Zimbabwe will next year host a forum which tracks progress on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becoming the first country in Southern Africa to host the event, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said.
The 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) will run from February 24 to 27 in Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe was chosen to host the forum at the 5thmeeting in Marrakech where delegates “found it fit that Zimbabwe should host the next forum, according to Oliver Chinganya, UNECA director for African Centre for Statistics and Officer in Charge of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division.
Chinganya led a four-member team from UNECA which held talks with officials from the ministries of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare and Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Briefing journalists Chinganya said his team was in Zimbabwe to launch discussions for preparations on the forum which is a mechanism in which countries review progress on SDGs.
“The forum is intended to help countries to review progress on SDGs and peer review each other on how they are faring and come up with strategic policies to implement the SDGs,” he said.
Chinganya said it was an “honour” that Zimbabwe took the responsibility to host the event.
“We will work with Zimbabwe to ensure that the forum is a success and it comes with outcomes that allow changes to take place in Africa.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade acting permanent secretary Pavelyn Musaka said the hosting of the event by Zimbabwe dovetails with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
“Zimbabwe is open to host any regional, continental and international conference in any of the 10 provinces she said.
According to UNECA, the ARFSD seeks to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 agenda and the goals set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063.
The Forum does so by providing a multi-stakeholder platform for follow-up and review of implementation progress and challenges, strengthening learning and advocating effective policy measures and actions to achieve the goals of the two agendas,” UNECA said.
“In so doing the regional forum makes important contributions to strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement and synergies, and thus promoting concerted efforts to implement and achieve the development goals of the two mutually reinforcing agendas.”
The SDGs came into force in January 2016.
In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs.
The SDGs build on the success of Millennium Development Goals and aim to go further to end all forms of poverty.