Co-organised by UCLG, AICCRE, UNPD, UN-Habitat and the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, Venice City Solutions 2030 was hosted online and in Venice from the 2nd to the 3rd of December.
Venice City Solutions is a yearly event that promotes the local implementation of SDGs, focusing on innovative and practical tools being mobilized by local and regional governments. Under the motto “SDGs Solutions to Rethink the City”, the fourth edition focused on how cities and local governments are contributing to make SDGs a reality for all, considering 2030 Agenda and the SDGs as both a shared roadmap and a vision for the future of cities and territories.
This edition has been structured in four different trails concerning the following themes: inclusion, sharing of ideas, transformation and planning. Besides, a special session was devoted to UCLG’s Town Hall process.
The event began with an institutional welcome by Carla Rey, Secretary General of the Italian Association for the Council of European Municipalities (AICCRE), Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG and Diana López Caramazana, Partnerships Specialist on Cities and Local Governments at UNDP, which emphasized the importance of Venice City Solutions to co-create innovative solutions in cities.
Carla Rey, Secretary General of AICCRE, “Venice City Solutions is a place of creation, of innovative solutions, that seeks different aspects of multiple sectors in cities to allow for transformation”
Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, “Venice City Solutions is a meeting place of relevant actors to debate on how to improve the consecution of the global Agendas, to obtain a vast and long-term vision to face both health and climate crisis”
Diana López, UNDP, “Local governments are the ones realizing that SDGs become a reality for all. If it weren’t for them, citizens would not know about it.”
Following the welcome, the blue trail of Venice City Solutions started with a focus on the city of Bogotá with a presentation by Diana Rodríguez Franco, Councilor for Women's Affairs. Amongst the speakers of the session were Emilio Rabasco, Director of FAMSI, Pilar Díaz, deputy for the Presidency of the Barcelona Provincial Council and Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat, Camila Cociña from the University College of London, Stefano Vitali, Sustainable Finance Advisory Director at Unicredit Bank and Bahram Ghazi from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), all brought inspiring visions on how we can act to place care at the center: bringing the focus on those persons that care and those that need to be cared for, changing the paradigm, together, to overcome structural inequalities.
The next session, the red trail on sharing ideals, offered an interesting debate on the role culture has to play in sustainable urban development. The participants were: Vladimir Ameller, Municipal Secretary of Urban Planning, La Paz; Marta Llobet from UCLG’s Committee on Culture and Maria Radaelli from the University of Ca’Foscari in Venice.
The day ended with a strategic conversation in private between our partners from the United Nations (UN-Habitat, the SDG Action Campaign, UNDESA, OHCHR) and the other event organizers to analyze opportunities and challenges of SDGs implementation.
The second day began with the yellow trail, centered upon transformation and sustainable mobility. The session was moderated by David Jackson from UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) who argued for the potential for progress in fixing the financial architecture for cities pointing out how "Post COP26: multi-level governance, local authority-led adaptation and a green transition with local government involvement is the way forward".
This session featured online speakers: Richard Seshie from the city of Danané, Ivory Coast, Laura Zilianifrom the Secretariat of Transport and Public Works, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mangesh Dighe, Environment Officer, Pune Municipal Corporation, India; Dionisio González, Director UITP and Bruno Lana Economic Affairs Officer, Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The last track, the green track, focused on urban planning and, in particular, how SDGs can be used to build back better. Moderator Aline Matta, policy analyst at the OECD, highlighted the need to connect all the dots and the 2030 agenda and to advance in the localization of SDGs at the local level. Participants included Miquel : Rodríguez Planas, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda in Barcelona. Laura Monzo, Coordinator of Strategic Planning, Municipality of Canelones, Uruguay, Nicolas Gharbi, Senior Advisor for International Affairs and City Diplomacy, Madrid and Patricia Miranda Menezes, Focal Point for the 2030 Agenda of the Mayor's Office of Barcarena, Brazil.
Edgardo Bilsky and Cécile Roth from the UCLG research team presented the findings of the 2021 report to the High Level Political Forum "Towards the localization of the SDGs”
Venice City Solutions closed with a final session that linked directly to the process of the next UCLG Congress in 2022. Under the title "How cities listen to deliver the common agenda: the UCLG Town Hall process"the session, moderated by Pablo Fernández from UCLG, offered a space for reflection on the importance of care being reflected in public service delivery with key partners from the civil society. Civil society actors who led the first process of the Town Hall in Durban, and who will be key actors for the next generation in Daejeon, led the session.
The session included the participation of Luis Artieda, Word Enabled Research and Development Coordinator, who pointed out the importance of strengthening and developing communication channels between citizens and local and regional governments. Rosa Pavanelli, PSI Director together with Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG brought up the concept of intergenerational responsibility and advocated for listening to young people and including them in decision-making processes. Finally, Sophia Torres from the Global Platform for the Right to the City, highlighted the progress that has been made in localizing SDGs into concrete actions and encouraged that the spaces where global debates take place be more inclusive and more diverse.
The recommendations and narratives produced in Venice will be presented during the 2022 High Level Political Forum, the official UN event that assesses the state of implementation of the 2030 Agenda.