The Arab Forum on Sustainable Development (AFSD), organized by ESCWA (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), was held in Beirut on March 15-17.

The meeting started with the video-message of Abdullah Shahid, President of the General Assembly of the UN. High-level figures such as Dr.  Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Amina J.  Mohammad, Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, and Nasser Shraideh, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Chair of the AFSD attended the meeting.  At the same time, high-level representatives from Arab countries, such as ministers or ambassadors, participated in the opening session and presented their countries’ activities on SDGs.

The three-day forum aimed to monitor the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals in Arab countries and present them to the HLPF. At the round table meetings, Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are discussed by the participants. In addition to the Voluntary Subnational Review (VSR) follow-up and the evaluation of the 2030 Agenda, fighting against inequality was one of the agenda items of the forum.

Yehia Ibrahim, responsible for the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion, attended the meeting and informed the participants about the activities carried out by UCLG and UCLG-MEWA in the VLR and VSR processes. At the same session, Akram Khraisat, Director of the Amman Urban Observatory, informed the participants about the preparation process for Amman’s Voluntary Local Review. Furthermore, the participants shared their ideas on how to include refugees and immigrants in the reviews.

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