20 May 2020 | BANGKOK – UCLG ASPAC, through the Asia-Pacific Local Government Coordinating Body (APLG), represented local governments in the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD). The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) organised the 7th APFSD virtually with the theme “Accelerating action for and delivery of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific.” More than 600 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organisations, United Nations bodies, international organisations, civil society organisations and other entities joined the discussion and gained the updates on the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.

In its assessment of the SDGs progress, UNESCAP reported remarkable progress in quality education (Goal 4) and some elements of affordable and clean energy (Goal 7). Significant gains have also been made in eliminating poverty (Goal 1), achieving zero hunger (Goal 2), as well as with good health and well-being (Goal 3), gender equality (Goal 5), clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), decent work and economic growth (Goal 8), life on land (Goal 15), peace, justice and strong institutions (Goal 16), and partnerships for the Goals (Goal 17). There is struggle in advancing responsible consumption and production (Goal 12) and climate action (Goal 13) and little progress on industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9), reduced inequalities (Goal 10), sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), and life below water (Goal 14). The report also shared that data availability remains a challenge and that the COVID-19 pandemic may also impact the sustainable development efforts in the region.

Discussion also touched on the efforts to accelerate progress in the 17 SDGs. Six entry points derived from the Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 have been identified including human well-being and capabilities, sustainable and just economies, food systems and nutrition patterns, affordable and clean energy, urban and peri-urban development, and global environmental commons. Increasing recognition on the importance of cities in the path towards sustainable development and emphasis on urban development as a solution were also reflected in the discussion under the urban and peri-urban development entry point. The entry points were delved further in the Asia-Pacific SDGs Partnership report entitled “Fast-tracking the SDGs: Driving Asia-Pacific Transformations” that was launched during the forum. The report also highlighted that COVID-19 response must be people-centric and promote empowerment, equality, and environmental sustainability. The report is available, Click Here to Read.

UCLG ASPAC coordinated local governments’ participation through the APLG as one of the Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). Twenty-three participants from APLG, led by Iriga Mayor  and UCLG World Treasurer Ms. Madelaine Yorobe Alfelor, joined the discussion. Local government intervention submitted to UNESCAP was made available on the APFSD website.