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Arab Consultative Meeting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Gammarth, Tunisia

"The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS) and the United Nations Environment Programme/Regional Office for West Asia (UNEP/ROWA), and in collaboration with the Ministry of Equipment and Environment in Tunisia, is organizing an Expert Meeting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be held on 18 and 19 November 2013 in Tunisia.

The meeting aims to consult on the Sustainable Development Goals and post-2015 agenda in light of recent ongoing global consultations on the subject, particularly the outcomes from the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the meetings of the intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs. It also provides a platform to discuss a regional perspective on the SDGs in line with the Arab regional priorities and progress made against the Millennium Development Goals. The meeting will specifically discuss the conceptual issues which will form the basis for shaping/developing the SDGs. It will also pave the way for a regional meeting planned to be held at the beginning of 2014, and which outcome will feed into the next session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which replaced the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2013.

In January 2013, the UN General Assembly established the intergovernmental OWG (which includes representatives from six Arab countries, namelyAlgeria, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates) to prepare a proposal for the SDGs for the 68th Session of the General Assembly.  There is now wide support for a single post-2015 development framework containing a single set of goals that are universally applicable to all countries but adaptable to different national realities and priorities.

With the intergovernmental OWG set to commence the drafting of its proposal on SDGs from February 2014, now is an optimal time for the Arab region to take stock of the emerging international framework and ensure that it remains engaged in international negotiations and processes that are shaping this framework".