EUROCITIES task force on sustainable development goals champions localisation efforts

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At the launch of the EUROCITIES task force dedicated to the localisation of the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs), speakers described the active role required of cities, the good practices some are already developing and the support all will receive through the activities and guidance of the task force.

'To reconcile citizens with politics and humans with the planet, European cities are working together to lead this transformation,' said EUROCITIES secretary general Anna Lisa Boni at the task force launch. 'To this end, cities are transforming their governance structures in a way that... requires vision, leadership and perseverance.'

Cities' active involvement is necessary for 65% of the SDGs. As Said El Khadraoui of the European Commission's European Political Strategy Centre pointed out, the holistic framework provided by the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development help cities and other levels of government reorient their decision making towards a more integrated approach.

Demonstrating that cities are on the right track, Louis Meuleman, member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, argued that having effective public administration and governance is a key enabler for implementing the SDGs. He said that a real-time collaborative model that works across layers of governance, such as the ‘inter-administrative dossier teams’ already developed in the Netherlands, could be one way to do this.

Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) provide a way for cities to record their contribution to the 2030 Agenda and are the subject of a forthcoming handbook that was presented by Pilar Vizcaino Martinez from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. VLRs are already being tested and implemented by cities such as Helsinki, Bristol and Madrid.

Indicators are often the major barrier for implementation at the local level. This has prompted the OECD to initiate a localised framework to deliver the SDGs. As Stefano Marta from the OECD outlined, preliminary work to map out all existing local level initiatives is already underway.

During the discussion, it became clear that many cities are already developing new strategic sustainable development plans that work across government departments and are in line with the SDGs. Others are going the extra mile by experimenting with budget allocations based on the SDGs.

In the coming months our task force, which brings together 58 cities, will continue working on these themes through mutual learning activities. Next autumn it will publish a report gathering the success factors and common challenges for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

You can find the task force members in the map below.