Beirut, 22 July 2021 (ESCWA)--The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) took part in the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), held from 6 to 15 July under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, with the participation of more than 1000 representatives from Governments, businesses and civil society organizations.
In her capacity as Coordinator of the UN five Regional Commissions for 2021, ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti delivered a statement in the plenary session on “The SDGs in time of crisis: a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 as an opportunity to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, held on 6 July.
“We are not on track in achieving the SDGs and COVID-19 has compounded the problem… today’s focus must be on undertaking transformative policies and mobilizing domestic resources to meet people’s needs, achieve the Global Goals and recover better, with resilience, inclusion, sustainability, and solidarity as our signposts,” she said.
A plenary session on Messages from the Regions highlighted where the five regions stand in advancing implementation of the SDGs and the priorities for action in each region. ESCWA coordinated the submission of the Arab region key messages that emanated from the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021 (AFSD). The key messages were presented by the Chair of the AFSD, Faisal F. Al-Ibrahim, Minister of Economy and Planning in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who reiterated the Arab countries’ commitment to the 2030 Agenda and its principles, as an essential enabler of recovery from COVID-19. Dashti shed light on policy tools and regional actions that ESCWA is undertaking to help member states reduce poverty and inequality, expand their fiscal space and achieve prosperity and dignity for all. Private sector and civil society representatives from the region shared their perspectives and presented solutions on the ground.
On the sidelines of the HLPF, ESCWA and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) co-organized an event on the potential of intra- and inter-regional South-South Cooperation in advancing more inclusive and sustainable social protection systems in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The event discussed social protection policies in the Arab region as a structural entry point for poverty alleviation, inequality reduction and for building resilience of individuals and societies.
In cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), ESCWA launched the COVID-19 Stimulus Tracker, a pioneering tool which gathers, in one dynamic digital platform, all government support measures related to social protection and economic policies. This global observatory facilitates the comparison and analysis of the efficiency of those measures and identifies their beneficiaries to help pinpoint those left behind.
ESCWA also partnered with DESA in organizing a side-event that discussed the role of debt-relief instruments in financing a sustainable recovery. In her opening remarks, Dashti highlighted the Debt Swap/Donor Nexus Initiative of ESCWA, an innovative financing mechanism that offers win-win results for debtor and creditor countries to deliver on the SDGs and the Paris Agreement commitments.
The UN Regional Commissions co-organized with RCNYO a Voluntary National Review (VNR) Lab that focused on innovative approaches in support of inclusiveness and multi-stakeholder participation in the VNR preparatory process, during which two ESCWA member States, Egypt and Iraq, featured their national experiences.
The HLPF is the core UN platform that follows-up and reviews the actions taken to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level and chart the way forward. The Forum provides an opportunity for participants to highlight undertaken efforts to achieve the SDGs, while exchanging ideas and best practices.
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