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The SDGs will not be achieved without local and regional governments: Goal 11 in review

11 July 2018

The importance of the territorial spheres in the 2030 Agenda

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represents an ambitious target, being more universal in their approach than any of the other development agendas to date. The inclusion of SDG 11, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,  the first and only stand-alone urban goal, is a triumph for local and regional governments that exemplifies how the recommendations of the constituency of LRGs are being acknowledged by the international community.

The High Level Political Forum is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development, and has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. Among the Goals being reviewed during the 2018 High Level Political Forum, which takes place under the name "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies",  is SDG 11.  

The role of local and regional governments in an increasingly urbanized world 

The phenomenon of urbanization is unstoppable. It is estimated that, by 2050, 70% of the global population will live in cities, which is a challenge in terms of improving the housing conditions of many of these new urban dwellers, of rethinking a more sustainable mobility and transport system, and in planning for more resilient societies that can absorb both environmental and socioeconomic shocks.

The session reviewing the implementation of SDG 11 will explore the many issues that need to be addressed in order to achieve inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, as well as, for the first time, the role that local and regional governments play in achieving this goal and making sure that it reaches the populations living in cities in order to leave no-one behind.

LRGs play a key role in developing integrated urban and territorial plans to localize the SDGs, particularly Goal 11

Goal 11 is an eminently urban goal, but that does not mean that it is isolated from the rest of the 2030 Agenda. The session will also explore the interlinkages between SDG 11 and the other goals, particularly in regards to climate change, reducing poverty and inequalities, and the goals that are in review during this year’s HLPF (6, 7, 12, 15 and 17).

The delegation of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments will be presenting our second The delegation of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments will present, during the 2018 HLPF, our second report on the localization of the SDGs from the Local and Regional Governments' perspective, “Local and Regional Governments on their way towards the localization of the SDGs”, focusing on how local and regional governments are facing the implementation of the goals

cover localization sdgs

What will be discussed in the session? 

Among the participants of the session are Wim Dries, Mayor of Genk and president of the Flemish Association of Local Councils, in Belgium, and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, who will address the importance of local and regional governments in taking ownership of the Goals.

Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, will address the need to change our view of housing, from a commodity to a human right, and what needs to be done in order to face the challenges of housing in urban environments.

There is still work to do in terms of recognition and full involvement of local and regional governments, however: The majority of the indicators of the goals will only be achieved at the territorial level, and local and regional governments need to be taken into account not just when reviewing Goal 11, but also in the development of strategies to achieve the SDGs, and in monitoring and reporting what has been achieved. We need to involve more spheres of government in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda if we truly aspire to make it a reality.

Local and regional governments’ activity at the HLPF

The GTF will be co-organizing, in collaboration with UNDESA, UN-Habitat and the Local2030 network, the Local and Regional Governments’ Forum on 16 July. The Forum will provide an unprecedented opportunity to call for the inclusion of the perspective of the constituency of local and regional governments in the assessment of the global Agendas, by exploring the role of Local and Regional Governments in the implementation and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda.

The GTF and Local 2030 will also co-host the Local2030: Local Action for Global Commitments Special Event on July 17 to explore the challenges and opportunities local leaders face with respect to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on concrete solutions to accelerate local action.  Participants will include representatives of national governments, local governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, and UN leadership.

Further information