Local governments at the high-level week: Localization, key to accelerating global agendas

17 September 2019

The United Nations General Assembly High Level Week, which marks the quadrennial review of the SDGs, will be held in New York from 23 to 27 September. The second Local and Regional Governments' Forum, which will take place on 24 September, will be the key moment of the week for the delegation.

The 74th session of the UN General Assembly will open on 17 September, and the high-level week will take place the following week, from Monday 23 to Friday 27. The momentum for climate action and sustainable development will be at the front of the agenda, with the Climate Action Summit (23 September) and the SDG Summit (24-25 September). The main space for dialogue between local leaders and national governments will be the second Local and Regional Governments’ Forum (September 24, 15-18h). Cities and regions will also have a prominent place in the preparatory meetings for the Climate Summit, during the previous weekend (21 and 22 September). 

This high-level week provides an opportunity for local and regional governments to push forward in their recognition at the global decision-making table. It will allow them to raise their voice and bring their message, actions and commitments to other political actors and to public opinion in order to showcase the importance of localizing global agendas.  Local and regional governments will come to the United Nations aware of the impact of their decisions and public policies, with the commitment and the conditions and changes that will have to be generated in order to achieve our global objectives.

Achieving the SDGs is the key to guaranteeing collaborative climate action that leaves no one behind

The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has convened the Climate Action Summit on September 23, a date on which hopes are high on strengthening the commitment towards the Paris Agreement and on accelerating actions to combat climate change. The summit aims to raise political commitment to the highest level on this urgent issue for the planet.

On Tuesday 24 September, the SDG Summit opens at the General Assembly to review progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Within this framework, the 2nd Local and Regional Governments’ Forum will take place in which cities, territories and regions of the world, Member States and United Nations Agencies will debate the need to own the Agenda 2030 from the bottom-up in order to fulfill the ambitious agendas. 

The message of the constituency of local and regional governments is very clear: the global agendas cannot be carried out in isolation. It is only through the localization of Agenda 2030 that we will be able to make the necessary and effective ecological transition to address the climate emergency.

Let's take local and regional action to the next level!

Local and regional governments share a sense of urgency in the implementation of UN global agendas. In addition, they are the ideal sphere of government for mobilizing communities, civil society, the private sector and other local stakeholders for compliance.

In this context, cities and regions will take to the 2nd Local and Regional Governments’ Forum, co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), UN-HabitatLocal 2030, and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments will lay out the specific commitments and actions for the achievement of the SDGs. The Forum aims to articulate a structured and multilevel dialogue for the effective achievement of Agenda 2030 on the basis of the Seville Commitment.

The outcome of the Forum will lay the foundations for local action for the next decade of implementation. The declaration, which is the result of the debates that take place in the Forum, will assume the long-term commitments and deploy strategic coordination actions between the different spheres of government.

We are convinced that the consolidation of the Local and Regional Governments’ Forum will be key to establishing a space for dialogue between local governments, national governments and the United Nations’ system that participate in the definition, implementation and follow-up of this agenda. We are committed to continue moving forward in this space and turn this second edition of the forum into a space for dialogue between local, regional and national governments to ensure that no one is left behind.

On 25 September, during the SDG Summit, a High-Level Dialogue among leaders will take place on the localization of Agenda 2030. It is worth noting the clear recognition that the Political Declaration that will result from the Summit makes of the role of local and regional governments in the achievement of Agenda 2030.

Other meetings such as the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, held on 26 September, will be important to discuss the resources and capacities needed to implement sustainable development without leaving any territory behind.

From the constituency of local governments are convinced that by fostering dialogue with all stakeholders and a multi-level coalition around localization, we will be able to expand our efforts and get local actors to develop and align their strategies aligned with the SDGs, being key at all stages of the implementation of the global objectives.

A race against time has begun that we can and we need to win.  This will not be possible without the renewal of mechanisms for a new multi-level governance. Cities and regions of the world are ready to enter the decade of implementation for Agenda 2030. Let's take local and regional action to the next level!

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