Thematic review: Implementing the SDGs: lessons from the regions
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the importance of action at the regional and sub-regional levels to contextualize and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and ensure effective monitoring of progress. Regional commissions support peer-learning among countries and stakeholders, capacity-building and the development of integrated solutions to address trans-boundary challenges. In this context, the regional level serves as important nexus to strengthen feedback loops from the national to the global levels, and vice versa.

The session on “Implementing the SDGs: Lessons from the regions” will feature the Executive Secretaries of the five Regional Commissions, who will, under the general theme of the HLPF “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” present a diversity of regional perspectives, share examples of best practices and experiences, and provide policy recommendations for action at national, regional and global level. Building on the broader thematic and SDG-focused discussions held during the first part of the week, the session will look at regional trends, thus serving as background to the presentation of Voluntary National Reviews during the second week of the HLPF. The session will also support inter-regional peer learning at the HLPF. During the session, Executive Secretaries will engage in an interactive discussion with Member States, representatives of regional and sub-regional governmental organizations, major groups and other stakeholders.

Expected outcomes: Based on latest data and analysis, Member States and other stakeholders will gain a better understanding of regional trends, progress achieved, persistent challenges and opportunities for action in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the regions.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • What are the key challenges and opportunities for action to accelerate progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the regional level?
  • What policy approaches applied in the regions are yielding positive results in addressing the SDGs under review?
  • What are the latest trends in the regions in the mobilization of financial resources and other means of implementation (trade, technology)?
  • How is regional, South-South and triangular cooperation evolving in support of the 2030 Agenda?
  • What types of partnerships are being formed at the regional level and could be replicated across regions?
  • How can the regional commissions better support countries in the achievement of their sustainable development agendas?

Chair:

  • H.E. Mr. Jerry Matthews Matjila, Vice-President of ECOSOC

Panellists:

Executive Secretaries from the Regional Commissions

  • Ms. Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC
  • Ms. Vera Songwe, ECA
  • Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim, ESCWA
  • Ms. Olga Algayerova, ECE
  • Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, ESCAP (Deputy)

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board (Minister) of the Eurasian Economic Commission
  • Ms. Alma Sinumlag, Programme Officer, Cordillera Women Education and Action Research Center (Asia-Pacific Civil Society Mechanism)

Followed by interactive discussion
Biographies
Mr. Kaveh Zahedi
Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development, ESCAP
Mr. Kaveh Zahedi

Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development, ESCAP

Kaveh Zahedi is the Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). He oversees ESCAP’s work on social development, environment, energy, disaster risk management and information communications and technology.
Prior to ESCAP, Mr. Zahedi was Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He managed UNEP’s technical and policy support programmes and represented the organization in the region.
Mr. Zahedi has previously served as Deputy Director of UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (UNEP-DTIE), overseeing work on green economy, resource efficiency and climate change. At UNEP-DTIE he also set up and headed the Climate and Clean Air Coalition for reducing short lived climate pollutants.
Over two decades Mr. Zahedi worked in UNEP’s offices in Kenya, Mexico, UK, France and Thailand. Before UNEP, Mr. Zahedi worked at an NGO as project manager for micro credit and development projects.
An Iranian and British national, he holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA, and a BSc first class degree in Economics & Geography, from University College London.
Twitter: @donkaveh1
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/Kaveh-Zahedi-ESCAP-DES
Website: http://www.unescap.org/

Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim
Executive Secretary/ESCWA
Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim

Executive Secretary/ESCWA

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced the appointment of Mohamed Ali Alhakim, a national of Iraq, as Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

Mr. Alhakim brings to the position 37 years of government and diplomatic experience, and a deep knowledge of the issues confronting the Arab region.

As Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, he worked directly with numerous United Nations bodies, notably in the development and follow-up of the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Alhakim has held several senior government positions in Iraq, including those of Minister of Telecommunications, Acting Minister of Finance and Deputy Secretary-General of the Iraqi Governing Council. He has worked at the international level to raise funds for rebuilding efforts in Iraq, notably in Mosul and Najaf. He brings a wealth of experience from his activities in the private sector as a technology consultant and entrepreneur. He has also lectured and conducted research at universities in Iraq, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mr. Alhakim holds a Doctorate in Management of Engineering from the University of Southern California, United States of America; a Master of Science and Technology from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; and a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Statistics from Al-Mustansiriya University, Iraq.

Ms. Alicia Barcena
ECLAC Executive Secretary
Ms. Alicia Barcena

ECLAC Executive Secretary

Ms. Bárcena assumed office as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on 1 July 2008. She had previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan.

Ms. Alma Sinumlag
Programme Officer, Cordillera Women Education and Action Research Center (Asia-Pacific Civil Society Mechanism)
Ms. Alma Sinumlag

Programme Officer, Cordillera Women Education and Action Research Center (Asia-Pacific Civil Society Mechanism)

Ms. Sinumlag is a Kalinga-Igorot activist from the Cordillera, Philippines. She has been working for indigenous peoples rights and women's rights for 12 years. She is serving as the Research and Publications coordinator of the Cordillera Women's Education Action Research Center (CWEARC) since 2012. She is also part of the Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) that exposed the rights violations of Chevron against the indigenous peoples rights to free prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the indigenous peoples rights to self determination in the company's plan to set up a geothermal power plant in the ancestral territory of the Kalinga people. She has also been engaging in several UN mechanisms to expose and draw support for the women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and indigenous peoples human rights defenders (IPHRDs) under attack because of their work towards a just just and sustainable future.

Ms. Olga Algayerova
Executive Secretary, ECE
Ms. Olga Algayerova

Executive Secretary, ECE

On 13 April 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Ms Olga Algayerova of Slovakia as the next Executive Secretary of the UNECE. She took office on 1 June 2017.

Ms. Algayerova brings to the position a combination of leadership and diplomatic skills with deep knowledge of the region with its challenges and opportunities and a strong focus on building and nurturing partnerships among key stakeholders with the United Nations. Prior to her appointment, she served as Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the International Organizations in Vienna, Austria (since 2012). She was previously President, Slovak Millennium Development Goals (2010-2012); State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010) and Corporate Export Manager, Zentiva International, a.s. (2004-2006).

Born in 1959, Ms. Algayerova holds a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy from Malta University, a Master in Business Administration from The Open University Business School, United Kingdom and a Dipl. in Engineer of Economy from the University of Economics Business Faculty, Bratislava.

On 12 July 2017, Ms. Olga Algayerova was sworn-in by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres.

Ms. Tatyana Valovaya
Member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission
Ms. Tatyana Valovaya

Member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission

Ms. Tatiana Valovaya was born on April, 11, 1958 in Moscow. In 1980 she graduated from Moscow Financial Institute, faculty of the international economic relations. From 1989 to 1994 – member of the Permanent Mission of the USSR and the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the European Union (Brussels), responsible for economic and monetary affairs. Later Ms. Valovaya held different positions in the Ministries of the Russian Federation and Administration of the President of the Russian Federation. From 2001 to 2012 – Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Ph.D. in Economics, professor of the Financial University (Moscow). Author of numerous publications on international economic relations, regional economic and monetary integration and history of Europe and Eurasia. Fluent in English and French.

Ms. Vera Songwe
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa
Ms. Vera Songwe

Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

Vera Songwe took up her new role as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on 3 August 2017.

She brings to ECA and the position of Executive Secretary a long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development and a wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa, as well as a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent.

Until recently, she was Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. In addition, she continues to serve as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. She is also a member of the African Union institutional reform team under the direction of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and a board member of the African Leadership Network and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Previously, she was Country Director for the World Bank, covering Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. She was also Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central and South Asia and a lead Country Sector Coordinator for the organization. She had earlier served as the World Bank’s Senior Economist in the Philippines.

Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Visiting Researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota and at the University of Southern California.

She holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics and a Master of Arts in Law and Economics and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan. She is also a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes College in Cameroon and has published widely on development and economic issues.

Statements
Statements
Ms. Alma Sinumlag, Programme Officer, Cordillera Women Education and Action Research Center (Asia-Pacific Civil Society Mechanism)
Ms. Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board (Minister) of the Eurasian Economic Commission
Presentations
Mr. Kaveh Zahedi, ESCAP (Deputy)
Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim, ESCWA
Ms. Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC
Ms. Olga Algayerova, ECE
Ms. Vera Songwe, ECA
United Nations