Conference 'Towards a Common Vision for Agenda 2030 in Central Asia' delivers joint regional vision of action towards the Sustainable Development Goals

The conference 'Towards a Common Vision for Agenda 2030 in Central Asia' delivered a joint regional vision and specific actions to be taken by the region towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, meeting in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 2 to 4 November 2016.

The event was jointly organized by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment and included representatives of the five Central Asian countries, UNDP Focal Points, and regional organizations with the support of Regional Environment Center for Central Asia (CAREC),

The Conference adopted a non-binding Resolution, which calls for cooperation in the transition to a green and a circular economy making best use of already existing regional frameworks, initiatives and programmes in support of the transition to more environmentally friendly, inclusive growth based on gender equality and human rights.

Agenda

Date and Venue

 2–4 November, Venue: Hotel “Ramada,”Almaty, Kazakhstan

Background

In September 2015, the world community agreed on a transformative agenda for people, planet, and prosperity called the 2030 Agenda and a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including recognition of extreme poverty as the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The Agenda, though global in scope, its implementation will differ among countries and regions, thus requires adaptation and tailoring to national, sub-national and local circumstances and contexts.

The Central Asian region is facing environmental, economic, and social challenges that need to be addressed in the nearest future to ensure transition to a more sustainable development trajectory. In this context, SDGs offer a turning point for the countries to help overcome the challenges and support the countries in their transition towards an inclusive green economy. Implementation of SDGs at the regional and national level requires an active involvement and partnerships of all actors from Central Asian countries and policy makers, representing ministries, national agencies, regional institutions, civil society organizations, private sector and the public at large.

Within the UN system, UNDP, UN Environment and others are working collaboratively to support Governments in the planning, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and review of policies and actions linked to the 2030 Agenda.  UNDP-UN Environment have been supporting efforts (through the Poverty-Environment Initiative[1]) to improve the ability of governments to steer natural resources better, to reduce poverty, promote environmental sustainability and meet the intertwined challenges set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mainstreaming poverty–environment linkages into national development has shown benefits that can address SDGs implementation. UNDP and UN Enviornment have been mainstreaming poverty and environment objectives in national and sub-national development planning in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, since 2010.

UNDP Country Offices countries have already started activities on SDGs mainstreaming into national strategies and plans. In most of the Central Asia countries the United Nations Country Team has launched a series of consultations to discuss the SDGs and ways of their localization.

In order to take stock of what has been achieved thus far in the SDG dialogue for Central Asia and to exchange experience from the mainstreaming of sustainable development concerns UNDP, and UN Environment are proposing a joint regional conference on a “Common Vision for Agenda 2030 in Central Asia”. This conference will be undertaken in conjunction with CAREC[2] as a regional entity working on environmental issues across central Asia and with support of UN Women.

Vision

The Regional Conference is envisaged to establish a regional dialogue on SDGs with a distinct focus on Green Economy and delivering on the environmental dimension. The event will raise awareness, develop the capacity, and strengthen the engagement of regional and national stakeholders with respect to Central Asian sustainability issues and the possible ways to address them jointly, through potential alignment of regional and national strategies with the SDGs. In that sense, it will serve as a platform to explore opportunities for developing joint regional actions for Agenda 2030.

Objectives

  • To strengthen cooperation between national institutions (key authorities) and other stakeholders (NGOs, Academia, regional Civil Society Organizations) on SDGs implementation at regional and national levels;
  • To inform on the latest developments with global, regional and national processes on follow up and review of the Agenda 2030 and the ways that sustainable development can materialize in Central Asia with a particular focus on poverty and environment nexus;
  • To introduce the experience from the elaboration of the education curriculum and the joint vision for Agenda 2030 that was developed during the CAREC regional training of trainers on SDGs;
  • To take stock and further explore sectoral issues on thematic areas of green economy (e.g. agriculture, ecosystems based adaptation, natural capital) and financing for Sustainable Development;
  • To formulate a joint statement and a list of actions for SDG support and implementation at Central Asian regional level.

Participants

The three-day Regional Conference will bring together national (five Central Asian countries), regional and international partners: Representatives of national authorities responsible for different sectors, SDG focal points within government and UNDP Country Offices, policy makers and technical experts in SDGs and Central Asia, educators from governments and NGOs, International and regional organizations from the UN system, GiZ, IFAS involved in the implementation of Agenda 2030. Invitations will be extended to Russian institutions (e.g. UN Environment partners in Stavropol region and Moscow) and other potential collaborators.[1]

Conference formation

During the event the five Central Asian countries (national representatives, UNDP Focal Points, regional organizations with the support of CAREC) will discuss specific initiatives that they have undertaken to initiate SDG processes, the existing partnerships, if any, with UNDP in support of the SDGs in the country.

The event will also facilitate debate of national issues related to Agenda 2030, the added value of the poverty-environment nexus in the SDG discussion, such as integrated approach on enhancing knowledge base and mainstreaming sustainable development concerns and objectives into national and sub national planning processes, as well as on the role of strategic national partners and policy makers in mainstreaming SDGs at national and sub-national levels.

Country presentations will follow the plenary discussions and presentations of best practices from different range of stakeholders.

The conference will also focus on delivering a joint regional vision and specific actions to be taken by the region towards implementation of SDGs. An outcome document “joint vision of Central Asian countries on SDGs” will be based on results of national activities led by UNDP Country Offices and will contain the list of actions and cooperation measures for the region. The measures will concentrate on maintaining and supporting the SDG process at national, regional and global levels and ensure contribution to the universal approach of Agenda 2030.

 

[1] The Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is a global programme that supports country-led efforts to put pro-poor, pro-environment objectives into the heart of government by mainstreaming poverty-environment objectives into national development and sub-national development planning, from policymaking to budgeting, implementation and monitoring. http://www.unpei.org/

[2] The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) was established in accordance with the decision of the 4th Pan-European Conference held in 1998 in Aarhus (Denmark). Its mission is to promote multi-sector cooperation in addressing environmental problems in Central Asia at the local, national and regional levels. Founders of CAREC are Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), as well as the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission. http://carecnet.org/about-carec/?lang=en

[1] The Russian ODA has clearly indicated Central Asia as a key priority target sub-region. It becomes necessary to create a network of Russian experts and institutions that will collaborate with UN Environment and UNDP and that will fulfil a key requirement of the Russian ODA. UN Environment ROE has done the first steps in this direction with Stavropol entities. The Moscow UN Environment Office effectively liaise in this role with the help of colleagues who have the knowledge of the programmes, substance, and sub-region.