In collaboration with the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, the multi-stakeholder coalition Local2030, part and parcel of the local government delegation brought together experts from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors, together with local leaders and representatives from United Nations agencies, to present local-level actions at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
Access to data and financing, as well as capacity building in humanitarian settings and climate action were some of the main focus areas of the sessions. Accelerating and scaling-up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and providing innovative concepts to continue developing the wider strategy on localization were also addressed.
Feminizing politics and women’s contribution to the global goals
The opening session of the event was an all-women panel. Mayors gathered in the panel argued for the need not just to include the representation of women in decision-making tables, but to acknowledge the contribution of women towards the achievement of the global agendas. Panelists reiterated that women are amongst the most vulnerable groups in society and at risk of poverty and disasters, and advocated to plan for cities taking into account women in situations of crises.
“Our priority is achieving gender equality, and doing so from a diverse perspective and acknowledging women’s effective contribution to human rights.” Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid
“Women are under-represented in policymaking, and the time has come to lead in the achievement of the Goals.” Célestine Ketcha Courtès, Mayor of Bangangté
Localizing finance to reach the furthest behind
The goals will not be achieved without secure access to finance for subnational governments. Throughout the first panel, local, regional and national governments as well as private actors shared their views on how to best provide the funding that local and regional governments need.
There is already funding available for local and regional governments, but it is failing to reach the communities that most need it. Throughout the panel, there was a shared sentiment that shifting the institutional framework was necessary to localize financing, including all stakeholders, from local and regional governments to the private sector. Panelists from the private sector shared how companies could contribute to facilitate finance towards local and regional spheres of government.
“We need a change in the institutional framework. If the financing is there, ask yourselves why local governments are not able to tap into it. We need regulatory reforms to start with!” Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG
Raising awareness and building capacities to face global challenges
The second panel focused on how to build capacities for local and regional governments to respond to global challenges. Planning for resilience, decentralized cooperation and multilevel governance were all part of a broader conversation centred on how to better equip cities and regions with the tools to achieve the Goals. Reforming legislative frameworks as well as – once again – financing environments will be key in order for local and regional governments to act autonomously and grow into their role as key players in the achievement of the SDGs.
“If we want to achieve the SDGs, we need to scale up commitments and build resilience in cities.” Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat
“We are committed to leave no one behind and we call for national governments and the international community not to leave local governance and territorial cohesion behind.” Parks Tau, President of UCLG
Accessing data, key to knowing our communities and achieving the SDGs
One of the main challenges when implementing the Global Goals is the lack of localized data. The third panel highlighted some solutions in order to access localized data, such as involving local and regional governments in the monitoring of the global agendas – particularly in the Voluntary National Reviews – and focusing on open government and transparency to restore citizens’ confidence in their institutions.
“We need to add qualitative data to the quantitative data to understand the impact of performance in local democracy. We need to look at the process at the local level.” Carlos Martínez, Mayor of Soria, Spain
Time is running out fast: solutions to accelerate the implementation of the Climate Agenda
A sense of urgency was present throughout the fourth, and last, panel, which focused on upscaling the climate agenda. The Paris Agreement will never be achieved unless it is implemented from the bottom up. This is the only way in which local and regional governments will be able to own the Climate Agenda and implement solutions for their communities. A dialogue between all spheres of government around climate, as well as access to funding and linking the global agendas, were identified as key priorities in order to accelerate the consecution of the climate goals.
“We are out of time in this race. We call stakeholders at all levels to pursue a global common pathway to reduce the environmental impact of cities in synergy with the Paris Agreements.” Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, Germany, President of ICLEI
- Visit the Flickr album of the session