Participation of UCLG Africa to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)

From July 10 to July 19, 2023, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was held in New York, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), on the theme: “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”.

UCLG Africa took part in three sessions of the forum, which aimed to take stock of the implementation of the SDGs in a post-COVID context, discuss ways to accelerate the implementation of its goals, and explore the various concrete political orientations favoring the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels.

The first session attended by UCLG Africa focused on: “Transformation from the ground up: What transformations have been achieved at the local level to overcome crises and move towards full implementation of the SDGs in times of crisis? How can they be supported?”

This session was an opportunity to showcase local transformations and success stories. It highlighted how the lessons learned from the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) processes can best be used to accelerate progress towards all 17 SDGs. Indeed, VLRs have emerged as an innovative tool by and for cities. The number of VLRs, modeled on the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) carried out by central governments, has since exploded from a few pioneering cities to over 130 reviews. The practice of VLRs has been adopted not only by capitals and large cities, but also by smaller cities and districts, including in rural areas. Member states are also increasingly taking advantage of VLRs as part of their national reviews.

UCLG Africa then took part in the information roundtable on the program of learning and practice workshops on the SDGs. This round table was an interesting opportunity to learn about the various learning, training and practice workshops on the SDGs, with a view to advancing the following axes:

  • Acquiring knowledge and skills in networking
  • Experience sharing and peer collaboration
  • Learning concrete actions and best practices
  • Capacity building
  • Policy integration and coherence in practice

The special meeting for local authorities was the Local and Regional Government Forum (LRGF) on the Agenda 2030: “Harnessing high-impact localization policies to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through SDG 11 and towards the SDG 2023 Summit”.

The Local and Regional Government Forum on the Agenda 2030 organized by UCLG World’s Global Task Force was considered the central event of this HLPF 2023 as it saw the participation of all ecosystem players working from a common position to place urban and territorial equality at the heart of all actions aimed at achieving the SDGs.

In her introductory speech, Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malik, President of the Nouakchott region, Co-President of United Cities and Local Governments, Representative of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and President of UCLG Africa, reaffirmed the determination of local authorities to make the Agenda 2030 and the principles enshrined therein a reality in this mid-term review year. She also pointed out that local action is a prerequisite for achieving the SDGs: “65% of the SDG targets cannot be achieved without the involvement of local and regional governments”. She also highlighted the strategic partnership structured within the Local 2030 coalition, which has just been identified as a high-impact initiative, and presented the next steps aimed at amplifying the voice of local and regional governments in the multilateral governance process to achieve global agendas.

On the sidelines of the HLPF, bilateral meetings were held with Mrs. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. Discussions focused on strengthening the partnership between UCLG Africa and UN-Habitat to structure joint actions at key milestones, namely the African Climate Summit in Nairobi and the Climate Summit in New York.