On 1 and 2 November 2023, the Seventh North and Central Asia Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, organized by the Sub-regional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
The Forum facilitated dialogue and deliberations between government officials, civil society, think tanks, academia, experts, and other stakeholders, providing a unique platform to share information on subregional implementation efforts for achieving the SDGs, highlight subregional priorities and good practices. The outcomes and recommendations from the Forum will feed into regional and global processes, including the Eleventh Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and the 2024 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
Dr. Li Yutong, Head of ESCAP’s Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) joined the session of the Forum online discussing SDG2-“End hunger and all forms of malnutrition”. In her presentation, Dr. Li highlighted the role of sustainable agricultural mechanization in reducing the high rate of global hunger and malnutrition, providing opportunities for transforming food systems and helping address the climate change challenges for all stakeholders in North and Central Asia. She further underscored that Climate-smart mechanization, powered by innovative digital technologies and approaches, can not only make farming systems more resilient to the effects of climate change threats, such as droughts and extreme weather events, but can also substantially improve agricultural productivity, enhance the efficiency of agricultural operations, and contribute to carbon neutrality, particularly in Central Asian context.
The session also discussed the imperative of strengthened partnerships of multiple stakeholders in achieving accelerated implementation of SDGs. The collaboration between CSAM and partners in Central Asia to promote sustainable and climate smart mechanization for reinforcing the capacity in the sub-region to confront climate change challenges was presented. For instance, in 2020, ESCAP (through CSAM) established a partnership with the World Food Programme and the Administrative Committee of the Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Industry Demonstration Zone of China, which is the designated Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Demonstration Base for Agricultural Technology Exchange and Training. Since the establishment of the partnership, four training workshops with a particular focus on Central Asia have been successfully organized around the topic of sustainable and climate-smart agricultural mechanization.