Urban issues at the centre of UN


Source: www.gtf2016

The seventh session of the UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG) came to an end after five days of discussion among member states, UN representatives and partners.

The Group is charged with the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and this session was of particular importance for the agenda of local and international authorities as two days were dedicated to sustainable cities and human settlements as well as other topics strongly related to our work, such as transportation and risk management.

A delegation representing the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, composed of representatives of UCLG and ICLEI, actively participated in the deliberations throughout the week.

“In the next 20 years, global population growth will happen in cities. [..] And we cannot eradicate poverty or stabilize global CO2 emissions without defining a sustainable urbanization model” stated Ronan Dantec, UCLG Representative on Climate Change, speaking on behalf of the Global Taskforce and LGMA Major Group.

A meeting of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Leaders (GTF) took place on December 13 and set the bases for the advocacy work of local and regional leaders in discussions and resulted in a position paper developing their arguments and proposals for the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

One of the key messages was the need for a stand-alone urban goal put forward by the GTF that received the support of more than 170 cities, and local and regional authorities around the world. Various partners also actively support such a goal, among whom UN SDSN, UN Habitat, Cities Alliance and C40 cities.

Member states were supportive of the notion that local and subnational authorities need to be deeply involved in the development agenda if we are to reach the realities of our communities. They further agreed that urbanization is a transformative phenomenon that needs to be managed and fully included in the future SDGs. Some states have gone as far as to openly support a stand-alone goal on sustainable urbanization. Click here to access an overview of statements. A short summary by the Co-Chairs can be found in the following link

The local and regional government delegation emphasized the importance of bringing together all issues related to local governance and service delivery under one single goal that would allow for the mobilization of all local actors and align them in support of common objectives. The local and regional government constituency co-hosted several side events with the UN and country partners focusing on issues like, Local Economic Development and Climate preparedness. Please find enclosed the programme of side events

Local Government delegates further stressed that the proposal for a stand-alone goal does not go against to rural development and that it should be seen as complementary as it would not only contain targets applicable to megacities but to all human settlements, encouraging a territorial approach to development and service provision.

Important progress was made in the definition of a joint position with other Major Groups concerning an urban goal. This paper will be key in demonstrating to member states the overall basis to include such a goal in the final list that will be under negotiation until July. A joint paper is enclosed here.

The Open Working Group has decided to meet every month until July 19th when it is due to produce a report.  The next meeting will take place 3-7 February in OWG8 around the following topics: