ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Wednesday announced that the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) is set to be held in Zimbabwe from February 24 to 27 next year.
"Zimbabwe has confirmed that it will host the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) which will be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls from February 24-27, 2020," the ECA revealed in a statement issued on Wednesday.
According to the ECA, the high-level continental forum, among other things, will provide a platform for peer learning and exchange, especially on regional Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"The ARFSD is very important as it helps us take stock of where the continent is in terms of implementing the SDGs," said Oliver Chinganya, Director of the ECA's African Centre for Statistics and Officer in Charge of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division.
"Presently we are not doing very well. We are lacking in many areas. There are a lot of holes, especially when you look at data be it on poverty or climate change. So the 2020 Forum needs to spur ambitious actions to help us deliver on all the goals as Africa," the ECA director added.
Officials from the ECA also on Monday met with senior Zimbabwean government officials, including Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare Minister, Sekai Nzenza, as part of the first preparatory meeting towards the successful hosting of the Forum, which will be held in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, it was noted.
"This is a very good opportunity for Zimbabwe in the re-engagement drive. The development of economic growth and Vision 2030, where we see the country becoming an upper-middle-class economy by 2030, is very important to us," an ECA statement quoted Nzenza as saying.
According to Nzenza, the climate change agenda, in particular, was one of Zimbabwe's major focuses on the SDGs following this year's devastating drought and Cyclone Idai that destroyed infrastructure worth over a billion dollars in three southern African nations during the rainy season.
Nzenza further stressed that the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development "is coming to Zimbabwe at the right time where we want to really focus on the SDGs."
The 2020 ARFSD is intended to be an action-oriented Forum for stakeholders to explore, gain insight into, share and agree on sets of concrete and workable actions that will enable the African countries to achieve set targets within the set time.
According to the ECA, all the 17 SDGs will be under the spotlight at the upcoming ARFSD Forum in Zimbabwe.