The clock is ticking, five years have already passed since the establishment of the Agenda 2030, which translates into a need for action. Entering the year 2020, we will see a comprehensive review of the Sustainable Development Goals, making this a year of symbolic importance to the global agenda.Why it matters
This conference, jointly organized by AER, UCLG, the Global Taskforce, Regions4, the City of Strasbourg and the Grand Est region will gather local and regional stakeholders from around the world to call upon national and global leaders to strengthen multilevel dialogue in order to facilitate local-to-global leadership on the 2030 Agenda.
The goal of the conference is to show that regions play a key role, alongside cities, in facilitating the transformation which is required to successfully implement and achieve the goals in the 2030 Agenda.
In 2015, 193 Member States signed a formal commitment in which 17 Sustainable Development Goals to accomplish by 2030 were established. Five years have passed since then and it is now the time for national governments to reinforce their commitments. Member States cannot do it on their own – the UN has made this clear: At least 100 of the 169 targets underlying the 17 SDGs will not be reached without proper engagement and coordination of local and regional governments. However, we should be aware that the 17 goals will not only be achieved thanks to the commitment of national, regional and local authorities, but also with the help and support of all key actors within civil society.
For good governance on the implementation of national sustainability strategies, it is necessary to ensure vertical and horizontal coherence, to dynamize stakeholder engagement and to foster full, collaborative multi-level governance which engages EU, national, regional and local authorities.
As a matter of fact, regional authorities are among the better placed to be aware of the needs of the urban and rural areas that make up each country. Therefore, and as already outlined by the European Committee of the Regions, regions and multi-stakeholders should be involved in the different phases of policy-making; in turn giving a bottom-up approach to the decision-making process, meaning that NGOs, citizens, and local stakeholders should be key to define actions and objectives when designing local and regional strategies.
CC Original photo by Neptuul
With this conference, the Assembly of European Regions along with its main partners: UCLG, the Global Taskforce, Regions 4, the City of Strasbourg, and the Region of Grand Est (FR), aims to gather all relevant stakeholders and provide them with the necessary tools, through a series of workshops that will cover a wide-range of aspects of the Agenda 2030. Our hope is to empower regions to become allies and contributors when it comes to changing the world by achieving the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.
When we talk about regions, we talk about all its components, from regional authorities to citizens, through academia and researchers, industry and civil-society organisations.
The only prerequisite for participation is a passion & commitment towards achieving the SDGs in your region.
With only ten years left to take decisive action, the time for confusion is over. National and regional strategies, much like the Sustainable Development Goals themselves, do not exist in vacuums. A holistic approach to the goals is needed. Similarly, it is key that relevant actors taking part in the conference are aware of the need of increasing the multi-level governance and multi-stakeholder approach when it comes to the SDGs. Coherence across all levels of government will be a deciding factor in the success of this endeavour.
When implementing sustainable development strategies, we have to deal with many challenges that know no borders, therefore it is crucial that we join forces and to establish a common action plan to ensure that European regions will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Conference will conclude with the adoption of a Roadmap, which will establish the future steps that regional authorities, and relevant stakeholders, should adopt in order to close the gap and achieve these 17 most salient goals.