SDGs will not be achieved if financing does not reach local levels


The intensive discussions taking place on the new sustainable development agenda that will culmínate this year will not mean much withouth adequate financing and renewal of financing mechasims.

The intensive discussions taking place on the new sustainable development agenda that will culminate this year will not mean much without adequate financing and the renewal of financing mechanisms. The outcomes of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13 to 16 July, are therefore crucial to the Post-2015 and climate agendas. UCLG and its partners are bringing the voice of local and regional governments to the process through the work of its Committee on Local Finance for Development.

The issue of financing is key for local and regional governments, who have now been engaged in decentralized cooperation and the debates on official development assistance (ODA) for several years, in order to ensure they will have the capacity to implement their responsibilities as outlined in the sustainable development agenda.

The preparatory documents for the Conference on Financing for Development focus on international and national public and private finances. Although “many of the investments to achieve the SDGs will take place at the sub-national level and be led by local authorities” (UN Secretary General Synthesis Report, p.94), the current debates do not raise the question of sub-national access to finances. Sub-national levels are a key dimension for sustainable financing that should be integrated into the debate for Addis Ababa. 

Cities and territories are where women and men live, where poverty needs to be tackled, where prosperity should be generated, where health and education services are provided, and where ecosystems are protected on the ground. Significant public and private investments will be necessary to improve access to basic services in cities and territories, eradicate poverty, cope with the impact of climate change, and build the new cities that will host 2.5 billion new urban residents over the next three decades, mostly in developing countries.

The Conference on Financing for Development must lead to mechanisms that unlock the economic potential of urban area and territories.

The Conference on Financing for Development will not reach its objectives without devoting attention to local financing and containing recommendations related to this. The Global Taskforce of local and regional governments (GTF) is committed to contribute to the debate by providing the inputs of local elected officials and practitioners. 

The localization of resources is instrumental and must be part of financial engineering and resource management capabilities to foster the modernization of local administrations, as well as to reduce costs and increase efficiency and accountability, implement fiscal autonomy and cooperation processes, and promote a renewed official development assistance system to better attend to local and regional needs.” Global Taskforce, September 2013

Over the coming months, UCLG, working closely with other partners in the GTF, will share the position of local and sub-national governments in the deliberations of the Conference on Financing for Development, linking this with the global debates on Post-2015, as part of our ongoing work advocating for an agenda that can be successfully implemented at local level.

Important dates:

  • 27-29 January 2015: Informal interactive hearings with civil society and the business sector, UN Headquarters, New York.
  • March 2014: Third Policy Forum on Development, multi-stakeholder dialogue on EU and global development policies, organized by the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium.
  • 13-16 July 2015: Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.