Looking Forward to the 10th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD 2023)
From 27-30 March 2023, the 10th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD 2023) was held in Bangkok, Thailand on the theme of “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”. The APFSD is annual event that offers a platform to review progress and challenges to implementing the SDGs from a regional perspective. This year the APFSD consisted of a series of plenary and more targeted sessions that, among other things, offered in-depth reviews of the following SDGs: Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation); Goal 7 (Affordable and clean energy); Goal 9 (Industry. innovation, and infrastructure); Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals).
The world will pass the midway point on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this year. The 10th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD 2023) therefore came at a critical juncture. Much of the discussion at APFSD rightly questioned why progress on the SDGs has been slow. But this year’s APFSD also highlighted ways to move forward. At IGES, we believe that policymakers and the international community should focus on three “forward looking” areas as they prepare for the APFSD and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) scheduled for July in New York.
1. The growing emphasis on local level actions through in-depth reviews of SDG 11
SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), along with clean water and energy, under went in-depth review this year at the APFSD. Further, as was discussed in IGES APFSD side events, many local governments are developing voluntary local reviews (VLRs) or linking action on climate and biodiversity to advance net zero, nature positive solutions.
2. Promoting integrated and inclusive approaches to SDG 6, 7 and other SDGs:
More integrated and inclusive frames such as “regional circulating and ecological sphere,” “planetary health,” and “just transitions” are needed to accelerate progress on SDG 6 and 7. IGES publications offer some useful insights into how these concepts can inject momentum into action on these critical goals.
3. Entering the post-pandemic period
The worst of the COVID-19 crisis appears over. As we enter a post-pandemic period, more thought will be devoted to avoiding future planetary crises and limiting transboundary shocks. There are also likely to be discussions of the ripple effects on the environment and the SDGs from struggles in Ukraine. Recent IGES work sheds revealing light on these themes.
IGES Key Messages
Professor Kazuhiko Takeuchi’s Remarks for the 2023 Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development
In these remarks, IGES President, Kazuhiko Takeuchi urges policymakers to focus on three areas at the APFSD and beyond: 1) the localisation of the SDGs; 2) integrated approaches to SDG 6 and 7; and 3) continuing to support sustainability in the face of tensions in Ukraine, COVID-19 and other crises.
Actions to Harnessing Synergies between the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals: Enhancing City to City Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region
While most of the Asia Pacific region is not on track to achieve the Paris Agreement and SDGs, maximizing synergies between climate actions and the SDGs could help accelerate progress. The potential for synergies is particularly great in cities. In f
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