From Local Action to Global Impact: Accelerating SDG11 across HIC’s pillars


Our President Adriana Allen coordinated the production of five position papers on the Localisation of SDG 11, launched by the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Government and UCLG at the 2023 High Level Political Forum in July 2023.

The full report informs the mid-term review of the SDGs and renews LRGs commitment to fulfil the targets, actions and commitment of the 2030 Agenda and the principles enshrined in it, including to leave no one behind. 2023 mid-term review includes specific consideration of SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation; SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy; SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities; and SDG 17 on partnerships for the Goals.

The report reclaims SDG 11 as an indispensable accelerator of the 2030 Agenda and a crucial opportunity to place urban and territorial equality at the heart of all actions to achieve the SDGs from a human rights perspective. This is fundamental for ensuring that the trade-offs between the different SDGs are navigated and enables the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, re Report recalls the Political Declaration of the 2019 SDG Summit, for bolstering local action to accel¬erate implementation and empower and support local and regional governments, organised civil society and communities in pursuing the 2030 Agenda, while recognizing their critical role in implementing and realizing the SDGs.

A growing movement

Part II of the Report provides an overview of the engagement of LRGs with the SDGs progress reviewing process, highlighting regional trends. The total number of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) available worldwide has been growing exponentially, with over 240 reports representing a total of 579 million in¬habitants. Voluntary Subnational Reviews (VSRs) have also been experiencing a rapid increase with 37 reports produced since 2020, representing 170,000 local gov¬ernments and 1.4 billion inhabitants. In turn, Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) progressively mention these subnational reporting efforts, and some countries in¬clude local government associations in the drafting of the reports – although recognition is still not systematic enough. Overall, there has been a slight increase in local and regional governments’ participation in Voluntary Na¬tional Review (VNR) processes since the first VNRs were published in 2016: LRG involvement was medium to high in 32% of countries that produced one in 2016, compared to 39% in 2023. However, progress is not steady and marked by important regional disparities.

Key strategic pathways

Five position papers presented in Part 3 of the Report were coordinated by Adriana, in collaboration with Caren Levy and Julia Wesely at UCL The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU).

The position papers focus on advancing progressive municipalism through policies and practices in five key areas:

The five papers provide a complementa¬ry and integrated vision of the pathways LRGs are taking to achieve SDG 11 and closely related SDGs. In other words, they highlight trajectories for change, illustrated through innovative case studies, in which LRGs together with organised civil society take an active role and for¬ward-looking approach to promote more equitable and sustainable futures. The papers further outline enabling environments for those pathways as well as persistent challenges and deep inequalities that slow down and, in some cases, halt progress to¬wards achieving SDG 11 and the full 2030 Agenda.

You can download the full report here: Towards the localization of the SDGs