Addis Ababa — All is set for the fifth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) that will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, next week under the theme; Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
ARFSD V, which runs from 16-18 April, is being convened under the under high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
On Monday top Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) officials, led by African Centre for Statistics Director, Mr. Oliver Chinganya, who is also the OIC of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division, met with the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the African Union and the ECA, Mr. Bouchaib Eloumni, to polish-up preparations for the forum.
Coming hard-on-the-heels of the Conference of Ministers that was also held in Marrakesh, Mr. Chinganya said lessons learnt from the recent meeting will not doubt spur both the ECA and Morocco to host a highly successful forum.
"We are very proud of the partnership and the successful Conference of Ministers, including the resolutions that emanated from the meeting. From that experience we can safely say the ARFSD will even be much better," he said.
Mr. Eloumni concurred, adding; "Hosting the forum is part of our commitment as Morocco to the ECA in its efforts to support the African Union Commission, the continent and member States in seeking solutions to their developmental challenges."
The two teams discussed efforts to ensure the ARFSD was a huge success with top resolutions expected to be taken to High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York in July following the Marrakesh meeting.
In an earlier interview ahead of the forum, Mr. Chinganya said the ARFSD was a multi-stakeholder platform that allows member States and experts to discuss progress and challenges they are facing in implementing the SDGs.
"We will seek to address challenges and strengthen partnerships to develop capacity; harness science and technologies and mobilise financial resources to implement the goals," he said, adding Agendas 2030 for sustainable development and 2063 of the African Union will be under spotlight during the forum.
ARFSD V will carry out an in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063.
The forum will also undertake an in-depth review of SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) to address challenges and strengthen partnerships to develop capacity, harness science and technologies and mobilize and scale up finance to implement the goals.
Outcomes of ARFSD V will feed into the 2019 session of the HLPF under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is the United Nations' central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. The HLPF will be held on the same theme as the ARFSD and selected SDGs.
The ARFSD outcomes will also be used for policy advocacy, formulation and implementation at regional and national levels.
For first time the HLPF will also be held in September 2019 under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (SDG or Leaders' Summit), offering Africa an opportunity to articulate its inputs to the Leaders' Summit, including the continent's specific challenges in the implementation of the SDGs, gaps and levers of change to accelerate implementation.
The Head of the Government of Morocco is expected to open the forum. ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, will also address the forum which will be attended by representatives from member States, UN agencies, targeted groups, civil society and others.