The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Zimbabwe government on Wednesday signed an agreement in preparation for the forthcoming Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) which Harare is hosting in Victoria Falls from 24-27 February, 2020.
Director of the African Centre for Statistics, Mr. Oliver Chinganya, signed on behalf of the ECA, while Mr. Simon Masanga, Permanent Secretary of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry, signed for Zimbabwe.
“Signing the agreement adds impetus to preparations for this very important forum that will see Zimbabwe flying the flag for the African continent in terms of the sustainable development goals,” said Mr. Chinganya, who’s also acting Director of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division at the ECA.
“We will do our best to support Zimbabwe, especially now when the country and the southern African region in general are bearing the brunt of climate change. Discussions will focus on how we can accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and Africa’s Agenda 2063. We cannot afford to fail as a continent.”
For his part, Mr. Masanga said Zimbabwe was ready to host the intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform that is convened by the ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations system to review progress, share experiences and lessons learned and build consensus on recommendations to accelerate the implementation of the two mutually reinforcing agendas.
“We are grateful for the support that we are receiving from the United Nations in this and other areas as we all seek to ensure that the SDGs are fully implemented and remove millions of our people across the continent from hunger,” Mr. Masanga said.
Mr. Chinganya said the decade 2020 to 2030 presents an opportunity and a window of hope for Africa to dramatically speed up the pace and expand the scale of implementation to deliver the regional and global goals.
The Director is leading an ECA team to assess the preparedness of the various stakeholders on the ground as the Forum gets closer.
Earlier Mr. Chinganya and his team met with the UN Country Team under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Valle Ribeiro, who urged all the UN agencies in the country to work hand-in-glove in supporting the successful hosting of the ARFSD.
“We all have to work together to make a success of this forum, especially as this is the beginning of the decade of action to deliver the SDGs by 2030,” Ms. Ribeiro said.
The ECA team also meet senior officials from Zimbabwe’s Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry, which is working with UNESCO in preparation for the African Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Forum, that will precede the ARFSD.
“For us this meeting is very important because not only will it allow us to showcase our country but it also gives us a great opportunity to ensure science and technology gets the visibility it should on the continent. Innovation is important for Africa’s development,” said Mr. Fanuel Tagwira, the Permanent Secretary of the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Ministry.
The ARFSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform which brings together ministers, senior officials, experts and practitioners from UN member States, private sector, civil society, academia and UN organisations to advance an integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the goals set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063.
The overall objective of the sixth session of the ARFSD is to conduct a regional follow-up and review of progress made, facilitate peer learning and advance transformative solutions and actions to accelerate implementation of the two agendas