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Local and regional governments focus on localizing the SDGs during the #EDD17

16 June 2017

Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation, the European Development Days (EDD17), was held on 7 and 8 June in Brussels. PLATFORMA, together with five major partner networks of local and regional governments that have a strategic partnership for development with the European Union –  AIMF, CLGF, UCLG and the African regional section UCLG-Africa – represented local and regional governments as key partners for sustainable development.

The 11th edition of the European Development Days started with the adoption of the New European Consensus on Development, a strategic document, outlining the future of European development policy. This Consensus recognises the role of local and regional governments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commits to support decentralization reforms and decentralized cooperation.

Cities and territories, key actors of development

The programme for the EDD included different sessions, at which the five organisations were represented, to discuss the role of local and regional governments in the implementation of the development agendas.

The role of local and regional governments in combating climate change was the main topic of the “Let’s team up for climate session” coorganised by PLATFORMA, AFCCRE and Cités Unies France, during which participants took part in a joint exercise to analyse how to develop local strategies with communities in order to tackle climate change.

The Co-President of UCLG, President of Cités Unies France and Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, promoted the local government perspective on involving the private sector in development, during the session “Yours and Mine – investing in development is everybody’s business”. In Mr Ries’ words, “renewing partnerships can facilitate progress towards the development of new public-private schemes (…) however, local and regional governments must retain responsibility for managing public services and managing private investments in any of the existing forms”.

Implementing and monitoring the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda

UN-Habitat, the Global Taskforce and the Habitat III Secretariat held a session on implementing the New Urban Agenda. Participants analysed how to produce the desired impact of this road map in order to achieve sustainable development in cities and how to ensure that governments at all levels and stakeholders take part in the implementation.

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN Habitat said that United Nations agency would continue working with local governments to implement and monitor the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. In her experience as former mayor of Kigali, Ms Kirabo stated that “holding the title of Mayor is not enough; if you do not have the resources and capacities at local level, especially in urban governance”, it is impossible to achieve the defined goals. The Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat also stated that the New Urban Agenda was a strategic framework for achieving the SDGs. She was later interviewed by PLATFORMA’s Marine Gaudron on the UN Habitat stand.

Also during this session, the Secretary General of UCLG-Africa, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, reported how local and regional governments “returned from Quito with a New Urban Agenda, and we said, now is the time to take action”.  Mr Mbassi talked about the constant urbanization in Africa and the challenges that African cities face in this constant process, as well as how implementing the New Urban Agenda would require addressing emerging inequalities in pursuit of more inclusive cities.

The session on the role of citizens in the implementation of the migration-related goals also emphasized the role of local and regional governments in implementation. The session highlighted the role of UCLG, which “is working very hard to bring local voices to the global migration debate”, according to Cécile Riallant, Coordinator of the UNDP Programme: Joint Migration and Development Initiative. She also gave an interview to PLATFORMA on the upcoming Global Compact for Migration.

The Global Village City Hall: localizing the global development goals

The five organisations that have a strategic partnership for development with the European Union created a City Hall at the EDD17 to provide information on the work that is being carried out on the ground to implement the SDGs.

The first Strategic Partnership agreement between the main global and regional associations of local governments and the European Union was signed in January 2015. Through this partnership, the EU has recognised the role of municipalities, towns, cities and regions as policy and decision-makers in addressing global challenges and in implementing the shared global agendas at local level.

For two days, the “Global Village City Hall” was visited by various key partners. All supported the #LocalizingSDGs, #Regions4Action, #Local4Action and #LocalAfrica campaigns by taking pictures with the colourful 3D hashtags. Mini sessions were organised on the stand to present the European Days of Local Solidarity (EDLS), workshops on city-to-city learning as the UCLG training module for localization, and meetings with Bertrand Fort, Delegate for the French External Action of Local Government, and with Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, the Secretary General of UCLG-Africa.

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