The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a profound impact on the pursuit of sustainable development, particularly in developing countries and small island developing states (SIDSs). Important as it is to respond quickly and decisively, it is even more important to ensure that this crisis and the responses to it do not undermine the collective commitment to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Pacific Governments are taking steps to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, including through a ministerial statement issued by the Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting. The FEMM ministerial statement represents a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and it provides the enabling political environment and commitment in the Pacific to expedite assistance and cooperation between member countries in preparing for and responding to COVID-19.
The focus of the 2021 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: Building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. In line with its theme, the 2021 HLP will review SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to note as well that the ESCAP Commission theme for 2021 is “Building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia Pacific” which highlights the importance of regional cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and building back better through accelerated implementation of the SDGs.
To achieve these objectives, the PFSD and Workshop will:
1. Discuss and enhance knowledge on COVID-19 impacts and socio-economic policy responses and the challenges they pose for the implementation of SDGs
2. Through peer learning and exchanges of national and regional experiences, identify gaps and potential national and regional responses and synergies for accelerating progress towards SDGs.
3. Build the capacity of countries in the Pacific region to implement SDG and national priorities in the context of COVID-19, including through briefings on the regional and global roles and processes for the follow-up and review of SDGs.
The outcome of the PFSD and Workshop will inform deliberations at the 8th APFSD (22-25 March 2021) through a summary of key issues and recommendations. The outcomes will also inform the Theme Study for the 77th Commission session on “Building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific”. These and related meeting documents will be sent to participants and will also be made available on the ESCAP Website.