The achievement of Sustainable Development Goals globally depends on regional cooperation, experts say at Boao Forum for Asia

The success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development hinges on the ability of countries in Asia and beyond to work together. Such was the key message of an expert panel, which met on Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia, held annually on the Chinese island of Hainan.

The experts, convened by UN DESA and the Boao Forum Secretariat to discuss the theme of “Advancing Together the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” agreed on the importance of regional cooperation and partnerships in advancing the SDGs.

UN Under-Secretary-General and head of UN DESA, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, outlined the key features of the SDGs, including their focus on leaving no one behind, their integration of economic, social and environmental elements, and their universality. “All countries must work together to achieve sustainable development for all,” he said.

He also updated participants on the progress that countries have made towards the Goals, referring to the Synthesis Report of Voluntary National Reviews 2017 and the SDGs Progress Report. The initiative launched by China to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road initiative) was highlighted as a good example of a regional initiative that can help achieve the SDGs.

During the event, Mr. Liu also made the business case for investing in the 2030 Agenda: “The SDGs are good for business, creating an enabling framework under which businesses flourish”, he said, adding that thousands of companies have prepared business plans for the goals.  He also discussed the importance of the 2030 Agenda for the Asia region in several bilateral meetings, including with the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Jomo Kwame Sundaram moderated the panel discussion on the SDGs, which featured Under‑Secretary‑General Liu Zhenmin, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Vice Chair of the UN Global Compact Board, Shigeo Katsu, President of Nazarbayev University and former Vice President at the World Bank, Satsuki Katayama, Member of the House of Councillors of Japan, Liu Dashan, Chairman of the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group and Mr. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO).

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