UN Women at the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development 2021

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD), the primary regional mechanism for the follow up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab States region, will be held online from 29 - 31 March. AFSD is organized annually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in collaboration with the League of Arab States and other United Nations entities operating in Arab countries, including UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States.

Under the theme “Accelerating progress on the 2030 Agenda post-COVID”, AFSD 2021 will review the following nine Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDGs 1, 2,3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17, in addition, to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, a critical SDG for progress on sustainable development.

The Forum’s outcome will feed the regional position from the Arab States into the global High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) held annually in New York. The report will set out key messages emanating from the regional dialogue on the opportunities and challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, and reports progress on key sustainable development priorities.

AFSD-2021 will be the first Arab Forum to be held in the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030, as the region grapples with and tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic which has severely affected the lives and livelihoods of people from all social and economic backgrounds.

A link to attend AFSD-2021 will be emailed to all registered participants. Additional details will be made available on the AFSD-2021 web page.

UN Women at AFSD-2021

On 30 March, UN Women will co-host with UNFPA a plenary session on SDG 5 entitled “The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls in the Arab region.” This session will present a snapshot of the key interventions for the promotion of women’s participation and leadership, in order to accelerate inclusive and sustainable knowledge-based economies to build back better from COVID-19 and get back on track for the achievement of SDG 5 and Agenda 2030.


Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (Kuwait)


  • H.E. Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women (Egypt)
  • Ms. Lina Abou Habib, Co-chair of Arab States Civil Society Organizations and Feminists Network (Lebanon)
  • Ms. Jennifer Suleiman, Chief Sustainability Officer, Zain Group (Kuwait)
  • Dr. Martine Najem, American University in Beirut (Lebanon)

In addition, UN Women is supporting the following sessions:



This session will present experiences from the region to expand access and strengthen production of safe and nutritious food through a multi-sectoral approach, in order to address the needs of groups at risk of being left behind and improve the resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand future shocks.

3:45-5:15 PM (Beirut time)


Special Session: Catalyzing Private Sector Engagement in the Decade of Action

This session will explore a suite of powerful and practical examples within the Arab States region from youth skilling to ensure employability to the empowerment of women in the workplace, and to supporting business resilience among SMEs. Read more.

11:45 – 13:15 (Beirut time)

Special Session: Migration governance in the Arab region: Priorities, Opportunities and lessons learnt from the first GCM Regional Review Conference.

This session seeks to build knowledge and foster dialogue among participants on key issues and challenges hindering good migration governance in the region and threatening the resilience of migrants, specifically in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

10:00-11:30 am (Beirut time)


Special Session: The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus as a transformative pathway for SDG progress in protracted crises, including COVID-19: Challenges and opportunities

This session aims to catalyze a dialogue and thinking on promising approaches, challenges, as well as opportunities for action to elevate the Nexus as a key pathway to advance the 2030 Agenda in a post-Covid-19 context in the Arab region. Read more.

11:45 - 13:15 (Beirut time)

Accelerating Gender Justice in the Arab States region: a pathway to achieving the 2030 Agenda post-COVID

The special session will update policy makers in the Arab States on the Gender Justice & the Law tool and its usage to advance legal frameworks in the region, discuss strategies and interventions in the short, mid and long term as contribution to “building back better” in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery and introduce the preliminary results of a study on access to justice for refugee women in Lebanon. Read more.

11:45 – 13:15 (Beirut time)

Youth Roundtable

This event aims at providing a platform for youth to deliberate on their challenges and priorities in the current context of the pandemic as well as in the areas of: participation, civic engagement and peacebuilding, wellbeing and access to health services and skilling and learning to earning. In the session, they will also present their experiences as they work to address these challenges and propose entry-points to integrate the empowerment of youth and their involvement in recovery plans. Read more.

13:30 - 15:00 (Beirut time)