Local and Regional Engagement, Action and Multi-Level Cooperation Are Vital to Rescue SDGs and Contribute to Topics under the Summit of Future
UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched his Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments, through its first hybrid meeting among its 20 members. The meeting offered an opportunity to exchange on strategic topics pertaining to local and regional governments’ engagement and action in relation to recovery measures from multiple and overlapping crises and advancing international agreements and standards, including on sustainable development, gender equality, social inclusion, climate action, the new urban agenda, and human rights.
“As we consider ways to make multilateral institutions more effective, and to meet the current and future challenges facing people and planet, we need the perspectives and engagement of local and regional authorities”, stated the Secretary-General during the opening of the meeting.
The Advisory Group will work over a one-year period and meet with the Secretary-General on three occasions to inform on local and regional governments’ dimensions for consideration in preparatory processes of the Summit of the Future. The Group’s work will also address modalities and means to enhance institutional mechanisms to strengthen engagement of local and regional governments in intergovernmental processes; opportunities to strengthen cooperation between national and local and regional governments and the UN country teams; and recommendations on a United Nations global strategy for the engagement of local and regional governments, including institutional mechanisms, intergovernmental processes, and partnership arrangements, to strengthen contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda.
The Advisory Group will therefore serve as a mechanism to engage contributions from sub-national stakeholders and enhance coordination and collaboration between cities, regions, nations, and international processes, to support course corrections and identify resources for the delivery of the SDGs with impact, scale, and speed. The Group is expected to produce a set of recommendations with strategic guidance in the run up to the Summit of the Future in September 2024.
The Advisory Group encompasses 15 representatives of local and regional governments, nominated by the Global Taskforce, and leaders from five countries — Colombia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines and Spain — with responsibilities or recognized expertise on multi-level governance. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) will provide Secretariat support to the Group.
Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, State Secretary for International Cooperation in Spain, and Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, President of Nouakchott Region in Mauritania, were appointed co-Chairs of the Group.
At the meeting Ms. Cancela Rodríguez noted: “Development entails people, and needs to protect those who are most vulnerable, based on a reformed social contract, which is built from the bottom up.”
Ms. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick also emphasized: “Our organized constituency stands ready to take action together with the United Nations for the future of multilateralism, from the diversity of our cities and regions and reaffirming the transformative power of feminist leadership and multilevel governance.”
Finally, as host city, Eric Adams, Mayor of New York, the United States, stressed: “The Canada fires, which impacted New York City from thousands of miles away, are a constant reminder on the need for endless collaboration and pursuit for climate action. To be at the height of our expectations for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development extra powers and resources for cities and regions are needed.”
Other mayors and governors also reiterated their commitment and ambition to the SDGs, including on climate and biodiversity action, noting “mayors are climate doers, not climate delayers. Local action is key to ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Almost 65 per cent of SDG targets cannot be met without involving local and regional governments.”
The Advisory Group will also consult with platforms that advance local government engagement, including those led by local or regional governments, Member States, or UN entities, such as the World Assembly on Local and Regional Governments, Advisory Committee for Sustainable Urbanization, United Nations Advisory Committee on Local Authorities (UNACLA), the Local 2030 Coalition of the Decade of Action and the Local and Regional Governments Forum.
Composition of the Advisory Group
Members of the Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments:
Catalina Velasco, Minister of Housing, City and Territory, Colombia
Nandita Chatterjee, retired (served as the Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs), India
Suleiman H. Adamu, Federal Ministry of Water Resources/Traditional Title Holder, Nigeria
Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, State Secretary for International Cooperation, Spain
Marivel Sacendoncillo, former Undersecretary (Deputy Minister), Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippines
Carolina Cosse, Mayor of Montevideo, Uruguay
Paola Pabón, Governor of Pichincha, Ecuador
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City, Belize
Abby Binay, Mayor of Makati City, Philippines
Atiqul Islam, Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, Bangladesh
Yousef Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan
Fatma Şahin, Mayor of Gaziantep, Türkiye
Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, President of Nouakchott Region, Mauritania
Asmaa Rhlalou, Mayor of Rabat, Morocco
Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor of Kisumu County, Kenya
Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht, Netherlands
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, France
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, United Kingdom
Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, United States
Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal, Canada