I am honoured to address this Forum today in my role as the President of the Economic and Social Council.
The year 2020 is an important year – one in which the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations will be celebrated.
It is also the first year of the Decade of action and delivery for the SDGs, which was launched at the SDG summit last year.
This year, ECOSOC will convene the first meeting of HLPF since the SDG summit.
The 2020 HLPF will discuss accelerated actions and transformative pathways to realize the decade of action.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides the most comprehensive blueprint we have for eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, and protecting the planet.
The ‘Regional Sustainable Development Forums’ convened by the UN Regional Commissions have become key platforms for reviewing implementation and progress towards the vision of the 2030 Agenda.
The Regional Forums enable a genuine exchange on common challenges that countries of the region face in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
They showcase good examples that could be scaled up.
The outcomes from the regional forums give a voice to the unique perspectives and challenges of different regions of the world during the annual High-Level Political Forum in July in New York.
The VNRs can also serve as platform for countries to highlight regional issues for the consideration of the HLPF and other intergovernmental forums.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend you all for the important work you are doing to advance sustainable development in Africa.
This Africa Regional Forum provides a platform for the integrated follow-up and review of progress, and challenges, in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
We look forward to your guidance on how to accelerate SDG progress throughout the region.
For example, by taking action in the areas identified in the declaration of the SDG summit, or acting on the entry points from the Global Sustainable Development Report.
To increase ambition and accelerate progress toward a sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind, we should focus on the many innovative solutions being implemented at the regional level.
You can count on ECOSOC and the HLPF to continue to support regional efforts, and to value regional perspectives.