From July 22-24, the Senegalese Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development hosted the First National Conference on Sustainable Development. The theme for this inaugural edition of the conference was “Sustainable Cities and Territories.” Over 500 stakeholders from government, civil society, academia, and international organizations participated in the three-day conference in Dakar.

SDSN Sahel Chair Prof. Birahim Bouna Niang served as the official conference rapporteur and also chaired a key panel on “Adapting the SDGs to Senegal.” During this session, SDSN Sahel local manager Ms. Fatoumata Dembele presented findings from the Ministry-led national consultations in which she participated, including the ranking of the priority SDGs for Senegal. Based on these consultations, the following overall priorities emerged: Goal 6 on water and sanitation, Goal 15 on terrestrial ecosystems, Goal 1 on ending poverty, and Goal 2 on food security and agriculture. Kouraichi Said Hassani, Head of mission from the European Union, also shared key takeaways for policy makers from their summary report, namely to pursue the SDGs in an integrated manner, to establish an institutional framework for SDG implementation, and to put in place a monitoring and data system. The session was moderated by Mariline Diara, Director of Environment and Classified Establishments at the Senegalese Ministry.

SDSN Director Prof. Jeffrey Sachs also prepared a special prerecorded video message during the high-level session with President Macky Sall and Minister Abdoulaye Balde. During the concluding session, Prof. Niang presented the conference findings and recommendations to the President.

SDSN Sahel was launched in January 2015 and already includes 30 member institutions from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. The Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD) hosts the regional network, with support from the MDG Centre West and Central Africa.