Marrakesh — After three days of intense deliberations the fifth session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD5) came to a close in the historic imperial city that gave Morocco its name, Marrakech.
Also known as the "Red City" Marrakech, which has a long and rich heritage of development through integration and trade going back almost a thousand years, played host to more than 500 participants drawn from across Africa and beyond.
During the official opening of the forum, Nezha El Ouafi, who is the Morocco's Secretary of State in charge of Sustainable Development, urged delegates to adopt outcomes that "would help to ensure the resilience of the continent and reinforce the potential commitment of its human capital, cultural diversity and unique ancestral knowledge on sustainability."
Her passionate plea was achieved as the forum, which also undertook a solutions focused review on the progress made in achieving the global 2030 development plan and Agenda2063, agreed on key messages and policy recommendations on six goals of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
In coming up with the critical recommendations, a knowledge-distillation process filtered through the outcomes and deliberations of some 28 preparatory and side event meetings, coupled with expert group panels. These parleys which were divided into sub-themes covered six of the 17 SDGs, notably inclusive quality education, promotion of decent work, all-encompassing economic growth, reduced inequalities, scaling up climate change, peace, justice and strong institutions alongside the strengthening of partnerships for sustainable development.
"Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality" was the theme of this year's ARFSD which sought for home-grown approaches and is aligned to that of the 2019 high-level political forum.
It is estimated that to achieve the SDGs Africa will need a financing package of between $614billion and $613 billion annually. This monumental target was one among several that kept experts busy as they deliberated on smarter, workable and efficient ways to raise capital to facilitate the realisation of the development goals that would ensure no one in the continent "is left behind.
Outcomes of ARFSD-5 will now feed into the 2019 high level political forum, slated for July 2019 in New York and the first Sustainable Development Goals Summit that is coming up in September.
Boosting the private sector, integrating Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda, transformation of rural economies, adoption of rulebook for the Paris Agreement on climate change, modernization of agriculture, global compact on migration and integrated mobilization of domestic resources are some of the key messages that were agreed at ARFSD-5.
"The regional forum provided a platform for peer learning, including sharing approaches, experiences and lessons learned towards actualizing sustainable development goals." Giovanie Biha, the deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa said.