The Local and Regional Governments’ Forum assembled for the first time, on 16 July, during the High Level Political Forum 2018. Co-organised by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs (UNDESA), UN-Habitat and the Local2030 network, the forum recognised local and regional governments as important drivers of change that are indispensable for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
Among other topics, the forum addressed local and regional governments’ importance for establishing Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) as well as for integrated territorial planning approaches for the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, local governments’ insufficient access to financial resources was addressed at the forum. The need for restructuring subnational finance systems in order to fasten the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was discussed and the necessity of technical innovations for resource collection as well as improved regulatory frameworks was acknowledged.
Another issue that participants focussed on was the imperative to increase national and regional partnerships. The president of the UN General assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, emphasised the importance of such partnerships for tackling inequality, urban planning, and for the reduction of poverty in general. An increased integration of national and regional partnerships was also highlighted by Ashok Sridharan, the mayor of Bonn and president of ICLEI, who stressed the commitment to leave no one and no region behind in the search for societies that are resilient and sustainable. This commitment was also reiterated by representatives of approximately 200 local and regional governments, who requested a more active form of participation at the HLPF, going beyond the role of “guests”. Parks Tau, the president of UCLG, outlined the multitude of achievements that frontrunner cities and regions had already achieved, that were emphasised in the second local and regional government’s report to the HLPF: “Towards the localisation of the SDGs”.
All in all the Local and Regional Governments forum provided a valuable opportunity to include the perspectives of the local level in the assessment of global agendas.