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Update on UNECE Regional Forum for Sustainable Development

The UNECE Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (RFSD) will be held in Geneva on 21-22 March, preceded by a Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) Civil Society Pre-Meeting on 20-21 March.

Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (RFSD)

Speakers for the RFSD include Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General; Olga Algayerova, the UNECE Executive Secretary; and Michael Møller, the Director of the United Nations Office at Geneva. The opening will be followed by a High-level Segment. A short intervention (3 min) can be made in the plenary debate (Thursday, 21 March, 17:00-18:00) to report back the key messages from the CSO pre-meeting.

An important component of the RFSD is the Peer learning round tables, which will be based on the case studies that have been submitted by governments and also by CSOs. Two seats at each roundtable will be reserved for CSOs. Among the case studies to be ‘show-cased’ is a CSO case study from Moldova and one on SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and between countries. It may also be possible for CSOs that have submitted case studies to make comments (no more than 3  minutes) from the floor. Such comments should contribute to the discussion, rather than being a more formal presentation. They can, for example, be used to suggest solutions, results or to give key messages.

There will also Focus Events on Technology, Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence – Curse or Blessing For Sustainable Development? And How to Measure Progress? Data and Statistics for SDGs. One CSO lead discussant per focus event can react to the plenary discussions in a short intervention (3min).

It will be important for CSOs, both those attending the RFSD and those who are not, to encourage their national delegations to make linkages with the outcomes of ICPD UNECE Regional Conference.

The final session will focus on Connecting the Dots: Moving Ahead Towards Empowerment, Inclusion and Equality in the Region. A short intervention can be made in the closing of the Regional Forum (Friday, 22 March, 17:30-18:00).

Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) Civil Society Pre-Meeting to the UNECE RFSD

The Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) Civil Society Pre-Meeting to the UNECE RFSD will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. On the first day, as can be seen in the preliminary agenda the RCEM will consider the five SDGs under review (SDG 4 on education; SDG 8 on economic growth and employment; SDG 10 on reducing inequalities; SDG 13 on climate change; SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies) and SDG17 on means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

UN agencies and convention secretariats will update on the AARHUS convention,  human rights, 1325 Women and Peace; the UNECE ICPD Monitoring Framework and the UNFCCC – PA and GAP. There will also be sessions on the HLPF including accountability mechanisms in countries, as well as on the status of voluntary national reviews from CSOs in VNR countries with working groups on various topics. The following countries will be making their first reports in 2019: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom and Moldova and for the second time: Azerbaijan and France.

The second day will focus on Agenda 2030 -- Challenges and Perspectives including the indicator frameworks; the UNGA 74th session; UNEA4, Beijing+25 and Financing for Development process and the Regional CSO engagement mechanism.

Youth Forum

An online consultation is currently ongoing with participants from the region participating  to identify challenges and solutions. There will be a Youth Forum immediately before the RFSD and young people are also invited to come to the RCEM.

Richard Huggard