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2016 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development


2016 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

2016 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development
Photo credit: Bigstock

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will convene the second session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 2016) on 17-19 May, in Cairo, Egypt.

The ARFSD 2016 will meet on the theme “Ensuring inclusive and integrated implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063”.

This year’s conference will take place against the backdrop of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030, where African leaders, along with other world leaders, recommitted themselves to the pursuit of a more sustainable development pathway.

In this context, African countries are confronted with a dual transition: a global level transition from the Millennium Development Goals to Agenda 2030; and a regional level transition to Agenda 2063. By signing onto Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, African member States demonstrated commitment to the implementation and follow-up on both agendas.

The regional forum will be the first following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015 and will therefore focus on the integration of Africa’s transformation blueprint, Agenda 2063, with Agenda 2030 to ensure seamless implementation of the two.

The conference will deliberate on pertinent issues of how countries can harmonise frameworks and establish common mechanisms of implementation, monitoring and evaluation to achieve Africa’s collective goals of sustainable development and transformation. A common development framework for Africa has the potential to be a powerful driver of sustainable pro-poor growth in African countries.

The Forum will engage member States, United Nations institutions and other institutions, major groups and other stakeholders on regional priorities for the implementation of the two agendas 2030.

The minerals and extractive sector has for a long time operated as an enclave economy, and therefore constitutes a litmus test that if integration can be achieved in embedding the sector into broader sustainable development, then the problem of integration is not insurmountable.

Given this opportunity that the mineral sector provides to promote the integrated implementation of the two agendas, the Forum theme will also enable countries to highlight the significance of inclusion in the sustainable development of the sector and examine how the sector could contribute to the mobilization of domestic resources for the implementation of the two agendas.

Given the multi-stakeholder nature of the Forum, the theme is also closely aligned with that of the recently concluding ninth Joint Annual Meetings of ECA and AUC, to allow all stakeholders to engage with, uptake and build on the key decisions and messages of the meetings. This augurs well for coherence in Africa’s voice with regard to the implementation, follow-up and review of the two agendas.

APFSD 2016 will be preceded by two preparatory events. The outcomes of both pre-meetings will be presented at the Forum:

  • Consultative meeting between Africa’s major groups and stakeholders

  • Experts group meeting of Member states that have already begun domesticating the two agendas.

High-level panel discussion: Opportunities and challenges in achieving inclusive and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063

The purpose of this session is to set the scene for the deliberations of the Forum by flagging the key issues pertaining to the theme of the Forum and suggesting options for addressing them. Under this agenda item, a panel of high-profile policymakers from different backgrounds, such as economic and social development, natural resources management, mineral development and financing for development, will gather to discuss and share their views on the opportunities and challenges in achieving inclusive and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.

The natural resource sector remains a bridge for bringing the three dimensions of sustainable development together and constitutes the greatest opportunity to align the two agendas, given its implications for inclusiveness, growth and prosperity. Indeed, Africa’s efforts to achieve structural transformation cannot be achieved without natural resource management, one of the main conduits for measuring progress.

Plenary and breakout sessions

There will be seven plenary sessions built around the main sub-themes and other issues integral to the Forum. All the plenary sessions will be supported by background reports. Following the discussions on the themes and reports from the pre-meetings, there will be parallel breakout sessions to examine the draft key messages. The main sessions are briefly discussed below.

  1. The transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals: The presentation and discussions of this session will be based on the background report that outlines the extent to which the Millennium Development Goals were achieved in the region, the unfinished business, and the attendant challenges and lessons learned. The session will be an opportunity for discussion on effective ways forward and reporting on the progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  2. Inclusive transformation for sustainable development: The impressive economic growth that African countries have posted for more than a decade has been described as being non-inclusive. The continent needs to promote economic diversification based on inclusive and efficient utilization of its natural resources, including minerals. Inclusion is particularly important because it is recognized that the prosperity generated through Africa’s natural resources-driven development has not been shared equitably. This session will discuss key issues, identify and articulate policy directions and actions to achieve inclusion, and ensure that inclusiveness underpins and is followed through in the process of integrated implementation, follow-up and review of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda in Africa.

  3. Integrated results framework: This session will be informed by a presentation on the integrated results framework adopted at the ninth Joint Annual Meetings of ECA and AUC. The Forum will discuss ways forward to effectively deploy the framework to guide the mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 into national strategic frameworks.

  4. Integrated implementation: It is important that countries’ development plans are adapted for the implementation of the two agendas. This session will hear a presentation of key issues and the required actions and means of implementation to achieve effective integrated implementation of the two agendas. In this regard, it is important to highlight the opportunities that the development of the minerals sector provides for generating and mobilizing domestic resources for the implementation of the two agendas.

  5. Integrated follow-up and review: Follow-up and review is an important requirement for both agendas so as to assess progress, share lessons learned and identify measures and policy actions to accelerate implementation. The applicable forums and timeframes for follow-up and review are defined for both agendas. This session will discuss the actions required to achieve integrated follow-up and review in order to reduce the burden on countries ensure mutual learning and accelerate the implementation of the two agendas.

  6. Reports of the pre-meetings: This session will consist of brief presentations on the outcomes of the meeting of African countries participating in the High-level Political Forum review process and the meetings of major groups. Valuable lessons learned and perspectives from these meetings will inform the key messages to be agreed upon by the Forum.

  7. Consideration of the draft key messages: During this session, the participants will refine, finalize and agree on the key messages emanating from the parallel breakout group for submission to the High-level Political Forum.

The conclusions and recommendations of the Forum will strengthen national governments implementation efforts and, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 67/290, will also inform the global debate at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which will be convened in New York during July 2016.


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