The UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), represented by its Regional Director, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, participated the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development’s sixth session in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on the 24-27th of February, 2020. Periphery to the Forum was a preparatory meeting of UNESCO and its partners, moderated by Mr. Sanga, under the theme, "Accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ESCAP and leaving no one behind". This meeting aimed to formulate plausible recommendations for accelerating progress towards the achievement of SDO 4 and ESCAP, build a coalition of partners for the preparation of an annual report on education in Africa (SDO 4-CESA Monitoring Report) and finally, mobilize resources and funding opportunities targeting the countries that are furthest behind.
We are here today to discuss our current position in the collective efforts to support Member States in achieving the MDG4 goals for quality education, how we can accelerate progress and our focus on ensuring no-one is left behind. While there is no doubt that governments and Member States bear the primary responsibility for this endeavour (...) our collective and immediate attention is required for the timely implementation of ODD4 to improve effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting and rapid action.
The theme of this year's Forum was: "2020-2030: A Decade for a Transformed and Prosperous Africa within the framework of Programme 2030 and Programme 2063". On this occasion, stakeholders - including Heads of State, government officials, representatives of various African countries, UN agencies in Africa, governmental and inter-governmental agencies and technical experts- are convened annually by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations system.
Without peace, security and stability, the prosperity of Africa will remain limited. Without peace and security, the promise to leave no-one behind will remain but a promise. Once again, all will remain mere talk.
Overall, the meeting aimed to analyse progress, share experiences, discuss lessons learned over the years and build consensus on recommendations in the form of key messages to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda to 2030 and the African Union Agenda 2063. The overall objective was to conduct regional monitoring, review progress, facilitate peer learning and suggest transformative solutions and actions to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development goals and the objectives of Agenda 2063.
Success is possible, but only if we are more ambitious, more mobilized and create more solutions. Currently, no country is on track to achieve the MDGs by 2030, therefore each and every one of us must show more ambition. This starts with national plans, policies, budgets and institutions that are commensurate with what it will take to achieve universal access to quality social services and an economy that can provide a decent job for all.
The sessions covered several topics ranging from progress at regional and sub-regional levels, to the use of technology in Africa to achieve SDOs and promote peace. Several key proposals and messages were identified, including policy recommendations and United Nations system plans to further the conclusions of the Regional Forum and support Member States, regional economic communities and the African Union in achieving SDOs, Agenda 2063 and other African Union priorities. In this respect, the President of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa, stressed that the sustainable development challenges facing the African continent require everyone to share experiences and responsibilities in order to achieve a common vision and implementation framework.