2021 Regional Forums on Sustainable Development: A place in the world to build forward better

“The forums have clearly demonstrated that sustainable development far outweighs the call for building forward better. In doing so, they have made it clear that the 2030 Agenda is one of the plans that remain relevant (and may even have been strengthened) as it was conceived, before the pandemic. The forums have stated that in order to overcome the effects of COVID-19, we do not need to modify the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda, but rather fulfill them even more intensely than before”. 

Javier Surasky

April 28, 2021

This document by Cepei’s Governance unit presents an analysis of the 2021 Regional Forums on Sustainable Development. 

The analysis made is based on the authors’ real-time monitoring of the forums, their participation in the meetings when possible, the preparatory and adopted documents for each of the regional meetings, along with interviews with key informants in each region and in the United Nations Development System conducted under the Chatham House Rules modality, which prevents their names from being cited here and the statements they may have made. 

Main outcomes

The COVID-19 context: While the forums that were actually held in 2020 operated in this context, this year’s forums are the rst to be planned within the framework of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, impacting the operational aspects of their development.

The role played by the regional economic commissions as the hosts of the regional forums thus gains a new dimension, as they can now be seen as an indispensable building block in the construction of a relevant UN for the post- COVID-19 period.

The lack of balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development has yet to be resolved. There is a clear gap regarding the environmental dimension. For example, greater participacion of environment ministers in the regional forums, is an effective way of rapidly raising discussions related to the environmental dimension.

About the author

Javier Surasky

Ph.D. in International Relations (La Plata National University, Argentina) Master in International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action (International University of Andalucia). He has taught international cooperation courses at different postgraduate careers in Latin America and European universities.