The UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism recommends a special status for cities and regions

28 April 2023

The UN Secretary General set up in March 2022 a HighLevel Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism to build on the ideas in Our Common Agenda, with the aim of materializing the call for stronger governance of key issues of global concern, based on the recommendations of the UN75 Report where some of the recommendations from our constituency were included.

The UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism released its Report on 18 April 2023 after a year-long process of engagement and drafting, and presented six transformational shifts frame entitled “A Breakthrough for People and Planet”, among which the Rebuilding Trust in Multilateralism through inclusion and accountability.


In its Final Report, the UN High-Level Panel dedicates a full section to cities and regions and echoes the recommendations of our constituency and recommends a special status for cities and regions in the renewed multilateral system.

The High-Level Advisory Board calls for “people-centered multilateral system that must be radically and systematically inclusive, offering meaningful participation opportunities for local and regional governments”.


The Report acknowledges the key role that networks play, but that this role remains largely overlooked: “Cities also have demonstrated a remarkable ability to create effective global networks, yet they remain largely sidelined in the formal mechanisms of global governance”.


The Report supports the set-up of an Advisory Board to the Secretary-General on Local and Regional Governments and proposes two interrelated steps that would meaningfully bring subnational governments into global governance without diluting the central role played by States:


1)      The Summit of the Future to identify relevant institutions and processes where LRGs are offered a formal and permanent status, in the areas of the environment, global health, migration, refugee response, addressing transnational organized crime, and sustainable development.


2)      Consideration should be given to involving LRGs directly in relevant multilateral treaty processes, allowing them to become signatories.


It is worth mentioning that the Advisory Board recommends that localization should be an explicit part of national commitments on the 2030 Agenda.


It is worth mentioning that the Global Taskforce’s work is quoted and acknowledged in its contribution to the UN Taskforce on the Future of Cities.


It is an important achievement for the constituency of local and regional governments that will need to be materialized in the set up of the Advisory Board and in the process and deliberations of the UN Summit for the Future in 2024.

After the Common Agenda Report of the UN SG, after the UN Task Force on the Future of Cities, after the Advisory Board on Local and Regional Governments, the Report of the High-Level Advisory Board in another critical achievement of our constituency in its contribution to a more inclusive and more efficient multilateral system.


The non-binding recommendations of the UN High-Level Advisory Board will inform deliberations by Member States at the UN Summit of the Future. We will continue to monitor closely the follow-up of the recommendations towards the Summit for the Future and towards the formal set up of the Advisory Board on Local and Regional Governments.