UCLG reported on the localization of the SDGs at the High Level Political Forum

High Level Political Forum

A delegation of local and regional governments, facilitated by UCLG on behalf of the Global Taskforce, attended the 5th High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) from 10-19 July, 2017 to report on progress on the SDGs at subnational level.

The HLPF is the official UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, and is therefore a vital space for local and regional governments to underline the role of strong local leadership and commitment in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme of the 2017 panel was "Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world".

HIGHLIGHTS FOR OUR CONSTITUENCY: Our High Level Political Forum Agenda

1. Building on the localization process, local and regional governments were invited to showcase their work and share how they are taking part in the National Reviews around the world.

 Tuesday 11 July I Plenary session on multi-stakeholders perspectives

During the Plenary session on multi-stakeholder perspectives, Mayor of Utretcht and President of VNG (Association of Netherlands Municipalities), Jan van Zanen, presented UCLG’s report National and sub-national governments on the way towards localization on behalf of the Global Taskforce.

The achievement of the SDGs requires their full ownership at local level; by local governments and by civil society. With this conviction, local and regional government networks are working on the “localization” of the SDGs. It is our hope that this awareness-raising, alignment of work plans, learning exchange and local monitoring and reporting will generate increased ownership of the Agenda among our members”. Mayor of Utretcht, Jan van Zanen

Mayor Van Zanen emphasized the importance of making the SDGs an agenda of the entire city, not just of the municipal government, and of using the goals as a framework to work with citizens. He stressed the need to involve civil society, knowledge institutions and the private sector in working towards the SDGs, both locally and internationally.

► Wednesday 12 July I I HLPF side-event entitled “Localizing the SDGs: local and regional governments actions for poverty eradication and prosperity”

UCLG, the Global Taskforce, and the Permanent mission of the Netherlands to the UN co-organized a HLPF side-event entitled “Localizing the SDGs: local and regional governments actions for poverty eradication and prosperity”.

© @LocalGovUN

The event brought together representatives from local and regional governments (LRG), national LRG associations, civil society and UN agencies to debate the role of local and regional governments in the SDG implementation process. 

Deputy Secretary General of UCLG, Emilia Saiz, called for stronger efforts to involve the constituency in the VNR process and in new institutional frameworks for SDG implementation and follow-up. Beyond the SDGs she recalled “the need for the Local and Regional governments to be fully involved in the Global process, claiming a seat at the Global table”. 

Mayor of Utrecht, Jan Van Zanen, made clear that localizing the SDGs is not only a matter of financial means but also about developing the political will to strengthen the role of local governments.

National governments and the international community need to recognize our role and involve us in setting the priorities to achieving the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda, as almost a 1000 local representatives of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, highlighted at Habitat III last year”

2. Contributing to the Local 2030 Hub, an initiative launched in early 2017 by the UN General Secretary Office, aiming to create a working platform on the localization of the SDGs

► Monday 17 Tuesday 18 July: Active engagement of the local and regional governments in the Local 2030 Hub

On Monday and Tuesday 17-18 July, the Local 2030 Hub held a two day meeting in the framework of the HLPF. A delegation of the Global Taskforce actively contributed to the meetings and brought the constituency messages to the Hub. ​

Mayor of Kitchener and Treasurer of UCLG, Berry Vrbanovic, made a strong statement on the urgent need to renew governance and partnerships frameworks at the UN arguing that

Our constituency would like to call on the int'l community to enable the localization of the SDGs. All SDGs are relevant to local governments, we are not mere implementers of the agenda but catalysts of change”.

This meeting set a precedent for a special space for dialogue between the UN and the local and regional government constituency in the framework of the SDGs implementation and the HLPF annual meetings. 

"Given the limited space that has been given to the local perspective in the formal programme of the HLPF 2017, we think the very meeting of the Local 2030 Hub is the news in itself,” said Emilia Saiz

It is a strong message: Local perspectives, experiences and partnerships will need to play a strong role in the implementation but also in the … further definition of the agenda.”

Sub-national monitoring to complement voluntary national reports

The international monitoring and reporting of the SDGs is being undertaken directly by UN agencies and national governments through a system of Voluntary National Reviews to the HLPF. UCLG is contributing to the HLPF’s yearly assessment cycles with reports on implementation from the perspective of local and regional governments.

The 2017 report, entitled “National and sub-national governments on the way towards localization”, introduces some of the initial outcomes drawn from first-hand information collected by networks of local and regional governments in over 30 countries, complemented by an analysis of the 63 official National Voluntary Reviews (NVRs) and ‘Main Messages’ presented so far by national governments for the 2016 and 2017 HLPF.

The report shows that local and regional governments are taking action or are beginning to act for the localization of the SDGs in all regions, but also that ‘localization’ remains unaddressed by the HLPF agenda. With nowhere to report from a local perspective or to showcase what is being done, the international community risks missing an opportunity to enhance the role of local and regional governments in achieving the SDGs. An adequate reporting framework should reward governments taking action to localize the SDGs and foster more local involvement where localization is lacking.

The report shares UCLG’s high hopes for the ‘Localizing the SDGs’ partnership with UNDP and UN-Habitat, the Local 2030 Hub (promoted by the office of the UN Secretary General), and the Local4Action Hub, which will support the localization strategy of UCLG and contribute to the broader agenda of the Global Taskforce.

The full report is available via the following link: National and sub-national governments on the way towards localization

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