Empowering local governments to localize the SDGs
The 2nd High-Level Meeting (HLM-2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) took place from the 29th of November to the 1st of December in Nairobi, Kenya. The GPEDC brings together a wide array of state and non-state stakeholders, making it a unique development platform.
It aims to gather evidence and knowledge, based on its country-focus approach to support all development actors to enhance the effectiveness of their respective development cooperation efforts. The critical role of local governments for the localization of the SDGs is particularly stressed in the Outcome Document.
UCLG has a seat in the Steering Committee of the GPEDC since April 2014, with active participation of the UCLG Committee on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy and its Capacity and Institution Building Working Group. Local governments were also represented by CEMR, PLATFORMA and the AIMF.
Global debates on effective development cooperation
The HLM-2 was opened by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The three co-chairs of the GPEDC – Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands-, and high level representatives from the UNDP, OECDand UNDESA reaffirmed the Busan principles in their interventions – mutual accountability, country ownership, transparency and result-oriented cooperation -, and the need to strengthen the monitoring process of effective cooperation, to enhance multi-partnership dialogue and improved knowledge sharing.
During HLM-2the UCLG delegation emphasized the important role of local and regional governments in the effective development cooperation agenda as a way to contribute to localization of the Agenda 2030.
Local government interventions in the plenaries
Emmanuel Karuranga, Chairperson of the Kamonyi District Council in Rwanda and member of the Executive Board of the Rwanda Association of Local Governments Authorities (RALGA), spoke in the first plenary session, where he stressed that there a lot of progress remains to be made regarding transparency and inclusiveness of country-level monitoring assessments, as stressed in the 2016 GPEDC Monitoring Report on effective development cooperation, for the moment,: “less than half of countries involve local governments and non-state stakeholders in the assessment exercise”.
Councilor Nonceba Molwele, from Johannesburg and Vice-President of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) stressed during the 2nd plenary the need to implement the effectiveness agenda at sub-national levels, to reduce the increasing inequalities between peoples and territories.
Finally in the last plenary session, Boubacar Alpha Bah, Mayor of the 5th District of Bamako, Mali and President of the Association of Municipalities of Mali (AMM) stated that local and regional governments are crucial in the definition, implementation and monitoring of national development strategies. In his own words, “The localization process has to be understood not as a mere application of the global or national agenda at the local level, but as a reinforcement process of local actors, aiming at meeting their needs and aspirations and stablishing links between different levels of governance (local, national, international”.
Local goverments organized two side-events, one on “Localising SDGs to accelerate effective implementation of the Agenda 2030”, in partnership with UNDP and UN Habitat; and as second session on “Scale up the role of local authorities and local actors”, jointly with the European Commission and the French Agency of Cooperation (AFD).
The Nairobi Outcome Document
At the end of the HLM-2, the “Nairobi Outcome Document” was launched, a document which shapes how existing and new development actors can partner to implement Agenda 2030 and realize the Sustainable Development Goals. In the next months, the vision and ambitions from this document will be translated into concrete implementation plans at global, national and GPEDC level.
The Outcome document recognizes the critical role of local governments (para 46-47) and commits to ”empower local governments to localize the SDGs” (Summary, para 9 & 72), promoting a strong collaboration between all levels of governments and strengthening their involvement in monitoring process of effective development cooperation (para 31). Annex 1, “Renewed mandate”, include the principle of “non-executive co-chair in the Leadership of the Global Partnership” that will represent local authorities, parliamentarian, CSOs, trade unions, philanthropy and business sector. This in important innovation to foster mutual accountability and broad democratic accountability in multilateral fora.