The repercussions of interrelated global crises, such as climate change, COVID-19, and conflict, are being experienced in all corners of the world. Within urban areas, pre-existing inequalities have been further exposed, financial resources have been constrained, and limited capabilities to develop and implement urban solutions have heightened vulnerabilities and have led to continued unsustainable patterns of urbanization.
Given the persistent lag in progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across all regions, it is imperative for cities—where the majority of SDGs intersect—to take the lead in economic recovery efforts, foster resilience, and expedite the adoption of sustainable solutions that contribute to the SDGs.
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacted urban areas, the strength and resilience of cities and urban centres are essential to drive recoveries, guard against future shocks and stresses, and overcome the setbacks towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda.
In this context, action is needed across all levels of governance, to localize the SDGs, taking into account local, national and regional contexts while mobilizing the engagement of all stakeholders, and leveraging the support of the UN system.
The side event will focus on regional efforts to accelerate progress against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting how region-specific normative guidance and partnerships can accelerate actions, enhance data collection and support cities to undertake Voluntary Local Reviews.
The event will also highlight how intergovernmental platforms, national and regional fora and regional profiles on progress of SDGs can be leveraged to build momentum and partnerships to contribute to the Decade of Action. Building on the regional reviews of SDG11 progress conducted in the respective regional forums on sustainable development, the event will draw on recent data and case studies related to localization and progress against urban-related SDGs.
City stakeholders and representatives of UN entities will present key efforts, including national and regional forums (e.g. Asia Pacific Urban Forum, UNECE Forum of Mayors, national urban forums), normative guidance including for VLRs, and capacity building efforts supporting cities to build resilience and recover from interlinked crises.
The objectives of the side event are to:
- Highlight common and/or differentiated challenges to localize the SDGs across regions and exchange best practices across regions
- Share tools and normative guidance developed by the UN entities (Regional Commissions, UN-Habitat, UN-DESA) and partners to support localization efforts in respective regions
- Foster dialogue and exchange on best practices across regions
- Promote further SDG Localization, including through Voluntary Local Reviews
- UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP),
- UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
- UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
- UN Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (ECLAC)
- UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA)
Mr. Sangmin Nam, Director, Environment and Development Division, ESCAP
 UN Secretary General, COVID-19 in an Urban World. 2020 https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/sg_policy_brief_covid_urban_world_july_2020.pdf