specifically focus on ambitious actions, commitments and multi-partner initiatives that will help bring to live the SDG roadmap and deliver the necessary transformations across different areas.
The Forum’s peer learning round tables are based on the six ‘entry points’ for sustainable change which were identified in the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR): human well-being, circular economies, food and nutrition, carbon neutrality, sustainable cities and management of natural resources.
In her key note speech, Professor Katherine Richardson, co-author of the Global Sustainable Development Report, will provide further thought-provoking insights into the findings of the first edition of this global report. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed will be opening the Regional Forum, which she described as a critical tool “to maintain the ambition, review progress and exchange practices to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Regional SDG Progress Report: where do we stand?
For the first time, a Regional SDG Progress Report will be launched at the 2020 Regional Forum. The paper will summarize the levels and trends of selected SDG indicators in UNECE countries and draw conclusions on where the UNECE region stands in realizing the SDGs. It will also uncover challenges in measuring and monitoring SDGs in the region.
Regional Forum: A fast-growing platform
Taking place for the fourth time, the Regional Forum is a fast-growing platform for meaningful exchange: the number of participants but also of pre-meetings and side events has reached unprecedented numbers every year. The preparation of the Forum involves colleagues across the regional UN system and exemplifies successful regional cooperation between a wide range of UN agencies.
Accelerating SDG progress in countries and the region
The Regional Forum feeds both into national and global processes. Discussions from round tables 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 region’s official input for the 2020 High-level Political Forum.
Learn more and register here: https://www.unece.org/rfsd2020.html