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25 to 27 March 2018

Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is convening the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) 2018 in Bangkok on 28 - 30 March 2018.

This is the fifth year of the APFSD. Each year, it is organized as an inclusive inter-governmental forum in line with UN resolutions. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are invited to contribute to the regional development agenda and make recommendations.

Since its inaugural session in 2014, the APFSD has brought governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders together in preparing for the High-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF). This year, the HLPF will be organized from 9 to 18 July 2018 at United Nations Headquarters, New York, to be held under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. 

High levels of commitment and proactive action by CSOs in this region has boosted the quality of dialogue at the APFSD, the HLPF and other global forums and strengthened civil society organizations on the 2030 Agenda across the globe. 

CSOs are invited to apply to engage in these processes through the following events:

The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development:

25 – 27 March 2018 in Bangkok

The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development will be organized by civil society (the secretariat represented by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development as a coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM)), in collaboration with the ESCAP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) as a preparatory meeting for the APFSD. 

The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 will be a forum for civil society organizations to work together and consolidate their positions and recommendations for a regional sustainable development agenda. Asia-Pacific CSOs from different sectors and countries will explore common ground and actions, develop common messages and coordinate strategies for more effective participation in the national, regional and global intergovernmental processes on sustainable development. The CSO Forum invites applications from nationally registered civil society organizations to work with others to: 

  1. Foster the sharing and learning from the variety of experiences of organizations and constituencies and to enhance capacity of civil society participants on sustainable development at the national, regional and global levels, and on the opportunities and modalities for engaging these processes, including identifying and dealing with key systemic issues/barriers to the achievement of sustainable development;
  2. To help build an understanding of sustainable development as a comprehensive whole with strong inter-linkages across its various dimensions and components; therefore to also link the work of various other CSO campaigns, peoples’ movements, grassroot constituencies, scientific and academic communities across national borders;
  3. Dialogue on the structure and content of the APFSD with its theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and Pacific” as well as UNEA-4, formulate joint positions, as well as strategize interventions at the APFSD, HLPF, UNEA-4 and other processes; and
  4. Reflect on the work of Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism and agree on joint actions and follow up to civil society positions adopted to strengthen and support each others’ ideas, plans and actions across national borders.

Those seeking to attend the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development must attend this preparatory forum (unless they are already part of their official national delegations). 

The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD 2018):

28 – 30 March 2018 at the United Nations Conference Centre Bangkok

This year, the APFSD will address the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” and on the cluster of SDGs to be reviewed at the HLPF - in accordance with General Assembly resolution 70/299:

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 11. Sustainable cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patters
Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Goal 17, Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The APFSD agenda will address
(1) Regional perspectives on the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including in depth review of the theme and cluster of goals; and
(2) Strengthening implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific, including the consideration of a draft regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific.

Other events will precede the APFSD, and will be announced separately. 

Target group

We welcome applications to the Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development and the APFSD from those who are based in Asia and the Pacific and from civil society organizations working on the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development processes, and especially those who are: 

  • Engaged in the 2030 Agenda and SDGs-related processes or working on its’ linkages to water and sanitation, energy, sustainable cities and human settlement, sustainable consumption and production, terrestrial ecosystem, forest, desertification, land degradation and biodiversity,
  • Members of grassroots constituencies, and/or working directly with grassroots constituencies; or
  • Working in ESCAP-member Asia-Pacific countries that have signed up for Voluntary National Review at the HLPF 2018 (Armenia, Australia, Bhutan, Kiribati, Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Singapore, Sri Lanka)

Those interested in attending the APFSD should also

  • Be accredited with the United Nations system (consultative or similar status with the UN including ECOSOC, CSD Roster, UNFCCC, FAO, ILO, UN Environment and UNDP or other UN-related organizations) – unless they are part of their national delegations.
  • Have in-depth expertise and experience related to the theme of the APFSD 2018 and on the cluster of SDGs (one or more of the goals); and
  • Be prepared to actively participate in preparing statements and other contributions to the meeting, coordinating with other CSOs and articulating joint CSO positions.

Other key points:

  • It should be noted that participation in the Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development is required for those seeking to attend the APFSD - but the CSO forum is open to those who do not attend the APFSD.
  • Normally, there are many more applications than there is space for, so you are encouraged to make your application as strong as possible.
  • Funding which includes airfare, accommodation and modest daily subsistence allowance (DSA) will be available for a limited number of organizations through ESCAP’s collaborating partners. If needing funding to attend, please ensure that you indicate this in your application.
  • No more than 2 persons may be considered and accepted from the same organization, due to a high volume of applications. Applicants are encouraged to coordinate within the organization to identify at maximum 2 best applicants to represent organizational positions prior to submitting applications.
  • There may be a specific call for hosting side events during the AP CSO Forum in keeping with the structure and content design of the programme as designed by the Programme Committee. However all proposals may not be accepted due to limited time and space. In addition, this may not necessarily entitle the organization to guaranteed seats. (Please do not suggest side events until the call is issued)
  • However, depending on capacity, some seats may be reserved during the AP CSO Forum for key resource persons and side event organisers. 
  • Side events and exhibitions (as part of “Pavilion of Partnership for Sustainable Development”) may be organized by organizations that are successful in participating in the APFSD, depending on relevance and availability of space– if interested, please express your interest and coordinate with the Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism. (Contact information is given at the end of this document.) 

    How to apply
    Submit the application form online (click  here) by latest 18 February 2018 (12 midnight Thailand time) (Deadline extended to 19 February 2018, 12 midnight Thailand time). Application forms will be reviewed by ESCAP in consultation with the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism, prioritizing those who best fit the target group described, and to ensure balance in geographic and thematic representation, scope of mandate, gender, and the level of experience with the regional process of sustainable development among other factors. Notification on the status of the applications will be sent by  8 March 2018

    For more information

    APWLD/AP-RCEM - Ms. Wardarina ([email protected])
    ESCAP - Ms. Aqira Bhatchayutmaytri ([email protected])
    UNEP - Ms. Young Ran Hur ([email protected])
    For side events and exhibition
    - Ms. Wardarina ([email protected]), Ms. Marjorie Pamintuan ([email protected]), and Ms. Ranja Sengupta ([email protected])

for more information, please contact

ESCAP APFSD [email protected]