After a week full of discussions, networking opportunities and insights into Malaysian culture, the ninth World Urban Forum ended on 13 February 2018 with the announcement of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Cities 2030. The city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted this year’s WUF, which brought together 22.000 participants from 165 countries, among them over 100 ministers and deputy ministers, to debate how to work together towards cities 2030 and concrete implementation steps of the New Urban Agenda.
On February 10th, DeLoG hosted a networking event on “Localising the Sustainable Development Goals by implementing the New Urban Agenda: A call for decentralised governmental and administrative structures”. More than 60 participants took part and discussed opportunities and approaches for strengthening multi-level governance frameworks that empower cities and municipalities to implement the New Urban Agenda and localise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dr. Philipp Rode, Executive Director London School of Economics (LSE) Cities, opened the session by presenting results of a global survey by LSE Cities, UN Habitat and UCLG on mapping urban governance. The survey assessed 78 major cities in terms of urban governments’ role and influence in the urban policy sector and the level of local democracy, among others. As food for thought for the upcoming discussion, he stated that an insufficient budget, rigid rules and overlapping responsibilities as well as interdependence of policies remain to be the major governance challenges.
In the following panel discussion, national and local government representatives and implementing agencies elaborated on their work on decentralisation and pointed out their organisations´ distinctive approaches to decentralisation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Mr. Tran Quoc Thai, Deputy Director General of the Vietnamese Urban Development Agency of the Ministry of Construction, presented urban green growth as his government’s national approach to sustainable development. He stated that cooperation with urban governments is essential as well as ownership and leadership at all levels of government to be able to work by and for the people.
Mr. Paolo Ciccarelli, Head of the European Commission’s DEVCO Unit on Cities, Local Authorities, Digitilisation, Infrastructure, referred to EC´s long history of working on decentralisation. He emphasised the importance of strengthening the capacity of local authorities and seeing them as political actors rather than only mere implementers.
Mr. Ciccarelli was complemented by Mr. Emmanuel Puisais-Jauvin, Deputy Director General for Global Affairs of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Mr. Puisais-Jauvin agreed that oftentimes local governments are already implementing the sustainable development goals without actually knowing it and he therefore highlighted the need to raise awareness of the 2030 Agenda as well as financial means for its successful implementation.
In response, Mr. Oswar Muadzin Mungkasa called for more support from the national level to local governments. As Deputy Governor of Jakarta for Spatial Planning and Environment of the Jakarta Provincial Government and representing UCLG ASPAC, he pointed out that the implementation of the SDGs puts a high burden on cities and that each local government should try to translate international agreements into their own local realities and take inclusive approaches. Such an approach was presented at the end of the networking session.
Mr. Arfi Rafnialdi, Advisor for Public Policy for the Mayor of Bandung City in Indonesia, provided an insight on transformative approaches toward sustainable development of the city of Bandung. Bandung builds its strategy on three pillars: decentralisation, collaboration and innovation and frames all activities in the context of the SDGs.
The networking session concluded with the following recommendations: a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda needs participatory bottom-up processes involving local actors and civil society, a policy framework that allows for effective political, fiscal and administrative decentralisation and integrated approaches to overcome sectoral silos.
The event was moderated by Mr. Andreas Proksch, GIZ, Head of department “Sector and Global Programmes”. Support in setting up the event was provided by the following DeLoG member and partner organisations: Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MAE), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
About the World Urban Forum: The World Urban Forum is the most significant conference on urbanisation and urban development. It takes place every two years in different cities of the world. The next World Urban Forum in 2020 will be hosted by Abu Dhabi.