Growing Challenges for Sustainable Development:

Can the UNECE Region Turn the Tide in 2023?


In September 2023, the SDG Summit will mark the mid-point of the period designated to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This milestone is expected to lead to a new phase of accelerated progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, with the reverberating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, surging inflation and public debt, and the deteriorated short-term economic outlook, this will undoubtedly be challenging globally as well as in the UNECE region. In view of these concurrent crises, the United Nations Secretary-General has called for an urgent rescue effort for the Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the pivotal role of the regional dimension in its implementation, follow-up and review. Actions at the regional level bridge the global and national levels, and provide the necessary focus for international exchanges of experience and peer learning. Every year, all five United Nations regional commissions organize regional forums for sustainable development. In the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which comprises 56 countries of Europe, North America and Central Asia, the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will be held for the seventh time on 29 and 30 March 2023 in Geneva.

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Progress in the UNECE region

How many targets are on track?

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The agencies and United Nations country teams participating in the Regional Coordination Group on Data and Statistics for Europe and Central Asia and, for the first time, all UNECE programmes provided stories. These stories are rich in information on how various regional and country level actions relate to sustainable development outcomes. Most of the stories pertain to goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 17 (partnerships for the goals) that are under in-depth review by the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The stories show concrete ways in which progress towards SDGs is made in the region.

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