In late May 2020 UNU-IAS engaged in two international meetings on sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. Researchers working on the institute’s Governance for Sustainable Development project provided expert contributions to regional initiatives on the SDGs.
The Seventh Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) was organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) on 20 May 2020, with approximately 180 delegates and 250 observers participating through videoconferencing. The theme for this year’s forum was Accelerating action for and delivery of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, with an emphasis on “building back better together” in relation to implementation progress and challenges as well as regional impacts and country responses to COVID-19. The main conclusion was that there needs to be a policy for sharing common experiences and best practices in the region.
Subsequently, UNU-IAS, together with UN-ESCAP, UN-Habitat, UCLG-ASPAC, and APRU, co-organised a virtual meeting on 28 May 2020 as part of the Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy for Sustainable Urban Development. Engaging the 2019–2020 Academy Fellows, the meeting discussed the status and impacts of COVID-19 on cities and communities, local actions during the pandemic, shared challenges facing vulnerable populations and local governments and on the possibilities around recovery and solutions.
In discussions with partner organisations, Prof. Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) expressed her appreciation for the innovative efforts shown by local communities and emphasised the the need to support localisation processes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and best practices.