The 7th African regional forum on sustainable development broadly discussed the impacts of COVID-19 in a huge virtual meeting.
Steps have been taken in the midst of uncertainty. Some issues that were addressed in past meetings made a return, this time surrounded by the impacts of the pandemic. In other words, countries still have a big chance to rebuild and strengthen their narrative on sustainable development during the pandemic.
A renewed narrative, referring to the Decade of Action and delivery to build back better is the cornerstone for future SDGs implementation, but is far from being consolidated.
No new vulnerable groups are identified as a result of the economy, social, and environmental impacts of the crisis, even when these were discussed during the meeting. It is hard to believe that the gigantic changes and challenges arising from the pandemic are limited to reinforce the vulnerability of the traditionally well-known vulnerable groups. Some countries may need to refocus to be completely sure they are not leaving any group or community behind.
The pending discussion is how countries will work to align their COVID-19 national recovery plans and the 2030 Agenda, an issue that in the African case should include the African Union 2065 Agenda into consideration. There are not clear clues allowing us to find concrete possible answers to this critical question. Can African countries be able to create and explode synergies between those processes? It is early to say, but the discussion is on. That is probably the main contribution of this forum to the future United Nations High-Level Political Forum work for 2021.