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19 to 20 February 2024 | By invitation only

Meeting Room G, United Nations Conference Centre (Day 1) and the Raweekanlaya Hotel (Day 2), Bangkok, Thailand

I. Background

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific has been implementing a technical cooperation project entitled “Strengthening National Capacities for Identifying the Furthest Behind in Asia and the Pacific” in five target countries across Asia and the Pacific, namely India, Mongolia, the Philippines, Tonga and Turkmenistan. The project built the ESCAP LNOB Platform, an online interactive platform that allows visualization and quantification of inequality of opportunity, focusing on indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, 30 countries in the region are covered through recent and nationally representative household surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Cluster Indicator Surveys.

Since 2021, the project built technical capacity among statisticians, particularly at the National Statistics Offices to run the LNOB algorithm and produce new LNOB evidence based on country-specific surveys and models. The project has also raised awareness about the LNOB platform with a view to mainstreaming LNOB evidence into policy documents, including Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

As the project is coming to its conclusion, ESCAP is organizing a regional stocktaking meeting to present overall results, enable knowledge-sharing and peer-learning, as well as discuss ways forward for ensuring continued commitment towards the LNOB pledge, especially in the context of Voluntary National Reviews. The regional LNOB meeting is held back-to-back with the 11th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), an annual, inclusive intergovernmental forum to support follow-up and review of progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional level. The APFSD is organized under the theme “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: The effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions in Asia and the Pacific”. In alignment with the focus of the 2024 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, the 2024 Forum will assess progress on the SDGs under review: Goal 1 (No poverty); Goal 2 (Zero hunger); Goal 13 (Climate action); Goal 16 (Peace, justice, and strong institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals). LNOB evidence on many of the indicators associated with these goals under review are readily available at ESCAP LNOB Platform.

II. Objective

The primary objective of this meeting was to allow target countries share their overall results, enable knowledge-sharing and peer-learning, and discuss ways forward for ensuring continued commitment towards the LNOB pledge. By leveraging synergies with the 11th APFSD, the meeting also offered a platform for policy dialogue and knowledge sharing on mainstreaming LNOB evidence into VNRs, and hence guide policy commitments by member States. As such, it featured best practices from countries who used LNOB evidence in their VNRs in 2023 and actively supported those who were undertaking their VNR in 2024 and 2025.

III. Organization and Participation

The meeting drew participation from focal points, technical specialists and statisticians from five target countries as well as representatives from non-target countries who had undertaken or would undertake VNRs in 2023 or 2024. It was organized in-person from 19-20 February 2024 in Bangkok back-to-back with the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development. The meeting was conducted in English.
The programme is provided on the programme tab. 

19 Feb 2024
09:00
09:10
Opening and welcome
  • Mr. Hiroito Toda, Deputy Executive Secretary, ESCAP  
  • Mr. Neil Pierre Acting Director, Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination (OISC), UNDESA (remote connection)
09:10
09:20
Setting the scene: Objectives and goals of the workshop
  • Mr. Riccardo Mesiano, Sustainable Development Officer, ESCAP

Format: Introduction to participants

  • Expectations for the meeting 
  • Brief overview of programme 

Ice breaker: Slido polling tool

09:20
10:00
Session 1: Expectations of VNRs and how they have evolved. Updates on the guidelines for the preparation of the VNR report 

The objective of this session is to provide an update on the guidelines for the VNR and to enable countries to ask questions about VNR preparation. 

  • Mr. Joop Theunissen, Deputy-Chief, Intergovernmental policy & review branch, UN DESA (remote connection)

Format: presentation & Q& A

Topics for discussion: 

  • How VNRs have evolved and expectations of VNRs 
  • The value and impact of VNRs  
  • Promoting concrete action after the VNR 
  • Overview of updated guidelines: what’s new 
  • Question and Answer 
10:00
10:40
Session 2: Status of preparations of the VNRs 

The objective is for countries to provide updates on their VNR preparations and share innovative approaches. 

  • Ms. Sara Libera Zanetti, 2030 Agenda and VNR Specialist, ESCAP

Ice-breaker: Slido polling tool  

Format: Plenary discussion with interventions from Member States 

Questions for discussion: 

  • What innovative approaches have you adopted in the VNR process? 
  • If this is your 2nd, 3rd or 4th VNR, how has your VNR process changed? What have you done differently this time around? 
  • How are you utilising the VNR as part of your national planning process and Covid-19 response and recovery plan? 

Interventions: 

  • Mr. Davit Manukyan, Head, UN and Sustainable Development Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Armenia 
  • Ms. Viengdalat Somphet, Deputy-Director, UN Social-Economic Division, Dept. of International Organizations/National SDG Secretariat Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lao P.D.R. 
  • Mr. Mahesh Bhattarai, Joint Secretary, National Planning Commission, Nepal
10:40
11:00
Group Photo and Networking Break | Coffee & Tea
11:00
12:00
Session 3: Data and Statistics

The objective of this session is to discuss lessons learned by countries through the VNR process to strengthen SDG data production, coordination, and utilization. 

  • Mr. Arman Bidarbakht Nia, Statistician, ESCAP 

Panel discussion 

  1. How has the VNR process contributed to the engagement of national data producers and coordination of SDG data sharing in your country? 
  2. How has the VNR practice changed the way SDG data and indicators are used in the SDG implementation in your country? 
  3. What plans do you have for disseminating SDG data? And how do you think VNR process could facilitate better SDG data dissemination?

Speakers: 

  • Ms. Chamindry Saparamadu, Director General / CEO, Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka 
  • Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nga, Principal official, Department of Science, Education and Natural Resources & Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam 
  • Ms. Manuchehra Madjon Mirzoali, Head of the General Department on Investment Policy and Regional Development for the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade National Coordinator for Development Council under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan (remote connection)
12:00
13:00
LUNCH
13:00
14:00
Session 4: Leaving No One Behind

This session will present ESCAP Leave No One Behind (LNOB) Platform and showcase how VNR countries have used LNOB evidence in their reports and collaborated with ESCAP in customizing results to support their stories.

  •  Mr. Selahattin Selsah Pasali, Social Affairs Officer, ESCAP

Format: Presentation by ESCAP LNOB Team followed by panel discussion and interactive policy debate

Panel Discussion: 

  1. How can the ESCAP LNOB methodology support the objectives of Voluntary National Reviews?  
  2. How did you collaborate with ESCAP in moving beyond the platform and producing customized evidence for VNR?
  3. What plans if any do you have to internalize the LNOB methodology and use it, including outside of the VNR process? 

Interventions: 

  • Mr. Theng Pagnathun, Director General for Planning, Ministry of Planning Cambodia
  • Mr. Andrew Coriakula, SDG Specialist, Ministry of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Planning and Development, Fiji
  • Ms. Aishath Naaz, Director, Ministry of Family and Social Development, Maldives
  • Ms. Tsogzolmaa Sukhbaatar, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Development, Mongolia
  • Mr. Dovlet Dovletalyyev, Head of the Unit for Supervision of Implementation of Programmes, Ministry of Economic and Finance, Turkmenistan
14:00
14:45
Session 5: LNOB in VNR 2024   

The objective of this session is to take stock of how VNR 2024 countries report on the LNOB pledge of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Following brief interventions by selected VNR 2024 countries on how they are mainstreaming LNOB evidence in their VNRs, participants will engage in group work to reflect on how best they can address the LNOB pledge in their VNRs in 2024 and beyond. 

  • Mr. Selahattin Selsah Pasali, Social Affairs Officer, ESCAP

Interventions:

  • Mr. Davit Manukyan, Head, UN and Sustainable Development Division, Department of Multilateral Policy and Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia
  • Ms. Viengdalat Somphet, Deputy-Director, UN Social-Economic Division, Dept. of International Organizations/National SDG Secretariat Office,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Mahesh Bhattarai, Joint Secretary, National Planning Commission, Nepal

Group Work & Plenary Debate 

Topics For Discussion: 

  • How is your VNR addressing inequalities in SDGs in general?
  • What survey data do you have available to undertake LNOB analysis on SDGs?
  • Which SDG indicators are you planning to emphasize in your VNRs?
  • What type of disaggregation is ideal in your VNR narrative?  Do you have   evidence to support your narrative?
14:45
15:15
BREAK
15:15
16:15
Session 6: Stakeholder engagement in the VNR and post-VNR process 

The objective of this session is to discuss how to engage stakeholders in preparations of the VNR and in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 

  • Ms Jyotsna Mohan, Regional coordinator, Asia Development Alliance (ADA) (remote connection) 

Format: Presentation by APRCEM, interventions from Member States  

Topics for discussion: 

  • Different ways to engage stakeholders in the preparations of a VNR 
  • Getting and responding to feedback on the drafts of the VNR 
  • Engaging stakeholders in the HLPF presentation 
  • Communication and engagement in the post-VNR period 

Interventions: 

  • Mr. Huseyn Huseynov, Secretary of National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development, Azerbaijan 
  • Ms. Emiliya Asadova, Regional Policy Specialist Volunteer Advisory Services Section, United Nations Volunteers   

Question and answer  

16:15
16:30
Closing remarks

Mr. Riccardo Mesiano, Sustainable Development Officer, UN ESCAP 

20 Feb 2024
08:30
09:00
Registration & Welcome Coffee/Tea
09:00
09:15
Opening session
  • Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director of Social Development Division (SDD)
09:15
09:30
Self-introduction of all Participants

Group Photo

09:30
09:45
Session 1: Project Overview in 2021-2024

This brief session will provide an overview of the project activities and share results from ESCAP perspective.

Presentation by ESCAP  

09:45
10:30
Session 2: Project Countries Taking Stock, Sharing Experiences and Feedback

This Session will provide an opportunity to target countries to share insights on project activities and results. It will also allow countries to share their related follow-up activities.

  • Mongolia – National Statistics Office
  • Philippines Philippine Statistics Authority and Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute
  • India – Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
  • Tonga – Tonga Statistics Department
  • Turkmenistan State Committee on Statistics, Turkmenistan

Plenary Discussion

10:30
10:45
Coffee/Tea Break
10:45
12:00
Session 3: Addressing Inequality of Opportunity in National Policy Context

This Session will zoom into inclusive and evidence-based policy making to address inequality of opportunity in Asia and the Pacific. It will feature interventions from project countries as well as others reflecting on rising inequalities and outstanding needs to support inclusive and evidence-based policy making.

Featured Interventions

  • Philippines – National Economic Development Authority
  • Mongolia – Ministry of Economy and Development
  • India – NITI Aayog
  • Tonga – Office of the Prime Minister
  • Turkmenistan – Ministry of Finance and Economy

Plenary Discussion

12:00
13:00
Lunch
13:00
14:15
Session 4: Moving forward with LNOB

Having taken stock of country experiences, this session will discuss how to support implementation of the LNOB pledge in the 2030 Agenda through application of analytical tools.

Presentations by ESCAP (CRVS - Inequality Assessment and SP4LNOB)

Topics for Discussion:

  • How is your country addressing the LNOB pledge of the 2030 Agenda through data and statistics?
  • How can we improve the ESCAP LNOB Platform and trainings?
  • What other areas should ESCAP focus in the future moving ahead?

Q&A and Reflections

14:15
14:30
Coffee/Tea Break
14:30
16:15
Session 5: Group Work and Reporting back

This Session will provide an opportunity to draw a regional LNOB plan based on country experiences and guidance. The plan will provide detailed actions as expected by participants from member States as well as ESCAP and other development partners.

  • Group work

Reporting back & Plenary Discussion

16:15
16:30
Closing Remarks

 Ms. Katinka Weinberger, Chief, Socioeconomic Transformation Section, SDD

for more information, please contact

Social Development Division +66 2288 1234 [email protected]
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