Stakeholders from across South and South-West Asia converge in Kathmandu to scale up efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Over 60 government officials, experts, representatives of think tanks, academia and civil society organizations from nine countries in South and South-West Asia gathered in Kathmandu on 1-2 November 2017 to share perspectives on and identify means of accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the subregion. Organized jointly by the ESCAP and the National Planning Commission of Nepal, the South and South-West Asia Forum on Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals served as a preparatory meeting for the fifth session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) to be held in March 2018 in Bangkok.

The Forum provided a unique platform for a range of stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the theme of the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and APFSD; “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” and discuss successes, challenges and lessons learned two years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Deliberations at the Forum helped contextualize the Agenda and the SDGs, in particular with regards to the network of complementing follow-up and review processes at the global, regional, subregional and national levels, in support of coherent and effective implementation and monitoring.

Inaugurating the Forum, H.E. Dr. Prabhu Budathoki, Hon. Member, National Planning Commission, Nepal stated: “The Forum could mark a milestone for the subregion on its transformative path towards the 2030 Agenda. It creates a platform to take stock of efforts, emerging priorities and national prospects to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the subregion”.
Discussions at the Forum also focused on the Regional Road Map for implementing the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, which was adopted at the Fourth APFSD in 2017 and seeks to promote the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development through regional cooperation in a set of priority areas (in terms both of means of implementation and thematic issues) that support effective pursuit of sustainable development by member States.

More in-depth and lively discussions followed on the HLPF theme of resilience and on opportunities for strengthening regional cooperation to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the subregion, including through multi-stakeholder partnership.

“In light of South Asia’s weight in terms of population, poverty and hunger, it is evident that global progress on the SDGs will rely on the performance of the subregion,” said Mr. Michael Williamson, Head of Office, a.i., ESCAP South and South-West Asia Office. “The collective action of key actors - member States, international and subregional organizations, academia, civil society organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders will be crucial. It is our shared opportunity and responsibility to ensure progress is achieved, at a time when regional cooperation is facing specific constraints in the subregion. Of the five subregional forums ESCAP conducted, this Forum perhaps has the most critical bearing on the global achievement of the SDGs.”

The Forum was one of a series of five preparatory meetings convened ahead of the fifth APFSD in different subregions of Asia-Pacific.

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