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To think globally, we need to act locally!

22 noviembre 2016

The European Commission presented today (22 November) its key contributions to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals. This might be the EU’s most globally oriented platform ever, but it lacks a local flavour. 

The Commission announced a package of three communications: one on a new Consensus for Development, one on the building blocks for a renewed Partnership with partner countries and one on a Sustainable European Future. But PLATFORMA believes that the task ahead to align the external and internal actions of the European Union to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is enormous.
The European Union and its Member States are frontrunners for sustainability on the global stage. Yet, much remains to be achieved. The Commission’s proposal on the revised EU Consensus on Development is a good basis. All global challenges are covered, fundamental rights, gender equality are put at the heart of the strategy and the European Union and its Member States commit to work ever more coordinated.
Wouter Boesman, PLATFORMA Policy Advisor, said: “As the voice of local and regional governments for development, PLATFORMA particularly welcomes the renewed commitment to support decentralization and administrative reforms as well as the recognition that the achievement of most SDGs will depend on the active involvement of local governments.
In people’s daily lives, everything is local. More should be done to reflect this in the external and internal strategies. Local governments will need to be actively involved in tackling gender inequalities, education, youth participation in local economy and local public life. But also in reducing inequalities, creating smart energy grids, tackling climate change and building resilience to environmental or human crises, to promote sustainable consumption, to build urban infrastructure and unlock the potential of cities…”
EU proposes its most global platform ever, now let’s make it  local!
There are previous experiences where the EU executive supported local governments. However, both the proposed Consensus on Development and the Strategy for a Sustainable Europe do not fully grasp the potential of local governments’ action. The contribution to leverage a more sustainable local economy through local planning, sustainable procurement or education and awareness raising of the citizens will be crucial to achieve the 2030 agenda and the ambitions of the European Commission. However, they are hardly mentioned.
PLATFORMA will certainly engage in the dialogue on the future of relations between the EU and ACP countries (better known as the post-Cotonou framework) on which the European Commission also release its first texts today. The suggested proposal wants to respect regional diversity but does not seem to look further than the nation states.
Wouter Boesman: “If the achievement of sustainable development largely depends on local governments as the development consensus states, then a long but fascinating path is ahead to strenghten the local dimension in practice. We must show that local governments are ready to deliver and to engage.”