Kingdom of Bahrain Hosts Second Session of Arab High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development

Apr 20, 2015

Beirut-Manama,  Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Manama is hosting the Second Session of the Arab High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD) during the period 5-7 May 2015, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

High level Arab governmental representatives from the finance, economic, social, environment and technology sectors whose work is directly concerned with sustainable development issues will be participating in the Forum, in addition to UN development agencies active in the region, Arab development banks, specialized agencies of the League of Arab States and regional civil society organizations that are involved in sustainable development issues.

The Forum is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in cooperation with the League of Arab States (LAS), and supported by UNDP CO of Bahrain.

Forum Objectives: Regional Position

The AFSD supports regional preparations to the 2015 sessions of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that will be held in New York, from 26 June to 8 July 2015. The AFSD  will mirror in its overall structure the HLPF’s theme: “integration, implementation and review.”

Taking stock of the global processes leading to the formulation of the post-2015 development  agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in light of the afore-mentioned Arab Summit decision, ministerial meetings and Arab declarations, the AFSD aims to exchange perspectives on where the Arab region stands vis-à-vis the SDGs. Discussions will be based on an analysis of current regional status and trends as presented in the findings of the executive summary of the Arab Sustainable

Development Report, which was drafted jointly by all entities of the UN System in cooperation with LAS, and will highlight regional implementation challenges. The Forum also aims to increase knowledge on financing for sustainable development. Discussions will be based on an analysis of the financing gap in the Arab region and new and innovative financing supply streams at the global and regional levels. This event will initiate a dialogue on the future steps for SDG monitoring and evaluation and the institutional frameworks required for adequate planning, implementation, review and reporting at the regional level.

In addition, focus will be given to the science-policy interface and national capacity-building needs to enable adequate assessment of SDG progress within the context of the anticipated data revolution.

Scope and Focus Areas

The AFSD will discuss the core issues on the agendas of the international conferences considered by the United Nations Secretary-General as major milestones for the development horizon to 2030. These events include: the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development due to take place in Addis Ababa in July 2015; the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in New York in September 2015; and the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris in December 2015. Discussions will be informed by the first edition of the Arab Sustainable Development Report (ASDR) and a paper on financing sustainable development in the Arab region, which will be shared with participants prior to the Forum.

The scope of the Manama Forum will also cover issues of human security and human rights approaches to sustainable development, which hold particular importance to the Arab region in view of the critical and unprecedented transformations that the region is witnessing at the political, economic, social and environmental levels. The Forum will also look into the reform of development planning and policy design systems, the adoption of evaluation and follow-up mechanisms in light of the data revolution, and building the capacities of development partners in the preparation of national sustainable development reports according to internationally agreed approaches and standards.

The AFSD is one of five regional fora that were established by the United Nations Regional Commissions, including ESCWA, in accordance with the mandate given to them by the UN General Assembly in its decision 67/290 on 09/07/2013, which recognized the importance of the regional dimension of sustainable development.

Contact information

For your queries in Beirut, kindly contact the ESCWA Communication and Information Unit (ECIU) on either of
the following numbers:

Mr. Nabil Abu Dargham: +961-70-993144,;  
Ms. Maryam Sleiman: +961-03-910 930,;  
Ms. Mirane Abi-Zaki: +961-76-04 64 02,  

Please direct your emails to:
Tweets and updates of ESCWA events can be found on: @ESCWACIU, and
For your queries in Manama, Bahrain, kindly contact:

Ms. Marie Daher Corthay
Regional Information and Outreach Specialist
United Nations Environment Programme
Mobile: +973 36 955 988
Office: +973 178 12 795

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