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The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) brings together Arab Governments and a broad range of stakeholders to address sustainable development priorities from a regional perspective, discuss progress, review national experiences, and enhance the region’s voice at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). It is organized annually by ESCWA, in collaboration with the League of Arab States and other United Nations entities operating in Arab countries. In line with the global theme and focus of the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), AFSD-2023 will discuss solutions and inspire action for accelerating the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region. It will focus on the five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under review in 2023 at HLPF, namely SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation, SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy, SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 17 on partnerships for the Goals. It will also focus on other regional goals and priorities, particularly poverty, inequality and gender equality. AFSD-2023 will be chaired by Bahrain.
11.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Tuesday, 14 March 2023
The contribution of the diverse private sector to the SDGs in the Arab region is not easily captured or obvious. This high-level dialogue looks beyond challenges hampering this contribution to ask: What are the opportunities for stronger engagement? How to ensure the social value of private sector contributions to the SDGs in the region? How is private finance helping to accelerate progress on the SDGs?
2.30 – 4 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Tuesday, 14 March 2023
This session will showcase success stories and innovative solutions, both institutional and technical, for overcoming obstacles to SDG data collection, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises. The session will also highlight the roles of various stakeholders working together to improve SDG monitoring in support of evidence-based policymaking in the Arab region.
9:00 - 10:30 (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
As Arab Governments accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and face the repercussions of the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis, ministries of planning and of finance are under pressure to prioritize actions and resources aimed at achieving the SDGs. Within this context, this high-level plenary session brings together ministries of planning and of finance to galvanize commitment to strengthen coordination between planning and financing processes, with a focus on enhancing fiscal space to achieve the SDGs and reduce inequality
1.30 – 3 p.m.(Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
This session will assess progress in the implementation of SDG 6 in the Arab region, consider the impact of recent crises, and present innovative policy and financing solutions to accelerate the provision of clean water and sanitation for all. As the last stop on the regional roadmap towards the United Nations 2023 Water Conference and the midterm comprehensive review of the Water Action Decade, the session will provide an opportunity to take stock of regional priorities and consolidate regional messaging.
3:15 – 4:15 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
This session will offer a platform for countries submitting voluntary national reviews (VNR) in 2023 to share major SDG successes, concerns, homegrown solutions and critical lessons. It will illustrate VNRs as a tool to accelerate SDG implementation and mobilize partnerships.
4.30 – 6 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
This session will present progress on SDG 7 in the Arab region and innovative policy solutions for accelerating the achievement of affordable and clean energy for all. Panellists will offer insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the energy sector in the Arab region, policy solutions to facilitate just and inclusive energy transitions, and achieving SDG 7 amidst crisis.
9 – 10.30 a.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Thursday, 16 March 2023
This session will focus on sustainable industrial development in the Arab region and integration into value chains. It will shed light on successes from the region during and after the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of maintaining industrial production and recalibrating supply chains, not only at the global level but also those with neighbouring countries. The session will also address industrial investment opportunities and options, and lessons learned from operating under crisis.
2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Thursday, 16 March 2023
This session will assess the implementation status of SDG 11 in the Arab region, and the impact of COVID-19 and other crises on the efforts of Arab countries to make progress on this Goal. Panellists will discuss international commitments, national urban policies and smart digital solutions implemented by municipalities to move towards inclusive urban governance and resilient Arab cities that leave no one and no place behind.
5.30–6.00 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Thursday, 16 March 2023
3:15 – 4:15 p.m. (Beirut Time – UTC+2)
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
The ESCWA Digital Arabic Content (DAC) Award for Sustainable Development is a joint award between ESCWA and the World Summit Awards. Winners of the 2022–2023 DAC Award will be announced for both categories: institutions and young entrepreneurs.
Entreprenelle is the social enterprise that aims to support and empower girls and women financially, through education, training, and giving access to entrepreneurship sources. Entreprenelle has an influence on more than 1,000,000 girls and women all over Africa and the MENA region, by supporting thousands of start-ups by: Spreading awareness: Through a range of activities such as SHE CAN annual event, which is the largest event for supporting women and entrepreneurship in Egypt and the MENA region. Education: Through a diversity of acceleration programs and incubators in a wide range of business fields. Access to resources: By creating integrated communities to share experience and trusted resources, and also by creating partnerships with tycoon entities to help support female entrepreneurs in different sectors. Entreprenelle Services:
LYBOTICS is an active force in the field of robotics and STEM education, empowering more than 1500 students and more than 200 mentors, from more than 15 cities in Libya. We bring “learning by doing” and “having fun” while supporting the teams to build a competition robot from scratch. We invest in kids who are ready to embrace the jobs of tomorrow and the fourth industrial revolution of THE DIGITAL ERA.
Beesline is a beegan skincare brand, meaning that we do not use any animal products with the exception of cruelty-free Bee byproducts. We are committed to safeguarding the bee population by supporting ethical beekeeping and wild bee conservation. One of our most important projects in sustainability to protect Biodiversity Loss is “The Wild Bees Conservation Program” whose main aim is to: offset our carbon emissions, raise awareness on the importance of the wild bees, and protect the wild bee population from extinction. This program currently comprises three projects: 1. Guardians of the Wild: an educational platform and native wild bee-friendly seed distribution initiative empowering customers to save wild bees. 2. The Young Guardians: a program designed to educate kids, at school, about the importance of wild bees. 3. The Red List Project: Beesline is funding a 3-year field research aimed at protecting wild bees at risk of extinction, in partnership with a wild bee expert.
As the leading University in Egypt, the American University in Cairo (AUC) is keen to play a role in raising awareness about sexual harassment as an important social issue and to support both national and global efforts, particularly as they relate to college campuses. #AUCSpeakUp is a University-wide initiative to reinforce AUC’s legacy of equity, inclusiveness and a safe campus. The initiative includes a diversity of measures that were implemented both at AUC as well as at a national level. We are proud to be the first University in Egypt to introduce a mandatory anti-sexual harassment training to students, faculty and staff. AUC engaged further in conversation beyond the AUC community through a dialogues-series and continues to lead conversations with partners from higher-ed institutions and international organizations. At AUC, we honor the right for everyone to feel safe and we encourage them to Speakup.
Jordan, although not a significant contributor to climate change, experiences various impacts of this phenomenon. The population, especially youth, is vulnerable to long-term environmental consequences such as water and food insecurity.
Recognizing the urgent need for climate action, Generations For Peace Organization has taken significant measures to reduce its carbon footprint and engage the community in climate action. The Jordan Youth Climate Action (YCA) Programme - SAWN, funded by UNICEF Jordan, empowers young leaders to lead effective climate action within their communities. In addition, GFP hosted the Local Conference of Youth for two consecutive years, 2021 and 2022, and nominated its youth advocates to participate in COP27 as the official Jordanian Youth Delegation.
To amplify the importance of climate change awareness, GFP launched Jeel 01, a youth media program that prioritizes climate change and encourages young individuals to share their stories on this issue. GFP proactively works towards achieving sustainable peace in the communities most affected by climate change impacts.
Lack of access to affordable energy has emerged as a major threat to a just energy transition, particularly for vulnerable groups in rural/remote areas, conflict zones and refugees’ camps in Sudan.
Biofuels have enormous potential to help solve this problem, and it can become a reality through the use of technologies that are decentralized, cheap, easy to adopt in people's culture and suited to the conditions in Sudan. To accelerate this transition, we have established an innovation ecosystem “Technology Business Incubator” that brings key stakeholders for action. We work in four main dimensions:
1. Understanding the culture of those who benefit, and the challenges they face; and prioritizing their needs, and potential key resources,
2. Developing options that have a strong value chain and impact to achieve other SDGs,
3. Building platforms, and demonstration sites to raise awareness and build capacity,
4. Strengthening the R&D infrastructure as part of the clean energy innovation ecosystem.
10 Tooba is an interdisciplinary group of built environment professionals with developed expertise in participatory planning and policy analysis, working closely with communities in Egypt. Our work focuses on deprived communities and raising the proportion of families living in adequate housing.
10 Tooba works on applied research, where a continuous loop of lessons learned from the ground inform our analysis, and our research informs our applications.
Through research, we produce knowledge on housing and the built environment in Egypt with a focus on issues such as affordability, urban upgrading, urban history, public space, services, and transport. Common threads that cut through our main topics are social justice, sustainability, informality, climate change, urban design & management practices and appropriate technology. Our research takes the shape of strategies, essays, in-depth reports,and visualizations covering: Policy analysis, Social assessment, Mapping and data visualization
And through Participatory Planning, we work with deprived communities throughout Egypt with a focus on those in informal areas, rural and peri-urban villages, and historic urban cores. We produce a range of participatory action plans, from recommendations to full outline plans based on: Mapping assets, needs, Negotiation between stakeholders, Consensus building among stakeholders
The Erriadh Public Library in Djerba in southern Tunisia sought to primarily help women develop their digital skills by launching a computer literacy club. This initiative aimed to give school dropouts a second chance at building their ability to find work by providing support in becoming computer literate. The course particularly emphasized inclusive life-long learning, gender equality, and access to decent jobs and economic development. During the lessons, the participants learn about the basics of computing, how to use peripheral devices, exploitation systems, the internet, Microsoft Office, and social media platforms. One of the most important achievements of the club is that participants learned to depend on themselves. One participant was able to create a social media account marketing her work as a seamstress.
LaCom Magazine for YoungPreneurs is addressed to young business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and young people interested in the business world, as well as young employees and workers in the private sector and others.
The magazine aims to publish articles and topics related to the business world of interest to the youth in particular, by publishing content that helps young men and women manage their businesses and work smart,, while highlighting successful young entrepreneurs and talking about them and their achievements with specialized articles to encourage other young men and women to follow them and encourage them to continue creating and innovating.
The digital magazine is also accompanied by social media tools and websites to disseminate the magazine's message, articles and content. The content provided by LaCom Magazine for YoungPreneurs magazine is meaningful, entertaining and enjoyable at the same time, similar to the spirit of the young reader of the digital magazine.
ESCWA was established in 1973 to stimulate economic activity in member countries, strengthen cooperation between them, and promote development. Committed to the 2030 Agenda, ESCWA’s passionate team produces innovative knowledge, fosters regional consensus and delivers transformational policy advice.
The “Josour Platform” is a one-stop-shop for all functions and activities of the “Josour” initiative. The platform plays the role of the “matchmaker” between the supply side (private sector) and the demand side (Josour youth). It has three main pillars: (1) Opportunities offered by Josour partners, (2) Josour youth who register at the platform, and (3) Opportunity calculator (opportunities offered for youth and those utilized by youth).
With real-time information on millions of job postings from more than 100 regional online job posting platforms, the ESCWA Skills Monitor analyses the region's labor market demand and tracks the relevance of skills and employment prospects. The Future of Work API services allows users to connect to the Monitor database and access the latest regional labor market data. The service offers skills and job aggregations in a timely fashion enabling users to utilize Big Data and Machine Learning resources to understand the job market.
Notwithstanding the human rights principles that underline Governments’ obligation to combat violence against women and ensure the protection of all women and girls from all forms of violence, domestic violence against women also impacts the national economy. The model developed by ESCWA and UN-Women is to guide countries in assessing the economic impact of domestic violence. It provides details on how to estimate the costs incurred at the household and institutional levels.
The Gender Justice Portal provides member States, researchers and civil society organizations with an updated presentation and analysis of legal frameworks relating to gender equality and the law. The initiative is founded on collaboration between four United Nations agencies, namely ESCWA, UNDP, UNFPA and UN-Women, and is based on a detailed examination of laws and policies on gender equality and the alignment of these laws with international human rights standards.
The Policy Gap Assessment Tool aims to analyze the extent to which the principles of social justice are integrated into public policies and development programs in the Arab region by identifying the gaps and deficits in policies that are considered key to achieve social justice.
[The Arab SDG Gateway aims to improve countries’ statistical capacity and foster regional collaboration on data and statistics It provides easy access to data, metadata and applications to monitor and report on the SDGs]
[Provides information on the Arab region’s progress in each of the 17 SDGs and their 169 target and related indicators. It also presents an overview by goal through informative infographics designed to reflect key messages on the region’s progress. It highlights where the region now stands in relation to 2030, with a 2015 baseline, in terms of Goals, targets and indicators. The present report stresses the importance of data availability and its impact on planning processes.]
The National Gender Lens Pocketbook 2022, provides valuable information on women and men and their conditions of life to achieve gender equality and empowerment in all localities in the Arab Region, furthermore, it provides data from more than 40 gender-related indicators at the city level in the Arab region.
[The Arab Gender Gap Report explores the state of gender equality across 22 Arab countries through gender-related indicators linked to issues inherent in the SDGs. The report is unique as it includes regional priority gender-equality indicators – quantitative and qualitative – to help fast track progress on the policies and laws at the country level, and to monitor the implementation of the SDGs.]
[Leave no one behind (LNOB) represents the indisputable commitment of all UN Member States to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination, and exclusion, and reduce vulnerabilities and obstacles that leave people behind. The SDG vulnerability frameworks to leave no one behind in four main population groups: gender, disability, children and youth, and the elderly. The four frameworks list SDGs-related indicators to guide and assist member States to better plan, monitor and, report on progress achieved.]
The Arab Sustainable Development Report 2020 charts the regional trajectory for achieving the 2030 Agenda, and analyses where the region stands on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It offers a quantitative and qualitative analysis of each SDG in relation to the global indicator framework adopted by the General Assembly in 2017. Mobilizing ESCWA interdisciplinary knowledge, the expertise of regional United Nations entities and a group of esteemed experts, it highlights SDG interlinkages, examines the main barriers to achievement, sheds light on those most at risk of being left behind, and identifies the most critical entry points for moving forward. The findings urge structural changes across social, economic, political, cultural and environmental dimensions, and illustrate the possibilities for regional transformation.
Young people are drivers of change. They are the leaders of tomorrow and the future custodians of sustainable development in the world. Convinced of the crucial role that children and young people can play in shaping a better future where no one is left behind, ESCWA seeks to educate them on the values of the United Nations and raise their awareness of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Link
Volume I of “The ESCWA Stories” was launched on 12 August 2021 on International Youth Day. It was distributed to 750 students across seven schools in Lebanon throughout the academic year 2021-2022.
Created in December 1999, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is the designated focal point in the UN system for the coordination of efforts to reduce disaster risk and ensure synergies among the disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities of the UN and regional organizations in both developed and less developed countries. Led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR (SRSG), UNDRR guides, monitors, analyses and reports on progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030, supports its regional and national implementation and catalyzes action and increases global awareness on DRR, working with UN Member States and a broad range of partners and stakeholders, including civil society, private sector, and academia.
The Regional Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Arab States offers an update on progress made in implementing the Sendai Framework, identifies entry points for improving coherence with climate change adaptation and sustainable development, and analyzes region-specific systemic risk drivers, with discussion on vulnerability, rapid urbanization, conflict, and food security.
The extensive impacts of drought are consistently underreported even though they span large areas, cascade through systems and scales, and linger through time, affecting millions of people and contributing to food insecurity, poverty, and inequality. The GAR Special Report on Drought 2021 explores the systemic nature of drought and its impacts on the achievement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the SDGs and human and ecosystems health and wellbeing.
The keys to building resilience and accelerating sustainable development are measuring what we value, designing systems around the way people make decisions on risk, and reconfiguring governance and financial systems to work collaboratively and across silos. As climate change impacts gather pace, we know what is at stake for future generations. GAR2022 outlines how immediate action around these areas can help governments, local communities and individuals better position themselves to cope with a volatile, uncertain future.
The International Labour Organization is the United Nations agency for the world of work. We bring together governments, employers and workers to drive a human-centred approach to the future of work through employment creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has curated a photographic exhibition that demonstrates the resilience of Yemeni workers and employers in the face of conflict and challenges, and highlights key issues affecting the country's labour market.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, has the mandate to safeguard the rights of all children, everywhere. UNICEF in the Middle East and North Africa, is dedicated to improving the lives of children in the region and works to address a range of issues affecting them, including poverty, conflict, displacement, and lack of access to basic services such as healthcare and education.
Some of the key areas of focus for UNICEF MENA include supporting children affected by conflicts and emergencies, promoting children's rights and protection, improving access to education and healthcare. UNICEF is committed to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to grow up healthy, safe, and with access to the resources they need to reach their full potential.
This report includes internationally comparable data on children with disabilities from four countries in the MENA and covers 18 indicators of child well-being. It offers evidence crucial to decision-making to fulfill obligations, both moral and legal, to give every child an equal chance in life.
This assessment provides a systematic overview of the main design and implementation features and the child-sensitivity of the social assistance measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis in the MENA region. It shows the immense efforts made to contain the socio-economic effects of the crisis, but also highlights some critical gaps, urgent to address.
Monitoring distance and hybrid learning generates enables future initiatives to be adapted to ensure that all children are being reached. These guides have been developed by UNICEF to support Ministries of Education and education decision-makers to effectively monitor the status and implementation of education delivery and learning, including in emergency situations.
This study presents the results of qualitative research conducted in four MENA countries focusing on boys and men and household decision-making on FGM, sexuality and FGM, and what could be done to engage men more fully in FGM prevention efforts. It includes programmatic recommendations on how to engage men and boys as partners for change in ending FGM.
The Young Climate Activists Toolkit is tailored to offer clear, concise, and easily understandable information on climate action, and prepare young people for full and informed participation in climate action and debate. It has been contextualized and adapted to help young activists address the challenges they face in the Middle East and North Africa.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With 195 members - 194 countries and the European Union, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. Join us in creating a world without hunger and poverty.
The publication aims at providing policy makers, institutions and other stakeholders a comprehensive overview of the current situation for land and water and the effect of climate change and urbanization on food production facilitating informed decision-making. The report provides the latest land and water resource statistics for the region and outlines important challenges that NENA is facing.
Many countries of the NENA region are heavily dependent on imported foodstuff and fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine; and thus, the current conflict puts the region at risk of shortening of food supply from Russia and Ukraine as well as raising food prices as a result of the disturbances in post-COVID-19.
Food safety and nutrition are inextricably linked, yet the importance of food safety in this relation is often overlooked. Improving food safety regulations and their implementation is essential to safeguard the health and good nutritional outcomes of the population.
Increased food, and fertilizer prices, slower growth, and currency fluctuations still severely strain food security, especially in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region, which has a high reliance on international food markets and is highly exposed to global price surges.
Beyond a detailed analysis of how the war in Ukraine affects food security and agrifood trade in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, the report also contains a set of key policy recommendations to help governments cope with the unfolding situation and improve food security in the medium and long term.
AFSD-2022 Outcomes Report of the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2022 (submitted to the High-Level Political Forum)
Programme of Work
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Annual SDG Review 2023
The 2023 VNR Handbook
Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in the Arab region
Report of the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2023
For the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2023, we invite all participants to express their support for one of the key action areas under discussion at the Forum.
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