Delegates of African countries have voted for Morocco to lead the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) during the 5th meeting of this regional body convening in Marrakech April 16-18 under the theme: “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
The North African Kingdom will chair ARFSD for one year and will be responsible for submitting the recommendations of the Marrakech meeting to the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) due next July in New York.
The 5th African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, convened under the under high patronage of King Mohammed VI, is organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with regional organizations and the United Nations System. It seeks to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and the goals set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063.
During the opening ceremony of the ARFSD meeting, Head of Moroccan Govt. Saad Eddine El Othmani called on Africa to unite and fight its developmental challenges with one voice and determination.
El Othmani said the continent urgently needs to formulate a common stand on key global issues it is facing, in particular climate change which, he said, is stalling Africa’s efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals and Agenda 2063 which carries the continent’s developmental aspirations.
The Head of the Moroccan Govt said: “We must leave no stone unturned to ensure we succeed as a continent. We need to step-up our partnerships and rise above our challenges. Empowering our people and populations and bringing greater quality is of utmost importance.”
“We are convinced that we need to combine our efforts to strengthen our endeavor as Africans if we want to move with a vengeance to implement the SDGs and attain them,” the Moroccan Head of Government said, adding: “We have high hopes that we will be able to build a decent Africa through effective planning, putting in place relevant policies and actions with our young people as our assets, ready to embrace the future. All we need to do is move forward with more determination and resolve.”
El Othmani voiced Morocco’s commitment to work with African countries to come up with an effective plan to address the challenges of climate change and the implementation of the two development Agendas – 2030 and 2063.
For her part, Economic Commission for Africa’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanie Biha, said achieving the SDGs and effectively ensuring that no one is left behind requires “urgent and concrete measures across the board.”
She highlighted the need for corrective actions to redesign and calibrate Africa’s economies, as well as drive and catalyze sustainable development outcomes. She also stressed the need for bold and transformational leadership to capitalize on megatrends of population growth, a growing middle class, rapid urbanization and industrialization, climate change, and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and called for strategies to create the enabling environment for greater participation of non-state actors, particularly the private sector and civil society.
“We also need greater investments in national statistics for monitoring, evaluation and reporting of development indicators,” said Mrs. Giovanie.
Outcomes of ARFSD V will feed into the 2019 session of the High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.
The ARFSD outcomes will also be used for policy advocacy, formulation and implementation at regional and national levels.