The 8th African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD), will champion the continent as a destination of opportunity in line with the targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Core objectives of this year’s forum holding in Kigali, Rwanda, from March 3-5, will include an in-depth appraisal on the implementation of five of the 17 SDGs, on quality education (SDG 4); gender equality (SDG 5), life below water (SDG 14); life on land (SDG 15) and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).
According to the UN, Africa has exhibited extraordinary resilience while confronting the triple crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic recession.
Also the continent has defied seemingly insurmountable yet diverse unnerving political, socio-economic, health and developmental challenges with notable fortitude.
Despite these successes, the continued economic impact of the pandemic is spurring African leaders to also reflect on strategies to revamp the development model that can help African countries collectively achieve the SDGs.
ARFSD is a formal continental podium that derives its mandate from the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and acts as one of three multi-stakeholder platform mechanisms that follow-up on reviews and consolidate actions meant to achieve the SDGs.
The other three platforms complementing the regional forum are the voluntary national reviews (VNRs), undertaken at national level; the voluntary local reviews (VLRs) undertaken at city or local authority level; and the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the global level.
Amalgamating and building up on the gains so far made in realizing Agenda 2030, which was adopted by the UN member states in September 2015, is an obligation of the ARFSD agenda.
Africa has exhibited extraordinary resilience while confronting the triple crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic recession.
The annual forum is co-organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), African Union Commission (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB), the host-nation and sister UN system agencies.
It brings together high-level decision-makers including ministers, experts, policymakers, academia, private sector, civil society and development partners to debate and deliberate on economic and social development progress in the continent.
Primed to include African priorities, the forum integrates the review of the SDGs alongside the AU’s Agenda 2063 development blueprint. ARFSD further advances these two complementary development agendas by adopting a wholesome people-centred and inclusive model to stimulate the synergies and ambitions of sustainable development in the continent.
The Forum themed: “Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063,” in line building momentum towards the “Decade of Action”, to “build forward greener” and fulfil the Paris Agreement’s ambitions, also reflects a new epoch for Africa to accelerate implementation progress.
This implies a new economic model for Africa built on sustainable value creation, and inclusive trade and development, just as the COVID-19 pandemic reflects resilience and recovery through vaccines rollouts, health preparedness and responses to overcome and prevail over its complex development challenges.
The Forum is expected to champion the continent as a destination of opportunity in line with the targets of the five SDGs on the agenda alongside corresponding continental aspirations.