State and civil society representatives from across Asia gathered in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, on 5 and 6 September at the North-East Asian Multistakeholder Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to share progress and map next steps to achieving the Global Agenda 2030.
The Forum, entitled “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” is jointly organized by Mongolia’s Parliament and Government, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN in Mongolia.
Attendees include members of governments, academia and civil society, as well the private sector and international community, exchanging experiences in tackling the SDGs, which aim to end poverty, fight inequality and protect the planet for future generations.
“We are keen to share experiences, so that we can learn from each other’s achievements and challenges in implementing the Global Goals, support each other in the SDGs progress and foster mutual cooperation on the Regional Roadmap to SDGs,” said Mr. Zandanshatar Gombojav, Minister of Mongolia, Chief Cabinet Secretary.
North-East Asia is ahead of other regions in Asia and the Pacific in achieving many of the SDGs, with fewer than 10% of its populations living in poverty, along with relatively low unemployment rates, higher enrolments in secondary education, wider access to basic services, and relatively strong public institutions.
However, inequality remains a major challenge. ESCAP studies show that despite robust growth in the region, income inequality is widening, with major discrepancies in access to education, clean energy and decent work, particularly in China, Japan and Mongolia.
Recognizing this, the forum focuses on six of the 17 SDGs, namely: quality education (Goal 4), decent work and economic growth (Goal 8), reduced inequalities (Goal 10), climate action (Goal 13), and peace and justice (Goal 16) as well as ways of implementing the SDGs through partnerships (Goal 17).
“There are many population groups that are still left behind. Hence it’s important to provide national and sub-regional contexts on the six selected goals under review and enhance awareness and understanding of the key challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in North-East Asia,” says Sangmin Nam, Head, a.i. of the East and North-East Asia Office of ESCAP.
On the first day of the forum Japan shared successful practices in advancing SDGs through creating institutional mechanisms at the highest level of the government. Korea shared its civil society experience in improving participation in decision making. The second day of the forum will hold a special session on Mongolia’s pioneering experience in implementing the SDGs.
“Mongolia has shown its commitment to the Global Development Agenda 2030, by becoming an early adopter of the SDGs through formulating its own Sustainable Development Vision 2030 back in 2016. The need of the hour now is to increasingly translate the vision and its goals into concrete and well-aligned government policies and budgets, while ensuring that public investments target social and environmental sectors. The United Nations stands ready to support Mongolia in this journey”, said Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia.
The North-East Asia Multistakeholder Forum on Sustainable Development Goals is a part of the preparatory process for the 6th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development to be held in 2019.
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