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Arab Forum for Sustainable Development to kick off tomorrow with focus on empowering people and ensuring equality in the Arab region

Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut, 8 April 2019 (ESCWA)--Tomorrow, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is welcoming over 300 participants at its headquarters in Beirut for the annual 3-day (9-11 April) Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD). This year’s forum is organized in collaboration with more than 25 partners including the League of Arab States (LAS) around the theme “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality in the Arab Region.”  
With this year’s theme, the AFSD aims to put more effort in making sure to target those who are left behind, in the presence of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed, LAS Secretary-General Ahmad Abul Gheit and other high-level dignitaries.
In addition to Ms. Mohamed and Mr. Abul Gheit, speakers at the opening ceremony will include the Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Ms. Rola Dashti, and the Iraqi Minister of Planning, Mr. Noor Al Dolaimi
“Our region is rich in natural and human resources that enable us to accelerate growth and development,” the Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Ms. Rola Dashti noted. “However, in order to empower millions of young men and women, we need to invest in their education and provide them with adequate healthcare services and productive job opportunities,” she added.
“Our challenges are numerous but our determination is greater. It is one that beholds the youth liveliness, the women’s resolve, and the wisdom of the elderly,” Ms. Dashti concluded.
 “The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development provides a unique opportunity to review where the Arab countries stand, what policy approaches have been developed and to what extent development planning is in line with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development,” said the Chief of the 2030 Agenda Unit of ESCWA, Ms. Karima El Korri.
High-level representatives of Arab governments, regional intergovernmental organizations, civil society networks and organizations, parliamentarians, academic institutions and United Nations agencies working in the Arab region will come together in a space of dialogue among different stakeholders dedicated to fostering a culture of knowledge exchange and a spirit of collaboration and dialogue.
 “The AFSD and the effort that ESCWA puts to strengthen partnership and bring together a broad range of stakeholders is inspiring for all that are engaged in the 2030 Agenda to work together, to think together and to learn from each other,” Ms. El Korri added.
The forum will feature six plenary sessions, nine special sessions, an interactive panel on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), a knowledge fair and workshop-style special events focusing on three main components: (1) global and regional progress including reviews of specific goals; (2) the thematic focus: Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality in the Arab Region; and (3) National, regional and global processes including VNRs and messages to the global summit, as Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Oman, and Tunisia will be presenting their VNRs this year.
According to Ms. El Korri, “2019 is a critical year in the sense that we need to take stock globally of what has been achieved on the 2030 Agenda, and we need to renew commitment to action. We also need to make sure that our countries voice their determination and renewed engagement in achieving development that is beneficial to all and to our planet.”
The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development is the primary regional mechanism for the follow-up and review on the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Its findings and recommendations, conveying key messages from the Arab region and its countries, are submitted to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).
In addition to the HLPF, which will take place in July, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a UN SDG Summit will be held under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (GA) in September 2019 in New York.
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For more information:
-Nabil Abu-Dargham, Head, ECIU, +961-70-993-144; email:
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