The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) is the primary regional mechanism for the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region. It brings together Arab Governments and sustainable development stakeholders to discuss progress, review national and regional experiences, and consider the latest developments and implementation mechanisms of the 2030 Agenda at the national and regional levels.
The AFSD report sets out key messages emanating from regional dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda in Arab countries and delivers them to the annual global High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
The AFSD promotes a participatory approach to the follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region. It brings together high-level representatives of ministries, bodies concerned with planning and following up on the 2030 Agenda, parliamentarians, a wide range of regional and international institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, academic and research centers, audit institutes and and the media.
The AFSD approach is consistent with that of the HLPF. It focuses on the SDGs globally under review by taking stock of regional progress while also taking regional priorities into consideration.
For the AFSD from 2021 to 2023, a set of 17 background notes has been developed to analyse the impact of COVID-19 on SDG progress, government response measures and policy recommendations for the way forward.
The organization of AFSD relies on strong a partnership with the LAS, a key partner in supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Arab region. In line with the Secretary-General’s call for greater coherence and enhanced synergies within the United Nations at the regional level, AFSD is a joint effort in the United Nations development system.
Each year, an interagency task force is comprised of representatives of United Nations agencies, programmes and funds operating in the Arab region as well as the LAS. The interagency task force collaborates closely in the organization of the Forum.
Preparatory meetings and regional consultations
Ahead of the AFSD every year, several preparatory meetings and regional consultations take place to discuss regional priorities including environmental, natural resource and climate issues.
The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) leads the organization of a regional civil society forum ahead of AFSD annually.
Voluntary National Reviews workshops
Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are the main mechanism for assessing progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda at the national level. VNRs aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of Governments and to mobilize multistakeholder support and partnerships for the SDGs.
To support the VNR process, ESCWA annually organizes two workshops on VNRs in the Arab region in collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. These workshops provide an opportunity for self-evaluation and learning about best practices in progress follow-up and review.
VNR roundtables are held during AFSD every year.
For more on ESCWA VNR support, visit the page on voluntary reporting on the 2030 Agenda.
Annual SDG Reviews
The Annual SDG Review series informs and triggers discussions at the AFSD. Issued yearly ahead of the Forum, it focuses on specific priority issues of relevance to the Forum’s theme and provides a statistical check-in on where the Arab region stands in terms of realizing the 17 SDGs.