At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015 and the Rio+20 outcomes.
Following on from our successful Millennium Towns and Cities Campaign in support of the MDGs, UCLG played an active role in the UN consultations on the SDGs, alongside the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments.
UCLG successfully called for the inclusion of SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements through the Urban SDG campaign, which was led by a coalition of local government networks, UN agencies and civil society organizations. SDG 11 is the only goal of the Agenda to have a sub-national focus and represents unprecedented recognition of local governments in the international development agenda.
Our Post-2015 Journey: Local and Regional Voices on the Global Stage
Local governments will play a vital role in the achievement of all 17 SDGs. UCLG continues to advocate for the localization of the SDGs, that is, for distinct local challenges and opportunities to be taken to account in the implementation of the Agenda. We have followed the work of the Statistical Commission on the Global Indicators and the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and called for progress to be monitored at sub-national level so that no-one is left behind.
UCLG is also working to communicate the 2030 Agenda to our members and to support them in implementing and monitoring the SDGs in their communities.
The SDGs: What Local Governments Need to Know
Localizing the SDGs
What is localization?
‘Localization’ means taking into account sub-national contexts, challenges, opportunities and governments at all stages of the Agenda, from the setting of goals and targets, to determining the means of implementation and using indicators to monitor progress.
Local governments were not involved in the negotiation of the Millennium Development Goals, even though many of the areas covered by the goals are local government responsibilities. The lack of local ownership of the goals, as well as insufficient resources at local level to implement them, were identified as major weaknesses of the MDGs
How can the SDGs be localized?
For UCLG, the ‘localization’ process started with UCLG President Topbaş’ participation in the Secretary-General's High-Level Panel of eminent persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The inclusion of Mayor Topbaş in the High Level Panel gave sub-national governments a voice to advocate for the importance of local governance and local resources at the highest level.
UCLG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, and other partners, successfully campaigned for a stand-alone goal on sustainable cities and human settlements (SDG 11).
UCLG also proposed localized targets and indicators and advocated for targets and indicators that would differentiate between urban and rural contexts. See our technical report: How to localize targets and indicators of the Post-2015 Agenda.
Consultation on Localizing the Post-2015 Agenda
The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments co-led a consultation on localization with UN-Habitat and UNDP in the summer of 2014.
National dialogues were carried out in 13 countries, with approximately 4,200 participants from national and local institutions.
As well as the national dialogues, there were three global and six regional- level events, with more than 1000 participants from over 80 countries, and e-discussions on the World We Want platform.
The process culminated in a global meeting in Turin, Italy, in October 2014, at which main outcomes of the consultation were presented and discussed (Turin Communiqué).
The results of the consultation are published in the reports: Delivering the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Opportunities at the National and Local Levels and Localizing the Post-2015 Agenda.
Toolkit for localizing the SDGs
Based on the outcomes of the global dialogue on “Localizing the Post 2015 development Agenda”, UCLG is working with UNDP and UN Habitat on a toolkit for localizing the SDGs. An initial outline of the toolkit was discussed in workshops during the LED Summit in Turin (October 2015), the Africities Summit (November 2015) and the UCLG World Council in Paris (December 2015).