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14 cities discuss joint commitments to the SDGs and a “global movement” to VLRs

June 18, 2019:

The Brookings Institution publishes a memoir on the experiences of 14 “SDG Leadership Cities“, including recommendations for the implementation of the SDGs by cities. The brief is based on discussions at a meeting in Bellagio, Italy, to “move forward one perspective and consensus per city” on locating the SDGs.

The Bellagio meeting was held from 3 to 6 April 2019 with the participation of the following cities: Accra (Ghana); Bristol (United Kingdom); Ethekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa); Helsinki, Finland); Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Pittsburgh (United States); Madrid, Spain); Malmo (Sweden); Mannheim (Germany); Mexico, Mexico); Milan, Italy); and Yokohama (Japan).

The brief reports that these cities are committed to:

meet three times over the next 18 to 24 months, with the support of the Brookings Institution, to share best practices, solve common problems and develop useful tools for making progress at the local level in the context of the 2030 Program;
incorporate messages regarding their sustainable development commitments into the public remarks of their mayors and other senior municipal officials;
promote the localization of the SDGs with their peers and within their city-to-city networks;
continue to deepen their work on data and evidence;
consider conducting a Local Voluntary Review (VLR); and
share their practices, challenges and innovations with others to support and intensify local implementation of the SDGs.
Entitled ‘Building the Global Agenda to Maximize Cities‘ Leadership on the SDGs: The Experiences of Forward-Looking Cities‘, and written by Anthony Pipa, short notes that mayors and local government officials are the front lines the implementation of the SDGs, thus translating the 2030 Agenda “high and sometimes abstract aspirations” to progress felt by “real people living in real communities“.

The submission states that the 14 participating cities view the SDGs as an integration rather than a novelty, with their leaders already working on issues of equity and inclusion, social cohesion, economic growth, democratic participation, climate change and environmental sustainability.

Participating cities were skeptical about standardizing a set of city targets or indicators, suggesting instead a common “data floor”.

In measuring the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals, the author indicates that the participating cities were skeptical about attempts to standardize a set of objectives or indicators that would be applicable to each of their specific contexts. Instead, they suggested identifying a small subset, or base of data, that could be common to all cities pursuing sustainable development goals, recognizing a healthy tension between comparability between cities and the world. adaptation to their local realities.

With regard to financing, Pipa indicates that fiscal policies allow cities to catalyze progress on their priorities for sustainable development goals, and adds that the Sustainable Development Goals provide a platform for experimenting with budgeting. results-oriented and/or participatory. He noted that some cities are already modifying their procurement policies to reflect their priorities within the SDGs. He notes that cities struggle to access information and knowledge about what might be available or considered by investors, rating agencies and private and public financiers.

In reviewing progress at the local level, the report states that the VLR is becoming an important tool and “sparks a global movement as cities and municipalities prepare to develop their own VLRs“. It is reported that the group of cities met in Bellagio. has developed a set of principles that guide different approaches, uses, and audiences for a VLR, and Brookings will refine them and share them with key partners. The author also notes a suggestion that mayors and VLRs be part of each country’s delegation at the Second High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. United Nations (UNGA) in 2023.

Finally, the paper presents a set of recommendations aimed at contributing to the intensification and deepening of the progress of local sustainable development goals, including:

  • move towards “mainstream” adoption of VLRs, including formally defining VLRs within the UN architecture, finding ways to incorporate VLRs into Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and organizing peer reviews.
  • VLRs access to high-quality, city-specific research tools on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, which are easily accessible and usable, including tools related to data localization and indicators related to sustainable development, as well as case studies; and
  • increase exposure to funding opportunities by organizing training with business leaders, private investors, or exploring ways to develop transformational partnerships and investment models.

source : SDG Knowlege Hub