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Addis-Ababa Ethiopia: UNFPA Liaison Office to the AU and ECA coordinated UNFPA’s participation in the 2017 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that was held in Addis Ababa from 17-19 May 2017 under the theme "Ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity for all". The Forum was attended by over 40 Member States represented at ministerial and expert levels, representatives of various UN agencies, Major Groups and other civil society organizations. The main focus of the forum was to conduct an in-depth thematic review of the SDGs that will be reviewed at the 2017 High Level Political Forum including Goals 1 (poverty eradication), 2 (hunger and food security), 3 (health and wellbeing), 5 (gender equality and women’s empowerment), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 14 (oceans, seas and marine resources) and 17 (means of implementation and global partnership). It also sought to facilitate learning and sharing of experiences in the advancement of both Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNFPA took particular interest in the Forum given that many of the goals under review had important implications for its work. To this end UNFPA LIAISON OFFICE TO THE AU AND ECA participated in preparatory meetings of the forum, the development of thematic papers, and ensured strong representation in various plenary and parallel sessions. These included the participation of Prof. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, from Cornell University and member of the UN Secretary-General Expert Group that will draft the 2019 Sustainable Development Report, who made a presentation on the linkages between core population issues, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and the demographic dividend, and poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa.  Members of the UNFPA delegation also made presentations during the thematic sessions on poverty, gender and health.

The main outcome of the Forum was a set of key messages on each of the relevant SDGs. These comprise Africa's policy recommendations and way forward for this year’s SDG review, and represent Africa's consolidated contribution to the upcoming 2017 High Level Political Forum. Worthy of note were repeated links to Africa’s efforts towards harnessing the demographic dividend as well as ensuring the integration of the review of outcomes of major UN conferences such as the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development in review of Agendas 2063 and 2030.