As we look to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, it became essential to implement the efforts to successfully achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set out on the Agenda 2030 in September 2015. UN Member States have committed to a global action plan aimed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path by 2030.

To do so, it is necessary to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; these are the aims of the SDG 16, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”. This Goal is a call to action to promote the rule of law, develop transparent institutions, ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making, and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.

Despite the efforts to achieve this Goal, the most recent pandemic has slowed down the process to build more equal and inclusive societies, as revealed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. For this reason, now more than ever, good governance is not only a Goal itself, but also a critical means to achieve all SDGs and the 2030 Agenda as a whole. Open and transparent societies are able to guarantee more effective policy responses to assure a better future for all.

In the light of the above, local and regional governments play a central role in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Therefore, progress on achieving the SDGs depends highly on how effective, accountable and inclusive local and regional democratic governance is and how local and regional governments participate in decision-making at national and international level.

Participants will engage in a discussion on the main queries regarding the implementation of SDG 16, and will get insights on the core elements of democratic governance and the way it supports sustainable development and transforms local and regional democratic governance to move the 2030 Agenda forward and build a more just and inclusive future.

The challenge to build a renovated society also requires to promote the exchange of experiences among local and regional governments in building multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms that hear the voices of the most vulnerable and excluded groups and persons. This event will represent a great occasion to actively share ideas and comments on the topic.