The localization of the 2030 Agenda calls for the involvement of all stakeholders, and requires a shift in focus towards multilevel dialogue and strong joint action among all spheres of Government.
The meeting in Seville on the localization of the SDGs that took place from February 25 to 27, the most important gathering on the localization of the SDGs prior to the High-Level Political Forum taking place in July and the SDG Summit taking place in September, was convened by the Local 2030 Initiative, in collaboration with the governments of Spain, Ecuador and Cabo Verde, and had the participation of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF).
The meeting gathered representatives from national, regional and local governments, as well as the civil society and Academia, to establish a commitment and the necessary agreements among all stakeholders to work jointly in placing localization at the core of sustainable development. Under the motto “local leadership, local transformation”, the main goal was establishing solid alliances among all stakeholders to facilitate and promote the necessary financial mechanisms to carry out the implementation of the SDGs in all territories.
The High-Level Dialogue in Seville has been considered one of the key milestones for localization prior to the HLPF and SDG Summit that will take place this year, and participants highlighted the need to follow-up and enhance political mobilization in the coming months towards these events.
The outcome document of the event was the “Seville Commitment”, which summarized some of the key interventions of the participants, and reaffirmed that localization has to do with political will, co-creation with communities and the search for solutions at the local level to face global challenges from the cities’ perspective.
Localization is essential for the SDGs to succeed
All of the participants in this high-level dialogue acknowledged the key role of regional and local governments and their associations, as well as the work of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) on the forefront - to implement the 2030 Agenda and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs at the local level They further reinforced their commitment towards the 2030 Agenda, as well as the collaboration of the Government of Spain and the Steering Committee of the with the Global Taskforce to make the High-Level Dialogue a reality, and celebrated the localization process already taking place and the support from the UN System to the governments that are working to localize the SDGs.
The participants agreed that active localization is essential for the achievement of the SDGs, understanding it as not just the adaptation of global goals to the local level but about finding solutions at the local level for global challenges, underscoring that the 2030 Agenda and its implementation need to be fully owned and shaped by local and regional governments and their communities, as well as other local stakeholders, such as businesses, community-based organizations, and research institutions to make the 2030 Agenda a reality and leave no one and no place behind.
This ownership needs to be carried on to all stakeholders, however. The localization process is essential to enhance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through a bottom-up process, and requires a new institutional approach, with dialogues and cooperation among all spheres of government and the communities they serve. To foster this ownership, a clearer focus on transparency and open governments is also needed.
The participants of the High-Level Dialogue further stated their commitment to build on the momentum of the localization of the SDGs that took place within the High-Level Meeting, and to the consolidation of a local-global movement that scales-up the localization of the SDGs and places local governments and citizens, civil society and other local actors at the centre of implementation. They pledged to promote adequate financial instruments and resources to support localization processes in all territories through integrated approaches to local and regional sustainable development. To this end, they will promote a permanent multi-level dialogue between the different spheres of government.
The Seville Commitment further establishes the promotion of adequate financial instruments and resources to support the localization process, as well as the improvement of multi-stakeholder and multi-level political dialogue to generate a 2030 Agenda that adapts to local contexts, fostering local and territorial strategies of the SDGs and policy coherence; and calls for strengthening the capacities, resources, technologies, innovation and data necessary for long-term transformations in local communities.
Dynamizing decentralized development cooperation as a way to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as promoting multi-level, permanent and institutionalized dialogue between national and sub-national government and their associations, in order to support the effective implementation of the 2030 agenda at sub-national level, are also among the commitments of the participants of the High-Level Dialogue.
Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, closed the high-level event in Seville at the closing ceremony by stating that "This commitment is an important step to leave no one behind and to promote implementation among all actors. It is essential that all spheres of government work together to engage citizens and all partners in localization.
For the local and regional governments' constituency gathered in the GTF, the High-Level Dialogue and the Seville Commitment are the acknowledgement of the longstanding work that the communities and the constituency have been doing to ensure implementation of the Global Goals are possible through local action. In particular, the development of the "Localizing the SDGs" Toolkit put in place through a partnership between UNDP, UN-Habitat and the GTF is a testament to this work.
What is next for localization?
The 2019 HLPF, with the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusion and equality" will be held from 9-18 July to review progress on SDG 4, SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 13, SDG 16, and SDG 17. This meeting will take place under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and will involve national governments.
From 24 to 25 September, within the framework of the General Assembly and the High-Level Political Forum, the SDG Summit will be held, which will assess the progress made by all levels of governance so far and provide leadership and guidance on the way forward that would help accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030.
The Seville Commitment encouraged UN Member States to facilitate the participation of the institutions that champion the localization of the SDGs at spaces such as the HLPF and the SDG Summit, and to move forward with the Local and Regional Governments’ Forum, which took place for the first time in the 2018 HLPF, and will take place in the framework of the SDG Summit in 2019.
Participants further committed to promote the Seville Commitment in occasion of the SDG Summit, to support the mobilization of the necessary resources to support local implementation of the SDGs at the Financing for Development Forum that will take place in April 2020, and to convene High-Level Gatherings on the localization of the SDGs on a biennial basis.