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Regional Forum 2018

The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region was held on Thursday, 1 March, and Friday, 2 March 2018, at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG).


The Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD) follows up on and reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UNECE region. Focusing on practical value-added and peer learning, it creates a regional space to share policy solutions, best practices and challenges in SDG implementation and helps identify major regional and subregional trends. Read more



 Amb. Michael Gerber   Marie Chatardová        Amina J. Mohammed     Olga Algayerova   
Chair of the Regional Forum  

President of the

Economic and Social Council


   UN's Deputy Secretary-General

 (video message)


 UNECE Executive Secretary 

Michael Møller          

Cihan Sultanoğlu

Cristiana Paşca Palmer Peter Messerli

Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Chair of the Regional UNDG Team,for Europe and Central Asia Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Professor of Sustainable Development

Peer learning round tables

Round tables facilitated peer learning and practical exchange of experiences and best practices for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Please find further information on each round table here. Informal concept notes and descriptions of each round table can be found in the tabs below.
Round tables

Concept notes for round tables, 1 March 2018

Making universal access to water and sanitation a reality in the UNECE region (15:00 - 16:30 // room 5/6, level 3 CICG)

Sharing water: balancing competing needs in a context of declining resource (16:30 - 18:00 // room 3, level 0 CICG)

Improving the efficiency of the energy system (15:00 - 16:30 // room 18, level -1 CICG)

Transforming energy in support of the 2030 Agenda (16:30 - 18:00 // room 4, level 0)

Financing the transition to sustainable cities and communities: challenges and opportunities (15:00 - 16:30 // room 2 (plenary), level 0 CICG)

Promoting resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements (16:30 - 18:00 // room 5/6, level 3 CICG)

Successful approaches to delivering on Sustainable Consumption and Production by 2030 (15:00 - 16:30 // room 4, level 0 CICG)

Towards a circular economy: innovation for sustainable value chains (16:30 - 18:00 // room 2 (plenary), level 0 CICG)

Sustainable Forest Management and the SDGs (15:00 - 16:30 // room 3, level 0 CICG)

Устойчивое управление лесами и экосистемами

Biodiversity at the Heart of Sustainable Development – Toward Transformation and Resilience (16:30 - 18:00 // room 18, level -1 CICG)

Compilation of case studies

Governments and other stakeholders were asked to provide case studies from their national experience in implementing the five SDGs, which formed the basis of the discussions at peer learning round tables. Kindly find a compilation of all case studies here.


   SDG 6 Sustainable Water

Making universal access to water and sanitation a reality in the UNECE region
Room 5/6 (level 3), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
  • How can countries assess existing gaps in the equity of access to water and sanitation?
  • Which social and economic measures are proving effective to address problems of equity in access to water and sanitation?
  • How can all relevant stakeholders and sectors, such as finance, education, housing and health, provide solutions to the challenge of universal access to water and sanitation?
Case studies

Ensuring participation of public in water and sanitation related matters in Romania

Serbia Self-Assessment of the Situation of Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation in Serbia
Portugal Introducing social tariffs following an equitable access self-assessment in Portugal
European Environment and Health Youth Coalition Youth  participation: voices from the schools of the pan-European region on access to water and sanitation

Bridging environment and health to ensure access to water and sanitation

Sharing water: balancing competing needs in a context of declining resource
 Interpretation: English / French / Russian             //        Room 3 (level 0), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
  • How can water needs of different sectors and the environment be balanced, including in the face of increasing water scarcity?
  • What kind of intersectoral coordination and planning arrangements are proving effective?
  • How are countries dealing with conflicting water uses and trade-offs in transboundary basins?
  • How are countries and basins coping with growing water scarcity?
Case studies
Switzerland Water quality in Switzerland – connecting drops at different depths
Finland Optimising water allocation for energy and hydrological extremes in transboundary context

Water allocation in transboundary river basins: Hungary’s experience

Additional case studies
Germany Country Small-scale water supplies and sanitation under the Protocol on Water and Health
Germany Stakeholder dialogue on the national strategy for micropollutants
Germany New sewage sludge ordinance reforms sewage sludge utilisation and sustainable phosphorus utilization

  S DG 7 Sustainable Energy
Improving the efficiency of the energy system
Interpretation: English / French / Russian     //   room 18 (level -1), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

  • What are countries doing to overcome barriers to improving energy efficiency?
  • What approaches have been effective in accelerating investments in energy efficiency?
  • What is being done to improve energy efficiency in industry?
  • What steps are countries taking to improve energy performance of buildings?
Case studies
Ukraine Ukraine: Improving Energy Efficiency – Launch of the State Program on Energy Efficiency
Serbia Establishment and operation of the Budgetary Fund for Energy Efficiency
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Raising awareness for energy consumption through a marketing campaign “Energy Mathematics”
Germany Applying industrial waste heat to supply new city district in Hamburg

Transforming energy in support of the 2030 Agenda
Interpretation: English / French / Russian    //  room 4 (level 0), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
  • What policies and measures are policymakers developing/implementing to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy?
  • How can the need to reduce CO2 emissions in order to reach the objectives of the UNFCC Paris agreement be reconciled with the necessity to rely on fossil fuels as an important share of the energy mix in the short and medium term?
  • How are countries addressing potential social impacts of the transition to sustainable energy
Case studies
Czech Republic Cleaner Electricity in the Czech Republic
Serbia Country WISE SEE – Women in Sustainable Energy South-East Europe
Kazakhstan Coal mine methane production at Karaganda coal basin to enhance mine safety and optimize economics


SDG 11

  SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
Financing the transition to sustainable cities and communities: challenges and opportunities
room 2 (plenary), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

  • What policy tools and financial mechanisms can policymakers use to promote access to affordable decent housing and basic services? What are the challenges they face in financing effective policies?
  • What are the instruments they can use to reduce the environmental footprint of cities, improve air quality and manage waste, ensure sustainable transport and disaster risk management? How can they harness the power of ICT and other innovative technologies and processes?
  • Which governance structures for housing and urban finance showed to be successful? Who are the key stakeholders in urban and housing finance? How can the integrated and participatory urban planning promote effective use of existing financial resources and leverage new sources of finance?
Case studies
Belgium (region Flanders) Urban renewal projects Flanders
Italy Renovating School Buildings
Glasgow City Council The case for integrating the SGDs at international, national and local level with reference to the Government Strategy for Scotland and the development plan for the City of Glasgow
Council of Europe Development Bank Fostering competition in small housing markets - innovative housing programme in Montenegro
Czech Republic Rental housing finance for older persons

Promoting resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements
Interpretation: English / French / Russian     //  room 5/6 (level 3), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
  • What approaches do governments take to promote resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements? What tools (normative frameworks, standards, etc.)  are available to support these efforts?
  • What are the gaps in the availability of reliable data to track and monitor progress and to deliver urban solutions? How can they be addressed?
  • What are the opportunities for more effective multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of SDG 11, the New Urban Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction?
Case studies
REC Caucasus The KPIs for Smart Sustainable Cities and overcoming the data availability barrier in small cities

The Kyrgyz Republic

Resilient cities
Russian Federation Sustainability of urbanized areas
Nordic Council of Ministers Nordic Sustainable Cities – Promoting solutions for sustainable, liveable and smart cities
Potenza, Basilicata, Italy #weResilient: A local governance and accountability model for territorial and community resilience
Serbia From response to resilience: Disaster Risk Management in Serbia
SDG 12

  SDG 12 Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
Successful approaches to delivering on Sustainable Consumption and Production by 2030
Interpretation: English / French / Russian     //   room: 4 (level 0), International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

  • Are the prerequisites for SCP – the governance, institutional and policy approaches used in implementing SCP – in place? Are they effective? Who is taking the lead in SCP?
  • Are the enablers for SCP – technology, financing, investment, education and awareness-raising, etc. – in place? What are the approaches used? Are they effective in supporting SCP?
  • How are the private sector and civil society engaged to bring about behavioural change?
  • What are the bottlenecks and challenges? What is the way forward?
Case studies
Switzerland Delivering on sustainable consumption and production: Phosphorous recovery and reuse from wastewater streams and separated organic fractions
Romania Mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production patterns into national policies to develop a Green Economy in Romania
Sweden Sustainable consumption and production in the national policy landscape of Sweden
Latvia Green Public Procurement
Kazakhstan International Center for Green Technology and Investment

Towards a circular economy: innovation for sustainable value chains
Room: 2 (plenary, level 0), International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)
  • How to move from a linear to a circular production pattern? What are the challenges and opportunities? What is the potential contribution of innovation and partnerships?
  • Which innovative practices can support information sharing among different stakeholders to ensure that consumers have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable lifestyle?
  • How can enhanced transparency and traceability of value chains and their environmental, social and health risks contribute to raising knowledge and awareness about sustainable production?
  • How can policymakers meet the target to halve per capita global food waste by 2030?
Case studies
The Netherlands The international Green Deal North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSRR)
Nordic Council of Ministers Nordsyn – a project of the Nordic cooperation council for green and compliant products
Czech Republic The food waste management in the Czech Republic
Montenegro Sustainable agriculture and rural development strategy based on quality centred production and consumption in Montenegro
Slovenia Transition to a Green Economy:  National Strategy and Process
Republic of Moldova Responsible consumption and production in the Republic of Moldova – Organic Agriculture
Italy Towards a Model of Circular Economy for Italy - Overview and Strategic Framework


SDG 15

  SDG 15 Sustainable management of forests and ecosystems
Sustainable Forest Management and the SDGs
Устойчивое управление лесами и экосистемами
Interpretation: English / French / Russian     //       Room: Room 3 (level 0), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG) 

  • How can policymakers use Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) policies and tools to increase climate resilience and integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning?
  • How can SFM contribute to and influence energy policies to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix?
  • How can policymakers enhance SFM to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, reduce the degradation of natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity?
  • How can policymakers further promote SFM to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices? How can SFM support the bio-economy and improve progressively global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation? 
  • How can sustainable forest management make cities more resilient?
  Case studies
  The State Forests, Poland Carbon forests - a natural solution to enhance climate change mitigation efforts
  The Republic of Kazakhstan Sustainable forest management for cities: The “green belt” of Astana city
  European Network Integrate INTEGRATE – A European-wide network to enhance nature conservation in sustainably managed forests 
  IKEA of Sweden AB - Inter IKEA Group IKEA Wood Direction – Having positive impact on people, society and planet.
  Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, Austria A journey through the value chain of wood: the case of Austria.
  Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland Forest products and the bio-economy: the case of Finland

Forest Europe: Statement on the occasion of the Regional Forum

Biodiversity at the Heart of Sustainable Development – Toward Transformation and Resilience
Room: Room 18 (level -1), International Conference Center Geneva
  • Why are biodiversity and healthy ecosystems important for sustainable development? Are there recent case examples that demonstrate the linkages between biodiversity and healthy ecosystems in terms of providing revenues and jobs, water, agriculture tourism, and other benefits?
  • How can policymakers enhance the integration of ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and subnational planning and development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts?  Are there specific examples of successful measures already put in place which could be replicated or scaled up, including measures which target specific economic sectors?
  • What are the most important obstacles and challenges for implementing SDG 15?  What are some of the most important changes that are needed to address such challenges?   
Case studies
Georgia Earth Observation technologies designed for action
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Expanding Protected Areas in the Balkans
Poland Sustainable tourism development through the Carpathian Convention

Side events

1 March 2018, 13:15-14:30
Fashion and the SDGs: What role for the UN?

Organiser: UNECE

Venue: room 2 (plenary hall), International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)

Description: The fashion industry has a significant impact on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This side event gathers the UN offices that address issues related to sustainable fashion to brainstorm and discuss how the UN could reach a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated approach towards the development of a sustainable fashion industry in order to contribute efficiently to reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Please find further information here.
Adolescents and Youth as partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Organiser: Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UN SDG Action Campaign, European Youth Forum, UNFPA EECA Regional Office, UN Youth Delegates of Sweden, Slovakia and Hungary
Venue: room 3, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: This side-event will discuss and share best practices on how Member States can work together with adolescents and youth as partners on the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in specific in the process of drafting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), and in their delegations to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
Please find the programme of the side event here.

Achieving the SDGs by participation of all – in the light of SEA/EIA procedures

Organiser: Czech Republic

Title: Achieving the SDGs by participation of all – in the light of SEA/EIA procedures; Perspectives of the Czech Republic, Georgia, EU and UNECE.

Description: The event focus on strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) as tools for preventing and mitigating damage to environment and health through inclusive and participatory decision-making and international collaboration. It builds on experience of the Czech Republic and Georgia and will concentrate on specific activities under the regional programme "Greening Economies in the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood" (EaP GREEN) placed under the competence of the UNECE. It also links to participation as a lead theme of the current Czech presidency of ECOSOC.

 Please find further information here.
Rural women, migration and agriculture
Organiser: FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the International Organization for Migration
Venue: room 18, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: The side event aims to raise awareness on the links between agriculture, rural development, food security and migration in the region of Europe and Central Asia. The focus is on measures to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and income of rural women, small scale producers and family farmers, by discussing the key challenges of rural migration and its gendered impact on migrant workers and left-behind communities, including women and the elderly in the countries of the region. Practices will be identified to create better conditions and resilient livelihoods in rural areas, that allow women and men to stay and continue farming and engage in non-farming activities in rural areas rather than migrating.
Please find here the programme of the side event.
SDG 6 in-depth review: UN-Water Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation

Organiser: UN-Water
Venue: room 15, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: To provide input to Member States preparing the in-depth review of SDG 6 for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, UN-Water will release a report on the global status on water and sanitation. This side event presents the early signals emerging from the writing process and discusses ways to accelerate achieving SDG 6 within the broader context of the 2030 Agenda. Kindly find further information in the programme and here.

2 March 2018, 8:30-9:45
Gender Equality as an Accelerator for SDGs Implementation

Organiser: United Nations Issue-Based Coalition on Gender Equality for Europe and Central Asia Region
Venue: room 3, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: The aim of this event is to clearly position gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls within the broader scope of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and identify gender as an accelerator for sustainable development in Europe and Central Asia.
Please find the programme here.

EAEU sustainable development and its experience of the SDG implementation at sub-regional level

Organiser: Eurasian Economic Commission
Venue: room 7/8, International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)
Description: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key element of the strategic long-term development for most countries of the world including Member States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The focus of this side events is on three aspects: (1) how regional integration supports the achievement of the SDG Agenda in the EAEU and its Member States, (2) presentation of the System of Integration Indicators (SII) and (3) presentation of the report on Inclusive Growth for the EAEU Member States.
Further information and the programme of the side event.

Making the business case for sustainable infrastructure: the SAVi methodology

Organiser: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Venue: room 15, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: Conventional methods of assessing the financial feasibility of infrastructure ignore a range of material environmental, social and economic risks, intangibles and externalities. When these risks and externalities are included, the business case for sustainable infrastructure become much more apparent. IISD developed the Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) tool to demonstrate to governments, investors and citizens why sustainable assets can deliver better value for money and more attractive internal rates of return. This session will cover the essentials of sustainable infrastructure, the use of the SAVi methodology, as well as a demonstration of SAVi on an actual infrastructure project (offshore windfarm in the Nord Sea) to foster an understanding of the information that SAVi generates.
Please find here the programme of the side event.

Mechanisms for citizen engagement and measurement for the implementation of Agenda 2030

Organiser: UN Volunteers (UNV) and the International Labour Organization (ILO)
Venue: room 4, International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Description: Agenda 2030 highlights a people-centered approach to development efforts. An estimated 1 billion people volunteer in their communities globally. To date, discussions under SDGs have focused primarily on financial resources. This session provides guidance on how Member States can strengthen analysis and reporting under SDG17 through integrating national data on volunteerism by:

  • Including qualitative and quantitative data to estimate economic value of volunteering;
  • Demonstrating case studies on voluntary citizen engagement to provide a narrative on social inclusion.

Evidence on volunteerism is a source of information that can be used to showcase a ‘whole of society approach’ within VNRs and to move beyond financial resource considerations. The session will be run by UN Volunteers and the International Labour Organization.
Please find here the flyer and programme of the side event.



The Report of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region (E, F, R) provides the official input from the UNECE region to the 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which took place in New York, 9-18 July 2018.


All the essentials are summed up in our guide for participants.
More than 600 participants registered, including government delegations from about 50 countries. Take a glance at the list of registered participants. If you have any comments on the participants list, please contact [email protected].

Programme PDF    
Provisional Agenda PDF PDF PDF

Preliminary List of Speakers

Speaker Statement
Chair of the Regional Forum: Ambassador Michael Gerber Opening Statement
President of the Economic and Social Council: Marie Chatardová  Opening Statement
UN Deputy Secretary-General: Amina J. Mohammed Opening Statement (video message)
UNECE Executive Secretary: Olga Algayerova Opening Statement
Chair of the Regional UNDG Team for Europe and Central Asia: Cihan Sultanoğlu Opening Statement
Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Bern: Peter Messerli Keynote Speech
UNECE Executive Secretary: Olga Algayerova Closing Statement
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva: Michael Møller Closing Statement
  Member States   Statements    
  Albania   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Armenia   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Azerbaijan   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Belarus   Statement High-level Policy Segment (Russian)    
      Chair’s Summary of the SDG Coordination Leaders Forum (Minsk, 21-22 Feb 2018): ENG RUS    
  France   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Germany   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Israel   Statement High-level Policy Segment    


  Statement by the State-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy    
  Lithuania   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Montenegro   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Poland   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Republic of Moldova   Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration    
  Slovenia   Statement High-level Policy Segment    
  Switzerland   Statement High-level Policy Segment (French)    
  Organization             Statement                  
  Civil Society Organisations             Opening Statement                  
  Civil Society Organisations             Closing Statement                  
  World Health Organization (WHO)             Statement                  
  Council of Europe             Statement / Council of Europe contribution to the 2030 Agenda                  
  Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)             Statement                  
Photos and Press Releases


Opening, High-level Policy Segment

Side events: Fashion and the SDGs, SDG 6 Water Synthesis Report, Achieving SDGs by the participation of all, Youth as partners



Civil Society Pre-Meeting (28 February 2018, Geneva)                                                                                     
 The Regional Forum was preceded by a civil society pre-meeting on 28 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations. Please find the agenda here here.
Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2018 VNR countries (28 February 2018, Geneva)          
The Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 15 countries from the UNECE region volunteered to take part in VNRs at the 2018 session of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). The Division for Sustainable Development of UN DESA organized a Regional Preparatory Meeting for VNR countries of the UNECE region on 28 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations. Participation upon invitation by UN DESA.

Sustainable Development

and Gender Unit (SDGU)



 [email protected]


Palais de Nations

8-14 Avenue de la Paix

1211 Geneva 10