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Over 3000 delegates descended on Victoria Falls over the weekend for the sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development to review progress, share experiences and build consensus on how the Continent can accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Among the delegates are over 30 ministers from across the continent with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs, which recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur inclusive economic growth, while tackling climate change.
Speaking ahead of the Forum, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa expressed appreciation to the Government and people Zimbabwe for the generous offer to host and jointly organize the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the UN System.
“Africa cannot afford not to achieve the Global and Regional Goals because it is the region that would suffer most from such a failure – food insecurity, extreme poverty, and lack of access to clean and modern sources of energy would persist. This would undermine prospects for job creation for millions of youth joining the job market,” she stressed.
Ms. Songwe noted that Africa is off track with regard to meeting the SDGs and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063, within the set time and stated that the Forum presents Africa with a unique opportunity to define a road map for operationalizing a Decade of Action in the context of the region.
“That is why the theme of the Forum is: “2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, which will identify and define concrete opportunities and actions and towards leaving no one behind,” she added.
The sixth session of the ARFSD is the first major regional gathering since the Heads of State and Government proclaimed the 2020s a Decade of Action and Delivery on the goals.
The sessions will address the need to mobilize adequate and well-directed financing; enhance national implementation, including through bolstering local action to accelerate implementation; strengthen institutions for more integrated solutions; reduce disaster risk and build resilience.
Participants will also tackle efforts in harnessing science, technology and innovation and investing in data and statistics for the SDGs.
Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Larry Mavhima, speaking after meeting UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed prior to the start of the Forum, said the country will work with the UN system to ensure successful implementation of the SDGs.
“We have to push the industrialisation and decent work agendas and make sure that we are ready for the ravages of climate change. In all these areas we need international and bilateral partners to help us meet the SDGs,” he said.
Mr. Mavhima, who also met with Ms. Songwe and spoke about the preparations for the Forum expressed his appreciation to the UN for its commitment to support the country in meeting SDG targets.
This year’s ARFSD is intended to be an action-oriented Forum for stakeholders to explore, gain insight into, share and agree on sets of concrete and workable actions that will enable the African countries to achieve set targets within the set time.
The Regional Forum is an intergovernmental platform convened by the ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the United Nations system and the African Development Bank.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).