Asia-Pacific Forum Reviews Regional Progress on Five SDGs
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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The UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific convened the Fifth Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, where Member States shared their achievements on the SDGs on clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and life on land.

The Chair’s Summary will feed into the 2018 session of the HLPF, when it takes place in July in New York.

The meeting also launched two publications and ESCAP’s ‘SDG Help Desk’.

30 March 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened the Fifth Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), where Member States shared achievements on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and life on land (SDG 15). These Goals will be the subject of in-depth review at the 2018 session of the HLPF.

The Fifth APFSD took place from 28-30 March 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand, on the theme of ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies,’ mirroring the theme of the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Over 700 participants from 53 countries registered to attend the Forum, which debated regional perspectives and discussed ways to strengthen implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Chair’s Summary of the meeting will feed into the HLPF when it takes place from 9-18 July 2018, in New York, US.

The Regional Roadmap is the first intergovernmentally agreed, member State-driven, regional guide for implementing the 2030 Agenda.

A high-level panel convened on the meeting theme, and Member States presented their progress on specific SDGs in parallel roundtables. The meeting also reviewed implementation of the Regional Roadmap for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted at the Fourth APFSD in 2017. In a keynote address, Kaveh Zahedi, ESCAP, highlighted that the roadmap is the first intergovernmentally agreed, member State-driven, regional guide for implementing the 2030 Agenda. He stressed the need to enhance the speed and scale of implementing the Roadmap. Member States shared examples of implementation in their respective countries, such as: the design of elementary school curricula on climate change in Indonesia; grid intensification and extension for rural electrification in India; and programmes to promote women in business in Papua New Guinea.

Member States’ deliberations were captured in a draft report and Chair’s summary (ESCAP/RFSD/2018/L.2), which was adopted at the close of the meeting. Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP Executive Secretary, said the summary will be presented at the 74th Commission session of ESCAP, and to the 2018 HLPF, among other global dialogues on sustainable development. With outgoing APFSD Chair Ihsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Pakistan, and Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, she reaffirmed the role of the Forum as a key platform for advancing sustainable development in the region.

The meeting also included the launch of ESCAP’s ‘SDG Help Desk,’ a platform providing access to a knowledge base, data portals and e-learning resources. In addition, ESCAP launched two reports. The UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) in Tokyo and ESCAP jointly prepared the report titled, ‘Partnering for Sustainable Development: Guidelines for Multi-stakeholder Partnerships to Implement the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific,’ which provides guidelines for Member States, policy makers and others for strengthening partnerships to accelerate progress toward the 2030 Agenda.

ESCAP, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) jointly published ‘Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies in Asia and the Pacific,’ which describes four types of resilience capacities. The joint report argues that countries in Asia and the Pacific must build resilience to natural hazards and invest in social protection systems if the region is to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

The Fifth APFSD was preceded by a youth forum, a civil society forum (“People’s Forum”) and several workshops, including capacity building for countries that are submitting their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to the HLPF. [ESCAP Opening Press Release] [ESCAP Closing Press Release] [IISD RS coverage of Fifth APSFD] [Report Webpage on ‘Partnering for Sustainable Development’] [Full Text of ‘Partnering for Sustainable Development’] [Press Release on ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific’ Report] [Full Text of ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific’]


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