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Event on “Achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Exchange of Experiences and Best Practices” (Athens, 3 October 2017)
On Tuesday, 3 October, an event was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “Achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Exchange of Experiences and Best Practices,” ahead of Greece’s participation, with a Voluntary National Review (VNR), in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations (New York, July 2018).
The event was organized by the YDAS-3 Geographical Policy and Strategic Planning Directorate and was aimed at an exchange of experiences of EU member states and Mediterranean countries that carried out VNRs in the context of the HLPFs in 2016 and 2017. Over 100 representatives participated in the event, including delegations from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and the Czech Republic, foreign Diplomatic Delegations (Albania, Australia, Belgium France, Denmark, Estonia, Jordan, Spain, Latvia, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Hungary, Holland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Finland), and representatives of Greek Ministries and Independent Authorities (ELSTAT, the Energy Regulatory Authority, the Economic and Social Committee, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Network Hellas, the Sustainable Development Council/SEV, and others).
The Event was opened by the head of the YDAS-3 Directorate, Eleni Nikolaidou, who underscored the importance Greece attaches to achieving SDG 16 for Peace, Justice and Institutions, and highlighted the Foreign Ministry’s hosting of the Rhodes Ministerial Meetings for peace, security and stability (2016 and 2017), and the International Conference on Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East (2015).
During the presentations that followed, important references were made to:
(a) interministerial coordination through the designation of ‘focal points’ at the various Ministries for the formulation of national priorities (General Secretariat of the Greek Government, Cyprus, Holland and Portugal),
(b) focusing on environmental governance and promotion of sustainable production and consumption standards (Environment and Energy Ministries of Denmark, Estonia, Morocco and Turkey),
(c) the adoption of a participatory approach to preparation of the VNR (General Secretariat of the Greek Government, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Jordan, Holland),
(d) the VNR’s focusing on the ‘weak points’ – in addition to the achievements – of the country under review (Cyprus, Estonia and the Czech Republic), and
(e) securing available data for carrying out the VNR and formulating the relevant indicators (Cyprus, Jordan, Morocco and Holland).
It was demonstrated that the practical parameters for carrying out a successful VNR include compliance with the relevant UN Guidelines (Cyprus); communication/promotion of the SDGs, e.g. through appointment of prominent figures as ‘SDG Ambassadors’ (Czech Republic); and the holding of relevant workshops (Portugal).