Driving a just and sustainable recovery from cities and territories

Driving a just and sustainable recovery from cities and territories

The 6th edition of the Global Taskforce’s report to the HLPF 2022, Towards the Localization of the SDGs, is out now!

Over the past two years, local and regional governments (LRGs) have positioned themselves as frontline responders to the complex and interconnected crises that our societies are facing. The role that LRGs play in securing universal access to local public services has come through as simply essential to address the current crisis and to support a just recovery.

This report provides the most updated and comprehensive understanding of the efforts that LRGs have been undertaking to promote quality and lifelong education for all (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), life below water (SDG 14), life on land (SDG 15), and partnerships for the SDGs (SDG 17). It draws upon the 44 VNRs presented to the HLPF this year; as well as upon the over 150 Voluntary Local Reviews and 26 Voluntary Subnational Reviews produced to date; the responses to the annual GTF/UCLG survey from 93 countries; and the Country Profiles on SDG localization published this year.

The report sheds light on LRGs’ efforts to develop healthy learning environments, combat early school dropout and support populations’ involvement in education and in lifelong learning opportunities for all. The report also emphasizes how LRGs are adopting “care” as a central element to COVID-19 recovery: mainstreaming gender-sensitive and gender-responsive approaches in local policy-making and actions, adopting a feminist perspective in local planning and budgeting processes, fostering responses against violence and harassment, and creating new livelihoods opportunities. It shows how LRGs, particularly those in coastal areas, are striving to prevent marine pollution, and invest in coastal areas’ protection, promoting integrated, locally managed marine areas. LRGs are also fostering the sustainable management of forests and protected areas; as well as the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems (including through the promotion of “urban forests”). Moreover, LRGs are also developing global and regional networks to boost women’s local leadership and are active partners in global initiatives to advance SDGs 14 and 15, such as the Urban Ocean programme or the Edinburgh Process declaration on biodiversity, among others.

In terms of LRGs' inclusion in national strategies for SDG localization and reporting, the report shows progress in a number of countries that have aligned national and local development plans with the SDGs. However, LRGs have been consulted in the preparation of the VNRs of only 48% of the 44 countries reporting this year. Moreover, LRGs only take part in 32% of the national coordination mechanisms of these 44 countries. This is still insufficient to effectively ensure the adoption of a “whole of government” and a “whole of society” approach. There is a pressing need to accelerate LRGs’ active involvement in the SDG reporting and implementation processes and, particularly, to associate LRGs in the design and implementation of recovery strategies for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the global sustainability commitments.

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Download the report here