Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal

How can the 2030 Agenda be localized in cities?

The Local4Action track at the UCLG World Congress looks at governance and accessibility. A key question is how, with eight years left until 2030, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 can be realized in cities. To answer this critical question, the Congress features helpful tools that help local governments to convert the SDGs into ambitious local action. This process is known as the localization of the 2030 Agenda. This process places territories and communities at the center, working in coherence with national frameworks and in line with communities’ priorities to transform the SDGs into reality. 

Out of the SDGs monitoring tools, the Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) are particularly important to capture SDG progress at the local level. So far, more than 150 cities and regional governments have already published a VLR. On Thursday 13 October, the Working Group on Capacity and Institution Building explores how to capture local progress, and to interlink Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), Voluntary Subnational Reviews (VSRs) and VLRs.  

As with the SDGs themselves, every city and municipality needs to find a tool that works for the local context. For example, the SDG circle exercise is a low-threshold localization tool used by local governments. It supports the implementation and advancement of the SDGs in accordance with internal, local, and global policy. The simple worksheet can be downloaded and used to assess the work of municipalities in hands-on workshops.

In the Finnish city Espoo, SDG localization is done through an innovative SDG sensemaking tool. The tool helps each city to focus on certain elements of the SDGs based on the individual city’s priorities. Finland also works with partner cities to share their knowledge and inspire each other toward local action. 

Tools for local and regional governments are an important element of the UN SDG Action Campaign, which aims to offer support to these governments so that they are empowered to take action and achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda over the next eight years.