Zimbabwe will next month host the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (AFRSD), which is expected to prepare for the continent’s participation at the 2020 UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in July in New York.
Next month’s forum will be held in Victoria Falls, with at least 1 200 delegates expected to attend.
Addressing a Press conference to announce the hosting of the forum, Acting Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza said the country’s tourism sector stood to benefit from the event that will run from February 24 to 27.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is hosting the 6th AFRSD from the 24th to the 27th of February 2020 in Victoria Falls under the theme: ‘2020-2030: A decade to deliver a transformed and prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’
“The AFRSD is an intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform convened annually by the Economic Commission for Africa in collaboration with the AU Commission, the African Development Bank and the UN system to review progress, share experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 (AU’s agenda for sustainable development),” Minister Nzenza said.
Agenda 2063 is a framework formulated for the purpose of guiding Africa’s development in the next 50 years, focusing on development in various areas, be it economic, social, political, scientific, as well as cultural.
Minister Nzenza said all 54 member states of the Economic Commission for Africa, UN agencies, civil society organisations and the private sector were expected to attend the forum.
“The forum is also expected to prepare African countries to effectively participate in the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that is to be held in New York from 7 to 17 July 2020 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council,” she said.
“Zimbabwe assumes chairmanship for the African Regional Forum for 2020 and will accordingly present the African position to the high level political forum.”
Minister Nzenza said the forum will take into consideration recommendations made at last year’s forum.
“Such considerations include evidence that in spite of the great efforts over the past four years, most African countries are off-track to achieve the goals set within the set time, therefore, the urgent need to adopt and set in motion accelerated and transformative actions to step up pace and scale of implementation towards achieving the goals within the coming decade,” she said.
Minister Nzenza said Zimbabwe had the opportunity to strengthen ties with other countries.
“In addition to economic benefits such as revenue inflows which accrue from hosting 1 200 delegates, the forum presents various opportunities for Zimbabwe such as sharing success stories in the implementation of SDGs in other countries, marketing of our tourism industry and opportunity to establish strategic alliances on SDGs to strengthen the country’s re-engagement agenda,” Minister Nzenza said.
Speaking on some of the events expected at the forum, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) chief for sub-regional initiatives for Southern Africa, Dr Sizo Mhlanga said: “There is going to be voluntary national reviews which are going to be submitted by various countries. Zimbabwe volunteered this year and so it’s going to present its voluntary national review.
“There is also going to be a session on the Science, Technology and Innovation and there is also a session on groups and stakeholders on capacity building towards the SDGs.”