Local4Action HUBs and the Recovery in the HLPF 2021: Showcasing and synchronizing local practices and initiatives on sustainability as leverage for SDG acceleration


Within the framework of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2021 UCLG, in collaboration with UN DESA, organized a session on “Accelerating Local Action” with the aim to promote the local approach to the achievement of the SDGs and present the contributions and acceleration actions of Local and Regional Governments through the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative. 

The UCLG’s Local4Action HUBs initiative celebrates the efforts developed locally: experiences, practices and processes and supports their visibility, scalability and replicability, to accelerate the localization of global agendas. The initiative anchors the localization of global agendas in members’ local practices, processes and innovative actions, providing them with a platform to connect, synchronize and accelerate the delivery of global agendas. It provides visibility and a UCLG global label recognizing valuable and transformative local and regional government experiences, placing local approaches to sustainability at the forefront of the global conversation.

The session focused on the accelerative power of visionary local actions to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), triggering a transformative and multiplier effect with an impact on global policies and dynamics. During the session local and regional governments’ representatives and key partners engaged in an open dialogue on the potential of the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative to foster local actions and policies as critical inputs to ensure the type of transformation needed towards resilience and sustainability based on the needs and aspirations of the citizens and the communities.

In the opening remarks, Carola Gunnarsson, Mayor of Sala and Vice-President of UCLG, presented how the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative, currently counting 13 local experiences, are demonstrating and manifesting the strong commitment of local and regional governments to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We have decided to make this process even more inclusive, and accessible through scaling up and making their solutions available for other cities around the world. Additionally, Elkin Velasquez, Regional Director of UN-Habitat for Latin-America and the Caribbean, empathized on the need to support local actions, to foster the local means of implementation and financing mechanisms to accelerate a sound impact, now that the recognition of its importance of LRG for the 2030 Agenda implementation is well known.

Salim Korkmaz from UCLG MEWA, moderated a dialogue started by Santiago Saura, Councilor for International Affairs of Madrid, representing the Local4Action HUB Madrid, WEI Xueyong, Deputy Division Chief of International Exchange and Cooperation of Xi’an Jiaotong University, representing the Local4Action HUB Xi’an and Fabian Ledesma, Councilor of in representation of the Local4Action HUB Cuenca, presented their accelerating actions regarding sustainability, culture and education, as well as local democracy and citizenship, (respectively). The different experiences showed why their initiatives are aiming at accelerating the 2030 Agenda, and how local partners and stakeholders are key to this process to address challenges and solutions towards the transformations and commitments needed to foster recovery in the post-COVID era. This panel was concluding with the interventions of Johannes Krassnitzer, Coordinator of the UNDP ART initiative, Violet Shivutse, Governing Council Chair, Huairou Commission, that highlighted the necessity of a multistakholders approach, as well as grassroots implication, especially from women, to ensure the resilience of the acceleration efforts.

Following the local stories, reactions were given by key partners including Nicholas You, Executive Director of the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation, Carla Rey, Secretary General of AICCRE, Jacqueline Moustache Belle from UCLG Africa, Manuel Redaño, Executive Director of FAMSI and Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, UN-Habitat GAP Vice President.

The partners drew attention to how the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative is becoming a key platform to create strong networks, share innovative projects and solutions and effectively implement collaborative processes. As the experiences shown through the initiative start from the local needs, partners reflected on the opportunities and need to focus the efforts on better ways to integrate, connect and support these initiatives to guarantee better impacts. As well as the importance of fostering shared values, through collaborative visions and processes and in that effort further involving other actors such as the UN and civil society, among others, in these localization efforts. 

Finally, Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, reminded the importance of UNDESA recognizing the UCLG Local4Action HUBS initiative as part of the acceleration efforts and the contribution of this initiative to the UCLG Pact of the Future, where local and regional governments are committed to accelerate local action for and with the people, the planet and the governments. She reaffirmed UCLG’s commitment with anchoring the localization of the 2030 Agenda and to fostering an innovative and equality driven municipal movement.

The main takeaway of the session was the strong message of how the Local acceleration of the 2030 Agenda is enhanced thanks to a multilevel and multi stakeholder work and commitments.

Additionally, a session on Visualizing SDGs in Cities on July 8th was also a key point for the Local Action HUBS initiative during the HLPF 2021. This side event reported to the HLPF the conclusions and recommendations of the 2020 edition of Venice City Solutions, which offered local governments and partners a space to discuss on how the SDGs can help analyse what happens in the city, how the different SDGs interact, what are the involved stakeholders and how to use such data to elaborate better policies for a more efficient delivery towards the year 2030.

The side event allowed key partners of the Venice initiative such as UCLG, AICCRE, UNDP, UN-Habitat and UN SDG Action Campaign, to showcase how local governments are using SDGs as a tool to visualize local action and bring together SDGs in the city. The event gathered representatives of local and regional governments, including Pilar Díaz, Deputy to the Presidency and Delegate for International Relations of the Barcelona Provincial Government and Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat in representation of the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative and selected partners to discuss the way ahead for SDG implementation at local level.

For further information on the UCLG Local4Action HUBs global initiative, current initiatives and calls for joining and becoming part of this global dynamic, please check our platform !