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Regional Commissions’ Dialogue with the Second Committee, 28 October 2016

28 October 2016

UN Regional Commissions charted way for actions and strategic partnerships toward the 2030 Agenda implementation at regional level

Unfavorable global economic conditions, multiple financial crises, mass-scale migration, rising inequality, environmental degradation demand a radical change in the development paradigm. To respond to these and other global challenges, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Member States are already engaged in active discussions in different fora on approaches to implement these goals, not the least in the framework of the UN General Assembly debates.

During the 71st session of the General Assembly, the Second Committee hosted a dialogue between Executive Secretaries of the five UN Regional Commissions and Member States at its 23rd meeting on 28 October, 2016. The Executive Secretaries took stock of the starting positions in their respective regions one year after adopting the SDGs, and highlighted some regional efforts, gaps and challenges. Over the last year, the Regional Commissions had been working to mainstream the 2030 Agenda into national development plans, identify shortcomings in data, strengthen national statistical capacities, establish institutional mechanisms to follow-up and coordinate implementation, raise awareness of the SDGs among key stakeholders, and identify development issues that could be meaningfully tackled on the regional level.

Representatives of Algeria, Brazil, Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, the Russian Federation, Vanuatu, and the European Union made interventions during the dialogue. They explained that Member States benefitted from the technical assistance and policy advice of the Regional Commissions when implementing specific SDGs, including those related to water and sanitation, energy, ICT and trade. They underlined the constructive role the Regional Commissions had in building partnerships, mobilizing financial resources, and coordinating implementation through, inter alia, convening the Regional Fora on Sustainable Development (RFSDs). According to a representative of Mexico, the Latin American and Caribbean Forum on Sustainable Development was the ideal space to exchange views and standardize statistical indicators. Peru and Brazil, on the other hand, discussed the role of the RFSDs in supporting governments to prepare their voluntary national reviews of 2030 Agenda implementation to the annual High-Level Political Forum. Ethiopia and Argentina raised the issue of interregional cooperation, and specifically coordination between Regional Commissions in the fields of data collection and statistics.

In his closing remarks, the Chair of the General Assembly Second Committee, H.E. Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani, stressed that “the experiences of the first year clearly demonstrates that the UN Regional Commissions are instrumental and play an increasingly important role in spearheading UN regional efforts to support their Member States in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda”. It is hoped that the dialogue event will produce further discussion on how the UN Regional Commissions can provide long-term support to their member States in delivering the transformative and ambitious agenda.

The 2030 Agenda stressed the importance of follow-up and review as prerequisites for effective implementation. Moreover, it recognized the significance of the regional dimension of development, and, as a consequence, the important role of regional organizations and platforms for implementation, follow-up and review. The UN Regional Commissions have been assigned explicit and implicit mandates to assist Member States in integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development, provide technical support, and facilitate effective follow-up and review of implementation. In entrusting the Regional Commissions with these mandates, Member States have recognized their universal coverage, convening power, intergovernmental nature, broad-based cross-sectorial mandate, and experience in mobilizing regional consensus on key international agreements.