The Geneva Cities Hub follows with great interest the preparations for the 2023 SDG Summit that will be convened on 18-19 September 2023, during the United Nations General Assembly high-level week. Governments will gather in New York to review the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing our world, and provide political guidance on actions needed to achieve the SDGs. The outcome of the Summit will be a political declaration. Negotiations related to the political declaration are already ongoing.
Local and regional governments (LRGs) play a crucial role in translating SDGs into a tangible reality for people on the ground, as acknowledged by UN Secretary-General in his special edition progress report on the SDGs: “local and regional governments have a key role to play in this [localization] process as the 65% of the SDG targets are linked to their work and mandates.” Indeed, most of the SDGs have targets directly related to the responsibilities of LRGs, in particular when it comes to the provision of basic public services. Hence, we believe it is important to acknowledge and explicitly mention the role of LRGs in localizing the SDGs in the political declaration. Therefore, we put forward the following suggestions for consideration based on the advanced unedited version of the UNSG’s special edition progress report.
- Commit to enhancing global, regional, national, and local partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals, engaging relevant stakeholders, including local and regional governments, recognizing the important contribution they can make toward achieving the 2030 Agenda.
- Recognize the central role of local and sub-national governments in implementing the SDGs, including by designing enabling national frameworks to allow subnational governments to meet their devolved responsibilities and by strengthening their capacities and resources to advance the SDGs.
The Cities Hub has also shared related language proposals with the co-facilitators of the negotiations on the political declaration – Ireland and Qatar – during the informal consultations. We hope that this crucial element of an inclusive and effective multilateralism will be taken on board and supported by Member States. We believe this language would contribute to a more effective implementation of the SDGs on the ground and therefore help realize our common aspiration to achieve the 2030 Agenda.