Messages from the regions (HLPF)
Wednesday, 15 July 2020
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Virtually (held New York time)

Official meeting

Documentation
Biographies

The 2030 Agenda stressed the importance of the regional and sub-regional dimensions in the follow-up and review of the Agenda.  Since the creation of the HLPF, regional forums on sustainable development have been organized by the United Nations regional commissions to contribute to the forum’s preparations.  Their importance was recognized in the Political Declaration of the SDG Summit in September 2019.

In 2020, the regional forum for the African region was organized by ECA from 24 to 27 February.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECE and the ESCAP regional forums on sustainable development had to be scaled down and held virtually (ECE – 19 March 2020 and ESCAP – 20 May 2020).  The regional forums on sustainable development of ECLAC and ESCWA had to be postponed and were held through virtual consultations, knowledge platforms, publication of various documents as well as summaries from different meetings in the respective regions. The session will discuss the findings and recommendations from the regional forums on sustainable development.

It will start with presentations by the regions’ spokespersons and Ministerial Chairs of the Regional Forums on Sustainable Development followed by interactive discussion with participants.
The session will address the following general questions:

  • As we enter the Decade of Action and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, were regions delivering on the 2030 Agenda aspirations? What were the critical gaps and opportunities for action at the regional level to make progress towards the achievement of the SDGs?
  • What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the different regional trajectories towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda?
  • What are the key opportunities and potential for building back better in the regions?

Chair

  • H.E Ambassador Omar Hilale, Morocco, Vice President of ECOSOC

Moderator:

  • Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, and Coordinator of Regional Commissions

Speakers:

  • H.E. Mr. Paul Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Zimbabwe, and Chair of the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development
  • H.E. Mr. Vaqif Sadiqov, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the UN, Geneva, and Chair of the 4th session of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region
  • H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Malmierca, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Cuba, and Chair of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development  
  • H.E. Ms. Samantha K. Jayasuriya, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to ESCAP, and Chair of the 7th session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development
  • H.E. Ms. Lolwah Al-Khater, Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab region

Respondent:

  • H.E. Ms. Nezha El Ouafi, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Morocco
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale
Vice President of ECOSOC
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale

Vice President of ECOSOC

H.E. Hilale has been Morocco's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York since April 2014. He is a career diplomat who has served in various posts around the world. Before his appointment in New York, he served as the Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN in Geneva starting in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, he served as the General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. From 1996 to 2001, he served in several diplomatic posts. including as Ambassador to Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. Before that he served as a Member of the Cabinet of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and a Member of the International Committee of Legal Experts, in charge of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Chemical Weapons. From 1976 to 1991, Ambassador Hilale served in the Moroccan Embassies in Algiers, Monrovia, Addis Ababa and Geneva. Ambassador Hilale graduated from the Mohammed V University in Rabat in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Malmierca
Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Cuba and Chair of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development
H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Malmierca

Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Cuba and Chair of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development

Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz has served as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment for Cuba since 2009. Prior to this position, he was the Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic Co-operation (2008-2009), as well as Ambassador of Cuba to the United Nations in New York (2005-2008). In addition, Mr. Malmierca was elected in 2009, 2014 and 2018 member of the Popular Power National Assembly (Parliament). He was elected member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the VI Congress in 2011 and in the VII Congress in 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Havana, and has post graduate education from the Higher Institute of International Relations in negotiation techniques, international relations and United Nations systems, as well as development alternatives in Latin America from the Center for Economic Research and Teaching, and accounting and finance for management staff.

H.E. Mr. Vaqif Sadiqov
Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the UN, Geneva, and Chair of the 4th session of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region
H.E. Mr. Vaqif Sadiqov

Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to the UN, Geneva, and Chair of the 4th session of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region

Ambassador Vaqif Sadıqov has been the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva since February 2016. During his career he has served in various diplomatic positions.

In 1993-1995, he was the Head of Division in the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan.

In 1995-2004, he was the Ambassador to Austria and the Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Vienna, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In that period, he was also the Head of Delegation to the arms control negotiations in Vienna.

From 2004 to 2010, Vaqif Sadıqov was Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan.

In 2010-2015, he served as the Ambassador to Italy, Malta, and San Marino. In the same period, he was the Permanent Representative to the Rome-based UN Agencies – Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Vaqif Sadıqov graduated from the Azerbaijani University of Languages and holds MA and PhD degrees in linguistics.

H.E. Ms. Lolwah Al-Khater
Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab region
H.E. Ms. Lolwah Al-Khater

Assistant Foreign Minister and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab region

Her Excellency, Lolwah R M Al-Khater was appointed as the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar as per His Excellency, Mohammad Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Decision number 43 for the Year of 2017. Her Excellency was appointed as Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs per HH the Amir Decision No 56 of 2019, in addition to her duties as Official Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.

Before her appointment as the Spokesperson, HE Lolwah joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Minister Plenipotentiary. She also served as the Director of Planning and Quality at Qatar Tourism Authority and as a Research Project Manager at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

Her Excellency, was appointed as Media City board member as per HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior decision no 20 of 2019, and she is the Executive Director of Doha Forum.

Besides the official capacity, HE. Al-khater has been working as an Independent Policy Analyst participating in conferences and multiple publications, and she is the co-editor of “Policy-making in a Transformative State: the case of Qatar”, a book published by Palgrave Macmillan. Al-Khater also wrote a book titled "Educational Outputs and Labor Market Needs: A study on Labor Market Issues and methods of Addressing Them" and was published through the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Moreover, Lolwah worked as a part-time lecturer at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and she is a Research Associate at The Oxford Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Forum at St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford. HE. Al-Khater is also a board member at The Institute for Palestine Studies.

Lolwah holds a Master’s of Science in Computing and a Master’s of Arts in Public Policy and she is a Dphil Candidate at the University of Oxford in the area of Oriental Studies looking at the question of Islam and Modernity in the context of the Arab Nahda.

H.E. Ms. Samantha K. Jayasuriya
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to ESCAP, and Chair of the 7th session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development
H.E. Ms. Samantha K. Jayasuriya

Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to ESCAP, and Chair of the 7th session of the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand Mrs. Samantha K. Jayasuriya is a career diplomat of 21 years of experience and since joining the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1998, she has held positions in various capacities both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo and its overseas Missions.

Immediately prior to been appointed as the Ambassador to Thailand, she served as the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva (September 2014 - July 2019) . Her professional service at Sri Lanka’s overseas Missions include Minister/Deputy Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka Embassy to Belgium, Luxemburg & European Union (August 2012- August 2014), Counsellors/First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York (August 2006 -December 2009), and Second Secretary/Third Secretary of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Stockholm-Sweden (February 2000 – March 2003).

In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, she held the positions of Director (March 2010-July 2012) and Deputy Director (May 2005 – July 2006) of the United Nations, Multilateral Affairs, Human Rights and Conferences Division, Deputy Director (April 2003 - August 2003) of the Public Communications division, and Assistant Director (July 1998 – January 2000) of the South Asia and SAARC Division.

She has represented Sri Lanka in the three-member UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinians and Other Arabs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Special Committee on Israeli Practices) in 2008 and in 2014 respectively.

Mrs. Jayasuriya has also served as a member of the respective Sri Lanka delegations to the following treaty bodies reviews and made interventions at oral reviews and was involved in the preparation of Sri Lanka’s submissions to; ICCPR (2014), CERD, CAT and CMW (2016), and CEDAW (2017), ICESCR ( 2017), CRC (2018) and 3rd Cycle of UPR in 2018.

She holds a Masters of Arts Degree from University of Japan (IUJ) on a ADB Scholarship. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mrs. Jaysuriya served in the Economic Affairs Department of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, as an Assistant Lecturer, pursuant to her graduation from the Faculty with BSc (Hons) degree in Agriculture with specialization in Agricultural Economics. Having obtained a Diploma in Journalism, Ambassador Jayasuriya also practiced briefly as a freelance journalist.

She is married to Mr. Prashantha Wijesinha and having one daughter.

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

Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

Ms. Songwe brings to the position a longstanding track record of policy advice and results oriented implementation in the region, coupled with a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent. She is currently Regional Director Africa covering West and Central Africa for the International Finance Corporation (since 2015) and non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institute: Global Development and Africa Growth Initiative (since 2011). She was previously Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania at the World Bank (2012-2015), Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions (2008-2011) and Lead Country Sector Coordinator and Senior Economist, Philippines (2005-2008). She joined the World Bank as a Young Professional.

Born in 1968, she holds a Ph.D. in Mathematical Economics, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, a Master of Arts in Law and Economics and a Diplôme D'Etudes Approfondies in Economic Sciences and Politics from the Université Catholique De Louvain, and a Bachelors 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.

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