Regional Forums on Sustainable Development and their role in accelerating the SDGs

February 3, 2024

What are the Regional Forums on Sustainable Development?

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires tackling problems that transcend borders, so it is essential that the countries of a region can articulate joint responses and support each other. This is the objective of the Regional Sustainable Development Forums (RSDF). They are of great importance today because, as Cepei’s analyses show, the future of sustainable development is linked to the future of the regional Forums: without strengthening the latter, it will not be possible to move towards the former in a comprehensive and sustained manner over time.

The Regional Forums were born as a decision by UN Member States to find regional spaces to lead discussions on the SDGs. They are now organized by each UN region (Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, and Arab countries).

In addition to seeking to accelerate the SDGs, the Regional Forums enable exchanges between States and non-governmental actors facing similar problems and connect the work being done at the national and global levels. As they are spaces that sit between the two, the regional forums act as channels for systematizing and circulating information from the countries to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and vice versa.

Source: Cepei 2022

Challenges

The potential of the Regional Forums has not been sufficiently exploited. Their capacity to strengthen the work between States in the same region, systematize regional learning, and provide inputs for global discussions has not been fully developed. The consequence is a loss of opportunities.

Source: Cepei 2022

Currently, pressure on multilateral institutions has increased due to multiple crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of the war in Ukraine, and global monetary instability. In our area of interest, in particular, having exceeded half of the deadline set to achieve the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda, the reality shows insufficient progress and even areas of setbacks. It is, therefore, necessary to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the forums and create enabling environments for the participation of all stakeholders.

Analysis of Cepei

With this context in mind, Cepei conducted an analysis of the future of the forums and how to increase their contributions to sustainable development, with emphasis on:

The work developed by Cepei shows that all the forums have carried out activities in a dimension not foreseen in the 2030 Agenda: the strengthening of national institutions for implementing and monitoring the 2030 Agenda. There is ample room to improve the results of the forums in at least five areas:

Recommendations

To promote these changes, Cepei formulated a series of concrete and immediately implementable recommendations to improve the FRDS’s working capacity and interactions with other levels. The recommendations are grouped into five key areas:


References

Cepei. (2022): How do regional forums on sustainable development contribute to the SDGs? https://cepei.org/documents/foros-regionales-desarrollo-sostenible-ods/ 

Cepei. (2023). Our Possible Future: quality of reporting and governance of the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean. Flagship Report 2023. https://cepei.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Informe-Insignia-CEPEI-2023-1.pdf

United Nations (UN). (2021). Our Common Agenda. https://www.un.org/es/content/common-agenda-report/ 

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