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UNECE’s Regional Forum 2019: Giving fresh impetus to sustainable transformation

How can we deliver better results on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? In a joint quest for answers, UNECE member States and key stakeholders will gather in Geneva on 21-22 March 2019 for the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region.

Closely aligned with the issues addressed at the 2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the Regional Forum will provide a regional angle to the global theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. Stakeholders from governments, civil society, academia and the private sector will share their experience and discuss concrete solutions on how to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in focus:

SDG 4 (quality education), 

SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), 

SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), 

SDG 13 (climate action) and

SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

Regional Forum: Multi-stakeholder platform for the UNECE region

The 2018 Regional Forum attracted an unprecedented number of more than 600 participants, including government representatives from almost all member States. Similar numbers are expected for the next Regional Forum, turning it into a valuable multi-stakeholder platform for SDG solutions, organized by UNECE in close cooperation with the Regional UN System.

Voluntary national reviews: national efforts to achieve the SDGs

The high participation in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) is proof for the strong efforts by UNECE member States to translate the SDGs into policy actions. The 2030 Agenda encourages member States to review their national experiences in implementing the SDGs, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.  


From the UNECE region, eight countries will present their Voluntary National Review at the 2019 High-level Political Forum for the first time: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Turkmenistan and the UK. Azerbaijan and France will conduct their VNRs for the second time. By 2019, more than 80 percent of UNECE member States will have volunteered to present reviews of their work on the SDGs.

Background: Regional Forums accelerate actions to realize the SDGs

In the run-up to the 2019 High-level Political Forum, each of the five UN Regional Commissions convenes a multi-stakeholder forum in their respective region to share experience and discuss concrete solutions on how to achieve the SDGs. Regional Forums feed both into national and global processes. Discussions at the forums foster mutual learning and help countries accelerate national progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Chair’s summary of each Regional Forum provides the region’s official input for the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) which will be held in two sessions in 2019. In addition to the annual July session under ECOSOC auspices, the HLPF will also convene for 1.5 days in September 2019, under UN General Assembly auspices, for the first four-yearly review of all 17 SDGs.

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