Roundup: Imminent Africa sustainable dev't forum in Zimbabwe attracts senior UN officials

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ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Friday said that the upcoming Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-2020), slated to be held from Feb. 24 to 27 in Zimbabwe, has attracted senior UN officials including the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed into the South African country.

Noting that the high-level continental forum, among other things, will provide a platform for peer learning and exchange, with particular emphasis on the implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN-ECA emphasized in a statement issued Friday that the continental gathering would inject a crucial impetus to drive Africa's momentum towards realizing sustainable development across the continent.

According to the ECA, this year's edition of the ARFSD, which will be held in Zimbabwe's resort town of Victoria Falls next week under the theme "2020-2030: A Decade to deliver a transformed and prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063," will bring "all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the spotlight."

The UN deputy chief, who is set to arrive in Zimbabwe on Saturday, will on Feb. 24 attend an African youth engagement forum for the decade of action which is calling on nations to accelerate implementation of the sustainable development goals, it was noted.

"The continental forum, dubbed 'The UN at 75 - The Future is Now', will allow Mohammed and other senior UN officials like Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the ECA, to interact with the youth, and seeks to inspire them, especially young African girls, that they can actively contribute to shape the present they live in and the future they want," an ECA statement read.

The ECA, noting that experts and policymakers attending the forum will discuss the collective actions that are needed around youth and women empowerment in Africa, also stressed that the meeting is expected to increase interest and determination from young African leaders, in particular young ladies, to be active global citizens, and to contribute to the advancement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and Africa's 50-year continental development Agenda 2063 in their communities and at the global level.

It also said that the youth empowerment-themed gathering will contribute the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) youth forum to be held in New York in April; to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the UN's 75 anniversary in September and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

The UN Deputy Secretary-General and other senior UN officials are also expected to take part in a special session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa), which is an inter-agency meeting held annually to improve cooperation and coordination among the organizations of the UN system.

Mohammed and other senior UN officials will also attend the first-ever meeting of UN regional coordinators on the African continent that will bring together all UN regional coordinators, which will be held in Victoria Falls on the margins of the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD).

"The forum will allow the continent to take stock of where Africa is in terms of implementing the two agendas and come up with actions needed to accelerate implementation to ensure no-one is left behind," an ECA statement read.

The ARFSD-2020 is intended to be an action-oriented Forum for stakeholders to explore, gain insight into, share and agree on sets of concrete and workable actions that will enable the African countries to achieve set targets within the set time, it was noted.

Amid the approaching high-level continental sustainable development-themed gathering, Oliver Chinganya, Officer in Charge of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division at the ECA, had recently stressed that the meeting "is very important as it helps us take stock of where the continent is in terms of implementing the SDGs."

"Presently we are not doing very well. We are lacking in many areas. There are a lot of holes, especially when you look at data be it on poverty or climate change. So the 2020 Forum needs to spur ambitious actions to help us deliver on all the goals as Africa," said Chinganya, who is also Director of the ECA's African Centre for Statistics. Enditem

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