2020 marks the start of the Decade of Action to ensure the 2030 Agenda implementation and transforming pathways to overcome common challenges across the globe, such as poverty reduction, hunger elimination, economic development, climate change and inequality whilst ensuring that no one is left behind. However, the unexpected onslaught of COVID-19 and its impact on the economy and society brought about many uncertainties to development forecasts for 2020. Global, regional, and national efforts need to be reoriented towards containing the disease spread, supporting businesses and vulnerable communities during the crisis, while also keeping in mind to build back better for medium to longer term socioeconomic recovery efforts.
The ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA) working papers for 2020 were prepared taking into account both long-term development goals and COVID-19 related perspectives. The Expert Group Meeting will review and discuss the above-mentioned working papers. On the basis of consolidating experts’ comments and suggestions, SONCA will update and translate the papers to feed into discussions during the 2020 SPECA Economic Forum and identify areas for further research.
(i) SDG Drivers’ Framework for North and Central Asia
The SDG Drivers Framework for North and Central Asia aims to support countries in the region to identify potential drivers that can accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The framework consists of a toolbox of methodologies to map out potential drivers and the components which enable these drivers and helps to prioritize sustainable development outcomes in North and Central Asia. The expert group is expected to provide feedback on the conceptual framework proposed and review the tools and methodologies suggested.
(ii) Sustainable Agriculture Transformation in North and Central Asia
The paper on Sustainable Agriculture Transformation examines the linkages between drivers of agriculture transformation and selected SDGs in North and Central Asia. Based on the results of the empirical analysis the paper provides policy recommendations for agriculture transformation tailored to the subregion. The expert group is expected to evaluate the empirical strategy and the underlying conceptual framework, as well as to suggest policy recommendations aiming at transforming the sector towards sustainability and inclusivity.
(iii) Realizing Digital Potential in North and Central Asia for Sustainable Economic Transformation
The paper on Realizing Digital Potential will highlight the role of various stakeholders in the digital transformation process in North and Central Asia and underscores the importance of digitalization for sustainable economic transformation. The expert group is expected to validate the paper and suggest relevant regional cooperation strategies to realize digital potential in the region.