The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) is the primary regional mechanism for the follow up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region. AFSD’s outcome formally delivers the voice of the region to the global High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held annually in New York. The report of the Arab Forum sets out key messages emanating from the regional dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda and reports progress on key sustainable development priorities.
This year, the Forum will be held from 29 to 31 March 2021 as the region grapples with and tries to recover from a pandemic that has severely affected the lives and livelihoods of people from all social and economic backgrounds. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth additional challenges to an already faltering progress towards achieving the SDGs in the Arab region.
Regionally, based on a situation analysis of the SDGs in the Arab region, the Arab Sustainable Development Report 2020 (ASDR-2020) sounded the alarm that the region is not on track to achieving the SDGs. The report advised that transformative change across social, economic, political, cultural and environmental dimensions is necessary. The pandemic has further impeded already faltering progress towards achieving the SDGs in the Arab region. While some Arab countries have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, its impact will be felt in the region for years to come on the different dimensions of development. Therefore, the response needed should not only recognize the interlinkages between the economic, social and environmental dimensions but most of all, it should be aligned with the SDGs.
AFSD-2021 will be organized around the theme of “Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”. Its main components are as follows:
Component 1 – Accelerating action on the SDGs in the context of COVID recovery
This component takes stock of regional progress on the 2030 Agenda and includes reviews of specific SDGs, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through plenary sessions, this component will build on the findings of the Arab Sustainable Development Report 2020 and of background notes on the SDGs under review this year. The plenary sessions will also consider the integrated and interlinked nature of the SDGs.
Component 2 – Specialized and priority areas
The Arab Forum will focus on exploring various aspects of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic through specialized areas, priority topics, specific sectors, or by engaging with certain stakeholder groups. Through special sessions, participants will explore solutions to recover better, build resilience to future crises, and accelerate efforts to put the region back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Component 3 – National and regional follow-up and review including the Voluntary National Reviews
In addition to a high-level discussion on the way forward to 2030 and recovery from the pandemic, this component will highlight national and regional follow-up and review processes. At an interactive special event, voluntary national reviews (VNRs) will be discussed as a key national follow-up and review process, with due consideration to regional trends, lessons learned, and the way forward. In 2020, the Comoros, Libya, Morocco and the Syrian Arab Republic submitted their VNRs. The VNRs of Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia are confirmed for 2021.
For additional information and registration details, please refer to the information note