The evaluation of the UN European Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

Just distributed in the evaluation of the UN Regional Forum on Sustainable Development the full report can be downloaded here. 

The report has a set of recommendations that are worth considering as the review of the HLPF is beign conducted.

 Recommendation 1. Explore the use of virtual formats to facilitate more focused discussions, enhance the peer learning experience and strengthen partnerships

59. Virtual formats are not intended to replace physical events and all the benefits these bring. However, they can contribute to address the challenge that large numbers of participants pose to have in-depth and interactive discussions. Virtual elements could be organized throughout the year, with the support of partners, addressing specific questions in smaller groups, thus facilitating peer-learning.

Recommendation 2. Strengthen the role of the Regional Forum as a stakeholder platform 

60. The RFSD has engaged an increased number of non-governmental stakeholders, who have been active participants in the various segments of the Forum, adding to the vibrancy and interest of the meeting. Developing stronger relations with major groups and other stakeholders, including in particular local authorities, business and industry and the scientific and technological community, would enrich the discussions and offer new sources of knowledge for the exchange of experiences.

Recommendation 3. Engage with interested member States and subregional organizations to hold subregional events that will feed into the Regional Forum, including through virtual means

61. The ECE region is a diverse and the Forum should reflect this diversity. Subregional organizations have participated in the Forum and provided their perspectives while the various segments have given an opportunity to hear voices from all parts of the region.

However, dedicated events with a subregional focus would allow to discuss in more detail problems of common interest to participant countries and exchange relevant experiences. The use of virtual means would provide an additional degree of flexibility in the organization of these events, which could also take place in a physical format and be organized or coorganized by member States.

Recommendation 4. Provide a regular space for the discussion of VNRs at the Regional Forums

62. A dedicated space for the discussion of VNRs could be used by member States in different ways, providing the opportunity to have more detailed and regionally-focused exchanges that it is possible at the HLPF. Member States could use the Forum as a platform to present VNRs under preparation, concentrate on particular aspects of the VNRs that are relevant to the SDGs under review in the HLPF that year or, for those who have presented VNRs at the HLPF several times, show the evolution of VNRs and the progress achieved from one VNR to the next.

Recommendation 5. Strengthen the visibility of the inputs to the High-level Political Forum by providing a set of clear messages after each RFSD

63. The Chair’s summary is prepared through an inclusive process that reflects a plurality of views and experiences, given a prominent role to those expressed by member States. The current format, however, does not facilitate identifying clear messages that could be easily communicated. Elaborating this set of messages could contribute to enhancing the profile of the RFSD at the HLPF, including by channelling those messages into the HLPF thematic reviews. Overall, in its current setting, the HLPF provides limited opportunities to discuss regional inputs. This is an issue that member States might consider addressing in the ongoing review of the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF


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