Breakout Sessions | Stage 2

Host: UN Regional Economic Commissions

During the SDG Moment, the Regional Commissions will present the state of progress on the SDGs in the regions from the three prisms of poverty and inequality, climate action and gender equality. They will unpack the reality that progress on many of the SDGs has been slow across regions, ring the alarm on challenges and implications of pursuing current development patterns, and show that there is an urgent need to accelerate action on all levels and by all stakeholders. Pathways and opportunities towards a green, inclusive and gender-equal recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in line with the vision enshrined in the 2030 Agenda will be outlined.

Against this background, the regional breakout session in the SDG Action Zone will zoom in into the diverse regional realities presented in the SDG Moment, focusing on agents of change and pioneering solutions related to the three prisms. Featuring voices representing stakeholders from the regions, it will bring to the forefront the initiatives and solutions that are being tested and that have transformative potential to reverse SDG trends, have an impact on people’s lives and contribute to building back better in a post-Covid-19 world.


Amr Nour - Moderator
Director, Regional Commissions New York Office

Mr. Nour is currently the Director of the United Nations Regional Commissions’ Office in New York. In this capacity, he is responsible for providing strategic policy advice on a broad array of economic and social development issues on the global agenda with a bearing on the regional work undertaken by the Regional Commissions. He is also leading inter-regional coordination and collaboration efforts among the Commissions. Before joining his current functions, Mr. Nour worked as a research and evaluation officer at the United Nations (UN). He conducted in depth UN system-wide programmatic and technical cooperation audits in the field, in addition to management evaluations, including on results-based management and reform in the UN system. Prior to joining the UN, Mr. Nour worked as a diplomat advising the Government of Egypt on issues of foreign policy. His portfolio included, among others, the political economy of energy, trade-related issues and negotiations, as well as the sustainable development agenda. Mr. Nour also covered in-depth a number of political issues, including as a delegate to the Security Council. He represented his government in several global conferences and UN main and subsidiary bodies and led negotiations on behalf of several political groupings at the UN.Mr. Nour carries a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University, United States; a Masters in Political Science from the University of Paris I/Sorbonne, France; in addition to Law and Engineering Degrees from Cairo University, Egypt. He also carries post-graduate certificates in international law and Middle-Eastern studies.

Yetnebersh Negussie
Senior Manager, Global Action on Disability (GLAD)

Ms. Yetnebersh is a lawyer and disability rights activist from Ethiopia. She is the founder member of Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development. Before joining the Global Action on Disability, she served as a member of the International Board of Ambassadors of Light for the World. She is recipient of several national and international awards. She is a Laureate of Right Livelihood Award of 2017 for "her inspiring work promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, allowing them to realise their full potential and changing mindsets in our societies." Yetnebersh Nigussie initiated the ‘Her Abilities Award’ together with Light for the World to honour women with disabilities who achieved greatness in their life and field of work (

Philipp Schönrock
Director, CEPEI

Philip Schönrock is the Director of Cepei a Think Tank located in Bogota, Colombia, that promotes dialogue and multi-stakeholder participation in global agendas on sustainable development. Cepei’s Center for Studies on VNRs analyzes voluntary national reports presented by Latin America and Caribbean countries, for a better understanding of the actions that countries carry out to move towards sustainable development. Also, Cepei developed the “Position Tracker”, a tool based on its own methodology to monitor compliance with the commitments that Latin America and the Caribbean governments have made with the implementation of the global development agendas.

Ms. Salma Nims
Secretary-General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women

Dr. Nims is a member of the Advisory Group to the High-Level Task Force on Financing for Gender Equality for the United Nations. She sits on the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Women Empowerment and co-chairs the “National Committee on Pay Equity” with the SG of the Ministry of Labour and the “Gender Partners Coordination Group” with the EU Ambassador to Jordan and UN Women Country Representative in Jordan. Dr Nims serves on the boards of the Higher Population Council, Taqaddam Platform, Center for Protection of Freedom of Journalists and Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) as well as several national strategic planning steering and technical committees. She is active on social media, raising issues relating to social equity and human rights, with specific reference to women rights. In 2019, Dr. Nims received Said Foundation Outstanding Achievement Prize, which is awarded to individuals judged to have contributed significantly to the development of the region.

Ms Durreen Shahnaz
Founder, Impact Investment Xchange

Durreen Shahnaz, a global leader of social impact and impact investing, is the founder of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) and IIX Foundation. Over the past three decades, her mission has been to build a more inclusive, sustainable world by transforming financial markets and bringing underserved women to the forefront of capital markets. Drawing on a rich career as an investment banker, development worker, researcher, educator, and serial social entrepreneur, Shahnaz’s work has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, governments and impact stakeholders around the world to play a role in sustainable development and women’s empowerment.

With a career that has spanned the globe, Shahnaz has built a track record as a successful professional at Morgan Stanley (New York), Grameen Bank (Bangladesh), Hearst Magazines International (New York), and the National University of Singapore. Additionally, she founded, grew and sold oneNest (New York) – an impact enterprise and online marketplace for handmade goods. oneNest was sold to Novica United, working in association with National Geographic Society. Through these roles, Shahnaz has broken down walls and built bridges in order to connect the backstreets of underserved communities to the Wall Streets of the world.

Ms. Rosalyn Old
Board Member, European Youth Forum

Rosalyn Old is Board Member of the European Youth Forum. She works as a researcher on community organisations and has undertaken PhD research on sustainable cities and human behaviour. Her volunteering background is in students’ unions, Girlguiding UK and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, with a focus on governance and advocacy. In the European Youth Forum she focuses on sustainable development, climate change and supporting youth delegates in these spaces.

September 22, 09:45
09:45 — 10:30EST(GMT-4) (45′)


Amr Nour (Regional Commissions New York Office), Ms Durreen Shahnaz (Impact Investment Xchange), Ms. Rosalyn Old (European Youth Forum), Ms. Salma Nims (the Jordanian National Commission for Women), Philipp Schönrock (CEPEI), Yetnebersh Negussie (GLAD)