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2030 Agenda: SDGs and the Future of Europe

19 June 2017

“European local and regional governments are heavily engaged in multiple initiatives to localise the SDGs and translate them into relevant frameworks for their local realities and communities. Is the European Union ready to tap into this huge potential?” asks Maruxa Cardama, External Adviser to the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) Secretariat on Global Agendas, in a reflection blog post.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was adopted at the United Nations in September 2015, following unprecedented levels of engagement with local and regional governments, civil society, the private sector and academia; with the EU playing an instrumental role in shaping the intergovernmental agreement. […] In November 2015, the CPMR made clear that the universality of the 2030 Agenda can and must be compatible with a differentiated and territorial approach to its implementation.

Through SDG11, the 2030 Agenda sets out an unprecedented global resolve “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” But the urban and territorial dimension – so inherent to the territorial development model encouraged by the EU – is critically important for addressing the other 16 SDGs in an interconnected manner. Delivering the SDGs in practice requires planning and implementation strategies that have integration and interlinkages as foundations.

It is commonly agreed that the SDGs must be localised: translated into concrete actions for territorial development and positive impact on local communities. This global agenda will fail to deliver any real positive transformation for people and the planet if there is no empowerment of local and regional governments and ownership by citizens. The European Commission’s Report about the “Territorial Approach to Local Development” (TALD) launched last year, is therefore, a flagship piece of EU development policy.

There is also increased understanding that localising the SDGs means giving local and regional governments a leading role in the process, as well as commensurate resources. A study by Misselwitz et al. shows that the implementation of up to 65% of the SDGs is at risk if local urban stakeholders are not involved: 21% of the 169 targets can only be implemented with local actors and an additional 24% should be implemented with them. A further 20% of the 169 targets should have a much clearer orientation towards implementation with local actors, even if the (current) SDGs wording does not suggest this. […]

Read the full blog post here.