On the 21st – 22nd of March EUD participated in the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Region in Geneva, Switzerland. Representatives from the UNECE Member States, European Union, United Nations, intergovernmental and regional organizations, private sector and NGOs participated in the Forum to discuss the progress of SDG implementation in Europe region.
The Regional Forum aimed at breaking down sectoral barriers, stimulate innovative responses and draw in all relevant stakeholders across the region to discuss how to implement SDGs in our region. The Forum was an excellent opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to review progress, and exchange with best practices towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Throughout the discussions it was emphasized that it is essential to leave no one behind and to ensure that societies do not suffer from inequalities and exclusion while implementing SDGs. During the High-level Policy Segment: “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality in the UNECE region” it was highlighted that the current pace of progress in some areas is insufficient to fully meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda, and more action is needed. Dialogue and partnerships with civil society is essential for governments to achieve SDG progress. In view of significant challenges, an inclusive approach is needed that brings together people and governments in dialogue towards concrete steps needed for inclusive sustainable development.
EUD is a member of the UN ECE Constituency of Persons with Disabilities, which is coordinated by the European Disability Forum. UN ECE Constituency of Persons with Disabilities aims at ensuring that the views of persons with disabilities are included in the SDGs work of the UN ECE. This year EDF together with the Swiss Federation of the Deaf co-organised the side event “The labor inclusion of persons with disabilities”, co-hosted by the Swiss government and the EU. During the side event Dr. Tatjana Binggeli, the President of the Swiss Federation of the Deaf presented how to foster the inclusion of deaf persons into the labour market. It was emphasized that legal recognition of sign language, accessible communication at the workplace and access to information are the key factors that play a major role while implementing SDG8 for deaf persons.
The Regional Forum demonstrated that achieving the SDGs is a common undertaking and that governments, international organizations, civil society, private sector, academia and businesses have to collaborate in order to implement the SDGs in a way that leaves no one behind.