Convening alongside the 2022 United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), this special high-level event is highlighting the importance of localizing action towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme of the Fifth Local and Regional Governments (LRG) Forum on the 2030 Agenda is: “Fostering the achievement of the SDGs from the ground up towards the 2023 SDG Summit.” The first part of the Forum took place on Thursday, 7 July.
Emilia Saiz Carrancedo, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Secretary General, opened the Fifth LRG Forum, which is being co-organized with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN-Habitat, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Global Task Force of LRGs, and the Local 2030 Coalition. Saiz Carrancedo highlighted the importance of localizing action on the SDGs to meet the challenges of multiple crises and to accelerate action towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.
Maimunah Modh Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said action and work on solutions are needed now, particularly considering the socio-economic crisis caused by: the global COVID-19 pandemic resulting in local governments losing 20 to 50 percent of revenue; and war, climate change and biodiversity loss forcing many to flee their homes. She said success depends on empowerment of LRGs to increase their capacity to adapt to and overcome these challenges. She reported that voluntary local reviews (VLRs) had tripled in the past two years, resulting in increased global dialogue, as well as transformation from the bottom up through local innovation.
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, referred to the food, energy and supply chain crises as a result of the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine and the resulting forced migration. He said UNDP is helping cities drive forward the SDGs at the local level, including through nature-based solutions, urban farming models, and sustainable urban development. He explained that cities have become platforms for the future of sustainable development.
Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, Canada, UCLG Governing President, said local governments have been managing multiple global crises, and their interconnected effects require collective action. Noting the most vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities have been most impacted by these crises, he called for education for all, so no one is left behind, and opportunities for skills-based training of youth, women, and people with disabilities.
Panel on Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) and Voluntary Subnational Reviews (VSRs)
This first virtual session included a panel on VLRs and voluntary subnational reviews (VSRs) as key policy tools for achieving the SDGs, where mayors and regional representatives from different parts of the globe shared their experiences with localizing the SDGs. Many referred to the importance of VLRs and VSRs as essential tools to measure progress, and urged their integration with monitoring and planning processes. A number of representatives addressed current crises from the global COVID-19 pandemic including an increase in cost of living due to soaring inflation, noting action must be taken on the ground and lessons can be learned from the crisis response at the local level over the past two years.
Moving Beyond Reporting: Panel on Multilevel Governance and Multistakeholder Collaboration
This panel included regional, state, municipal, and local government representatives who discussed engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders, including women, youth, and the private sector, to develop tailored strategies and plans for local SDG implementation according to stakeholders’ needs and priorities. Participants also considered how the disaggregated data in VLRs helped increase the focus on SDG implementation gaps that may have been overlooked by national authorities.
Emilia Saiz Carrancedo closed the session, inviting attendance at second, in-person meeting, on 12 July 2022, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, where the sixth “Towards the Localization of the SDGs” report will be presented.
Fatima Santiago Matito | [email protected]
Fifth Local and Regional Governments Forum on the 2030 Agenda