IISD-5th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 5) Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality
On Thursday morning, 18 April 2019, ARFSD 5 delegates heard reports from the parallel sessions discussing Africa’s input to the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- SDG 4 (quality education), which noted the need to include sustainable development in school curricula, and improve educational material and methods for children with special needs;
- SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), which called for recognizing the contribution of the informal sector and further collaboration with private sector in job-targeted training;
- SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), which cautioned against inequalities caused by caste systems that encourage modern forms of slavery, and recommended ensuring hygiene facilities to enhance girl’s school attendance;
- SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), which recommended conflict resolution through dialogue and greater involvement of human rights organizations;
- SDG 13 (climate action), which discussed mobilizing funds for climate-resilient policies; and
- SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), which recommended, in particular, the removal of trade barriers within Africa and the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Delegates also heard recommendations of the First African Science and Technology Innovation (STI) Forum, which convened prior to ARFSD 5, including, inter alia: providing opportunities for young African innovators; financing research and development; developing STI infrastructure; good governance to ensure fair application of technologies; and scaling up institutional skills.
Zimbabwe offered, and delegates accepted, to host the sixth session of the Forum in 2020 in Victoria Falls. They adopted the Summary and Key Messages of ARFSD 5, with any further edits and messages to be forwarded to the Secretariat for inclusion in the document. Delegates also adopted the Marrakech Declaration, which, among other things, reaffirmed the region’s commitment to SDG implementation and welcomed the establishment of the Congo Basin, Sahel and Island States Climate Commissions at the 2016 UN Climate Conference.
During closing remarks, Giovanie Biha, deputy Executive Secretary, ECA, drew attention to the unprecedented large number of attendees, over 800 hundred participants from 51 countries, and praised the gender equality of the current Bureau. She concluded by reaffirming Morocco’s commitment, as the Bureau Chair, towards the progress of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 in Africa.