Building local economies through conservation: Localizing The Sustainable Development Goals

May 1, 2023 : When adopting the 2030 Agenda, United Nations member States committed to working closely with local and regional governments on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since 2015, metropolises, small cities, regions and their associations have been actively localizing the 2030 Agenda, bringing the SDGs closer to the people and using the framework as a tool for planning and execution.  As part of its follow-up and review mechanisms, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member States to “conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven”. Paragraph 89 of the 2030 Agenda calls on the civil society and other stakeholders, including local authorities, to report on their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In this spirit, local and regional governments are increasingly engaging in such sub-national reviews of SDGs implementation, also called Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). While the VLRs hold no official status, the process of undertaking these sub-national reviews is providing multiple benefits to the entities engaging in them and to SDGs implementation at large. These VLRs can also help to reinforce vertical coherence and complement and contribute to the national Voluntary National Reviews of SDGs implementation.

In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit adopted a new framework to guide development efforts between 2015 and 2030, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”. The 2030 Agenda “Sustainable development Goals – SDGs” seeks to combine two goals: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is a transformative agenda that believes everyone deserve a dignified life and must live in an environment that allows people to grow and flourish. The future we want includes cities that have opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more. With an increasingly urbanized world, this requires the attention of both local, regional and national governments and other stakeholders including the civil society and the private institutions to work towards achieving these goals. Overall, there are 17 goals that compose the SDGs.

The 2030 Agenda recognizes that cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically through creation of jobs and providing opportunities. However, due to rapid urbanization many challenges exist when trying to maintain cities in a way that they continue to create jobs and prosperity without straining land and resources. The challenges cities face needs to be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and levels of poverty. Recognizing the strong transformative effects of urbanization and the vitality of cities, the 2030 Agenda includes a dedicated stand-alone goal on sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. SDG 11 not only has strong linkages to all other SDGs, but also underpins them. Other goals of the SDGs are also relevant to cities and communities as expressed through their targets and indicators.