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Download logo“Current growth trajectories suggest that many countries will fail to achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline,” said Jean-Paul Adam, Director of Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The ECA director underscored the importance of “reconstructing our socioeconomic systems by leveraging opportunities presented by green and low carbon development trajectories with a view to building a resilient, inclusive and sustainable Africa.” It is against this backdrop that deliberations at the seventh Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD2021) will evolve around the theme “Building forward better: towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.” The regional forum is an annual ECA event aimed at advancing an integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. It serves as a multi-stakeholder platform for follow-up and review of progress and challenges in the implementation of the two Agendas, while strengthening learning and advocating effective policy measures and actions. Mr. Adam noted that “If we are to leave no one behind, a whole-of-society approach is needed,” together with concerted and ambitious efforts to transform our world during the 10-year window provided by the decade of action to deliver on the SDGs. ARFSD2021 will take place on 1 – 4 March 2021 as a hybrid event, given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The pandemic continues to unmask and exacerbate deeply entrenched vulnerabilities, gaps, and inequalities within countries. In Africa, in particular, it has severely tested countries’ social, economic, political, and environmental resilience, exacting a massive toll on the poor and most vulnerable and jeopardising decades of hard-won development gains. “The COVID-19 crisis is playing out against the backdrop of hitherto unseen climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Mr Adam who also emphasised that the climate crisis should not be treated as distinct from the health and economic crises instigated by the pandemic because “the three crises and their solutions are interconnected.” Climate change is projected by the African Climate Policy Centre of the ECA to cost African countries between 2 and 5 per cent of GDP by 2030. The continent lost about 3.9 million hectares of forests each year – higher than any other continent – between 2010 and 2020.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).