Stakeholders Assess Local, Regional Involvement in Sustainable Development Agendas
UN Photo/Kibae Park/Sipa Press
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Cities Alliance and adelphi published a report on ‘Local and Regional Governments in the Follow-up and Review of Global Sustainability Agendas'.

The report outlines recommendations for strengthening synergies between the follow-up and review of the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the New Urban Agenda, and for further involving local and regional governments.

The publication was launched during the ninth session of the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

12 February 2018: Stakeholders issued recommendations for strengthening synergies between the follow-up and review of the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the New Urban Agenda, and for further involving local and regional governments in that process. The report notes a limited participation of local and regional governments and their partners in the global SDG thematic reviews at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which could be attributed to a lack of awareness of the relevance of the HLPF and/or to a lack of resources to engage.

The report titled, ‘Local and Regional Governments in the Follow-up and Review of Global Sustainability Agendas,’ is published by Cities Alliance and adelphi, and co-authored by the African Centre for Cities (ACC), the German Development Institute, and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. It was launched on 12 February 2018, during the ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF 9) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The report notes that while the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda acknowledge the central role of national governments in follow-up and review, sustainable urban development is not yet the global priority that it should be. It also indicates that involvement of local and regional governments in UN processes related to sustainable development is made through the same modalities as those aimed at NGOs. However, it adds, unlike other major groups or constituencies, local and regional governments do not usually represent the interests of a particular group or electoral constituency, but advocate for the interests of all citizens in their jurisdiction.

On data and accountability, the report notes that existing initiatives to increase urban data availability and quality are highly fragmented and geographically uneven, which leads to a lack of consistent data “on how (and how much)” the local level is contributing to meeting national and international targets. It adds that multiple reports and other inputs feed into the follow-up and review of each agenda, which “raises questions regarding the best strategies for streamlining, compiling, structuring and including local and urban perspectives and data.” The authors recommend to support and scale up efforts to harmonize the indicators and methodologies used to collect data on the activities of local and regional governments and their partners. They also highlight the need to embed data collection efforts and reports in processes of collective evaluation and opportunities for peer learning, using fora such as regional follow-up and review processes supported by the UN regional commissions.

On implementation capacities, the report calls on national governments to understand how national legal, institutional and financial frameworks influence action by local and regional governments. It recommends institutionalizing engagement of local and regional governments and relevant local actors as key players in national processes to revise national sustainability strategies, urban policies and climate change policies.

On partnerships, the report points to the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships to foster inclusiveness, mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources. It proposes launching an urban data partnership under the umbrella of existing initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), to identify data gaps at the local and regional levels and ways to address them. It also recommends evaluation of activities of partnerships and other initiatives that self-register in existing global registries and platforms.

On strengthening synergies in follow-up and review across the three agendas, the report proposes to: address synergies across all three agendas in the quadrennial New Urban Agenda implementation report; emphasize local synergies and interlinkages across the SDGs and the other global agendas during the HLPF thematic reviews, including identifying specific ways in which the agendas reinforce or undermine each other; and encourage national governments to explicitly address urban sustainability issues and synergies between the three agendas in all relevant national reports and inputs for global follow-up and review processes.

Cities Alliance is a global partnership supporting cities to deliver sustainable development. It is hosted by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). adelphi is an independent think tank and public policy consultancy on climate, environment and development. [Publication: Local and Regional Governments in the Follow-up and Review of Global Sustainability Agendas] [Cities Alliance – adelphi Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on WUF 9]


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