10 May 2018
Africa Regional Forum Agrees on Over 50 Messages for HLPF
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The fourth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development agreed on over 50 key messages for the 2018 HLPF related to SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17.

An all-day workshop focused on strengthening voluntary national reviews and reporting on the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

ARFSD 2019 will be held in Morocco.

6 May 2018: The fourth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development agreed on key messages to the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The meeting report includes over 50 key messages pertaining to SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 15 (life on land) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals).

The ARFSD convened in Dakar, Senegal, from 3-4 May 2018, with pre-event workshops meeting on 2 May. Over 300 representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, and Major Groups and other Stakeholders attended the Forum, which convened under the theme, ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.’

On SDG 6, the ARFSD calls on governments to improve access to appropriate technologies and enhance capacity in the water sector. It also calls for creating an enabling environment through better water governance regimes, with institutional arrangements that recognize the interdependence of water usage among competing sectors and that make use of cross-sectoral planning. The ARFSD calls on governments to invest more in: settlement and urban planning, potable water access points in rural communities and improved sanitation facilities to eliminate open defecation and ensure appropriate waste management; and both soft and hard climate-proofed water infrastructure to ensure sustained water supply, enhance adaptation to seasonal variability in precipitation and build resilience to climate change-induced impacts, including slow-onset impacts.

On SDG 7, the ARFSD calls on governments to: put in place coherent policies and an enabling environment to leverage limited public resources to mobilize private sector investment, including from domestic resources, capitalizing on the decrease in the cost of renewable energy technology; develop in-country human and institutional capacities for energy planning and management and greater private sector engagement; ensure that climate resilience is fully integrated into the planning and implementation of energy infrastructure and investment, especially for hydropower systems; and systematically prioritize energy efficiency in all sectors and capitalize on quick wins in energy efficiency, recognizing that energy efficiency gains enhance access.

On SDG 11, the ARFSD proposes that: the role of urbanization in driving inclusive growth needs to be strategically integrated into national development planning; strategic investments in urban infrastructure and services, including energy, transport, water, sanitation and waste management, will enhance the potential of cities to facilitate sustainable development in Africa; cities and their local authorities must consider climate change in policy frameworks; and land-use and spatial planning policies, backed by the necessary legislation and governance mechanisms are essential to ensuring that the evolving urban form of Africa’s growing cities is sustainable.

On SDG 12, the ARFSD calls for: strengthening implementation of sustainable consumption strategies, particularly in sustainable lifestyles, strategic investment in resource-efficient cities, sustainable public procurement and sustainable tourism; safeguarding Africa’s natural resources on which growth is predicated, including through shifting to sustainable public procurement by reducing waste in production and consumption patterns; conducting comprehensive evaluations to reduce inefficiencies in food supply chains and influence underlining behaviors; strengthening scientific capacity regarding the hazardous potential of wastes and materials that are transferred or exchanged within their jurisdictions; accelerating the implementation of the Bamako Convention; and implementing an integrated approach in shifting to sustainable consumption and production (SCP) by involving non-traditional actors such the ministries of planning, economy and finance.

On SDG 15, the ARFSD calls for: recognizing the urgent need for African countries and international partners to increase investment to combat land degradation, support large-scale ecosystem restoration, and to further strengthen efforts to end poaching and the illicit trafficking of wildlife; prioritize tangible national actions and on-the-ground outcomes through landscape-level and cross-sectoral approaches such as Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative and regional programmes on biodiversity and economic development, including the 3S (Sustainability, Security, Stability) Initiative; scaling up funding, capacity development and technology support to achieve National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, land degradation neutrality targets, ecosystem restoration, sustainable forest management programs and other ecosystem management plans; strengthen rights and access to land resources and participative approaches for the management of land, freshwater, forests, and biodiversity by combatting “land grabbing” and implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land Tenure, Fisheries, and Forests, particularly by enhancing access and participation by indigenous people, local communities, women, and youth; developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework that includes harmonized indicators, capacity building, and communication strategies to update targets for SDG 15; and enhancing high-level political commitment by convening a global summit with heads of state to raise the political and economic relevance of biodiversity and ecosystem services for their importance in achieving the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

On SDG 17, key messages focus on: financing for development; science, technology and innovation (STI); capacity building and systemic issues; and trade. On financing for development, participants supported reaffirming that the 2030 Agenda recognizes the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), and called for ensuring that developed countries honor their historic obligations and responsibilities in this regard. They also called to: address illicit financial flows and their negative consequences; ensure adequate funding allocation to projects and programmes for vulnerable groups; and pursue the mainstreaming of innovative mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to strengthen partnerships in sustainable land, forest, and biodiversity management.

On STI, messages included: improving the quality of STI data, access to data, use of technologies to improve data collection, and significantly increasing STI investment to promote technology transfer between African countries through partnerships with the private sector; and developing an African platform for research and innovation exchange to enable the dissemination of SDG-relevant African research and innovation to governments and citizens.

On capacity building and systemic issues, messages included: strengthening national statistical development for data collection; readapting and reorienting national statistical development strategies to consider disaggregating data related to vulnerable populations to ensure no one is left behind; and ensuring that successes and gaps in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 are reflected in impact evaluation and the coordination and planning of long-term policies on the African continent.

An all-day workshop focused on strengthening voluntary national reviews (VNRs) and reporting on the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063. Alessandra Casazza, UN Development Programme (UNDP), noted the 89.2% degree of convergence between the two Agendas. She said this convergence simplifies the Agendas’ integration and implementation. Bartholomew Armah, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), discussed the role of UNECA’s Integrated Policy Reporting Tool to validate the quality and extent of integration between the Agendas and national planning frameworks. Country representatives identified successes and challenges in their VNRs, with Senegal describing the Threshold 21 simulation model (T21-Senegal) to analyze and model policy scenarios for SDG implementation in the medium and long-term.

Delegates decided that ARFSD 2019 will be held in Morocco. [IISD RS meeting coverage] [IISD RS summary report] [UNECA press release on meeting] [UNECA press release on outcome] [UNECA press release on closing session]

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