Europe’s leading forum on development and international cooperation, the European Development Days (EDD17), was held on 7 and 8 June 2017. UCLG, together with five major partner networks of local and regional governments that have a strategic partnership for development with the European Union – AIMF, CLGF, PLATFORMA, and the African regional section UCLG-Africa – represented local and regional governments as key partners for sustainable development. Our participation included a stand and different sessions on the importance of localizing the major development agendas.
The Forum started with the adoption of the New European consensus on development. This Consensus recognizes the role of local and regional governments in achieving the SDGs and commits to support decentralization reforms and decentralized cooperation (+info).
An agenda dedicated to cities and territories, key actors of development
The programme for the European Development Days included different sessions, at which our organization was represented, to discuss the role of local and regional governments in the implementation of the development agendas.
The Co-President of UCLG and Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, promoted the local government perspective on involving the private sector in development, during the session "Yours and Mine – investing in development is everybody’s business". In Roland Ries’ words, “renewing partnerships can facilitate progress towards the development of new public-private schemes (...) however, local and regional governments must retain responsibility for managing public services and managing private investments in any of the existing forms”.
The UCLG Committe on Culture participated in different sessions together with different european partners in order to analyse the inherent link between culture and sustainable development.
The role of local and regional governments in combating climate change was another of the main topics of the Let’s team up for climate session, during which participants took part in a joint exercise to analyse how to develop local strategies with communities in order to tackle climate change.
UN-Habitat, the Global Taskforce and the Habitat III Secretariat held a session on implementing the New Urban Agenda. Participants analysed how to produce the desired impact of this road map in order to achieve sustainable development in cities and how to ensure that governments at all levels and stakeholders take part in the implementation.
Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN Habitat said that UN-Habitat would continue working with local governments to implement and monitor the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. In her experience as former mayor of Kigali, Aisa Kirabo stated that “holding the title of Mayor is not enough; if you do not have the resources and capacities at local level, especially in urban governance”, it is impossible to achieve the defined goals. The Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat also stated that the New Urban Agenda was a strategic framework for achieving the SDGs.
The first Strategic Partnership agreement between the main global and regional associations of local governments and the European Union was signed in January 2015. Through this partnership, the EU has recognised the role of municipalities, towns, cities and regions as policy and decision-makers in addressing global challenges and in implementing the shared global agendas at local level.
Also during this session, the Secretary General of UCLG-Africa, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, reported how local and regional governments “returned from Quito with a New Urban Agenda, and we said, now is the time to take action”. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi talked about the constant urbanization in Africa and the challenges that African cities face in this constant process, as well as how implementing the New Urban Agenda would require addressing emerging inequalities in pursuit of more inclusive cities.
The session on the role of citizens in the implementation of the migration-related goals also emphasized the role of local and regional governments in implementation. The session highlighted the role of UCLG, which “is working very hard to bring local voices to the global migration debate”, according to Cécile Riallant, Coordinator of the UNDP Programme: Joint Migration and Development Initiative.
The Global Village City Hall: localizing the global development goals
The five organizations that have a strategic partnership for development with the European Union created a city hall at the EDD17 to provide information on the work that is being carried out on the ground to implement the SDGs.
Our strategic partnership with the EU provides global geographic reach with a local development strategy through decentralized cooperation. The first Strategic Partnership agreement between the main global and regional associations of local governments and the European Union was signed in January 2015. Through this partnership, the EU has recognised the role of municipalities, towns, cities and regions as policy and decision-makers in addressing global challenges and in implementing the shared global agendas at local level.
UCLG has been at the forefront of international work and ensuring that the New Urban Agenda listens actively to the voice of cities. Now is the time to implement those agendas, to learn from each other and to see how global sustainable development requires action at local level. During the EDD17, UCLG and its partner organizations – AIMF, CLGF, PLATFORMA, and the African regional section, UCLG-Africa – promoted our network of alliances for those purposes, by involving local governments, citizens, private organizations and international organizations, and building upon experiences on the ground.
For two days, the Global Village City Hall was visited by various key partners and held workshops and sessions on city-to-city learning as a UCLG training module for localization, local economic development and citizen network initiatives.
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