The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), together with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), organized the Seventh Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (PFSD) with the theme “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: The effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions”.
The 2023 PFSD was held on the 21st and 22nd November 2023 at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, Fiji to take stock of the progress by Pacific Small Island Development States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 13 (Climate Action), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Representatives of Pacific Islands Forum members and associate members, along with the United Nations development system in the Pacific, private sector, civil society, academia, youth and development actors participated in the forum.
The meeting heard that without peace in our society, none of the SDGs can be achieved and that Pacific nations demonstrate strong and accountable leadership. It was emphasized that climate change is a security issue, and 1.5 to stay alive must remain in our global discussions.
COVID-19 and ongoing geopolitical tensions have disrupted and reversed progress on poverty reduction and food security with participants highlighting the importance of ensuring healthy growth and development with more data needed to track changes and the impact of programmes.
Solutions proposed during the forum included citizen budget consultations, increased political will,collaborative leadership and civic engagement. Also important was consideration of the Oceans-Climate-Health nexus; sustainable development financing including climate finance for a Just Transition in line with SDG7; digital transformation; gender and disability inclusive social development; and evidence-based policymaking. Alignment of national development strategies with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, ambitions of the 2030 Agenda, and the Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity is essential.
The forum also reflected on the preparation and submission of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). Fiji submitted its VNR earlier this year with the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu expected to submit their VNRs in 2024. The VNRs are prepared by countries to update the other members of the UN on the progress they are making in achieving the SDGs. A multistakeholder approach to SDGs is key and so engagement with stakeholders is a critical component of the VNRs.
The outcomes of this seventh PFSD will contribute to the Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development (APFSD) that will meet in Bangkok in February 2024 and then to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in July 2024.
As an associated event of the seventh PFSD, the country delegates attended a VNR Clinic at the ESCAP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji on 23 November 2023. This clinic facilitated the exchange of experiences and good practices in the Pacific in preparing VNRs. It also provided an opportunity to discuss the role of VNRs in encouraging multistakeholder partnerships and improving planning and policy to accelerate SDG implementation.
Today, ESCAP in partnership with the Pacific Community (SPC) hosted an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) to develop guidelines for national indicator production. The EGM brought together key stakeholders(Planners, Statisticians and Development Partners) to prepare an approach for producing the guidelines, in parallel with piloting in several Pacific SIDS. This work responds to a key recommendation from the Sixth PFSD in 2022, for Pacific guidelines to indicator production, to support countries meet their global, regional and national reporting requirements.
The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)is the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region. The Commission promotes cooperation among its 53 member States and 9 associate members in pursuit of solutions to sustainable development challenges. ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. The ESCAP secretariat supports inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in the region by generating action-oriented knowledge, and by providing technical assistance and capacity-building services in support of national development objectives, regional agreements and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, coming into effect on 1 January 2016, for a period of 15 years until 2030, in what is known as the 2030 Agenda. There are 17 SDGs. These are SDG1 (No Poverty); SDG2 (Zero Hunger); SDG3 (Good Health and Wellbeing); SDG4 (Quality Education); SDG5 (Gender Equality); SDG6 (Clean Water and Sanitation); SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy); SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure); SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities); SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities); SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production); SDG13 (Climate Action); SDG14 (Life below Water); SDG15 (Life on Land); SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions); and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals).