We recognize that sustainable urban development and management are crucial to the quality of life of our people. We will work with local authorities and communities to renew and plan our cities and human settlements so as to foster community cohesion and personal security and to stimulate innovation and employment*.
*(Paragraph 34 of A/RES/70/1. “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, https://undocs.org/en/A/RES/70/1)
Directly or indirectly, cities have to face many of the global challenges of our time: from climate resilience to social inequality; from the impacts of international trade on local economies, to the integration of migrants. Furthermore, municipalities and regional governments are responsible for providing the vast majority of relevant public services. Therefore, local governments and their various associations are key actors in the processes of implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, beyond SDG 11 (on cities and human settlements).
Local government leadership is one of the most important driving forces for achieving the SDGs. Local governments are essential because the SDGs are local.
Cities are strategic spaces for achieving sustainable development. Even more so in the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is the most urbanized developing region in the world; more than 80% of the population of our region lives in cities. However, mismanagement of cities can also aggravate conflicts and exacerbate inequalities. Today, many urban residents lack water, sanitation, energy and public transport. With no land security, many cannot access affordable, adequate homes, schools, health care and jobs.
The decisions we make about city planning and management, and the investments we make in housing, transportation and infrastructure have long-term impacts on sustainability, both locally and globally. The lock-in effects of these decisions have a direct impact on the use of resources, greenhouse gas emissions and the degree of socioeconomic inclusion of the population, in some cases for decades, and determine the capacities of countries to meet their climate commitments and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The role of local and regional government associations and networks is also crucial, as they represent a voice for coordinated action, as well as the face of local and regional levels before the national and international spheres. Our region has a series of associations and networks with experiences, ideas and resources to promote initiatives and projects related to sustainable development at the local level. Among these are: Mercociudades and the Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Local Government Associations (FLACMA), together with global initiatives that have a prominent regional presence, such as Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and C40 Cities, which focuses on climate action.
Various cities and subnational governments around the world and in the region have prepared local voluntary reviews to report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in their territories. The United Nations provides spaces for discussion of these experiences within the various intergovernmental meetings and forums of relevant stakeholders linked to the 2030 Agenda.
United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat)
UN-Habitat aims to advance sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace, in order to improve living conditions for all. It collaborates with governments and local partners to define the urban vision of tomorrow.
United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)
Held in Quito in October 2016 was the first United Nations global conference on this matter after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. The New Urban Agenda, adopted at Habitat III, highlights the role of local governments in achieving sustainable urban development, in synergy with the SDGs. In our region, its implementation is supported by the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean 2016–2036.
General Assembly of Ministers and High-level Authorities of the Housing and Urban Development Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI)
MINURVI is the intergovernmental coordination and cooperation entity of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean for the sustainable development of human settlements. It convenes Ministers of State and the other government authorities responsible for housing and urban planning matters.
United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA)
UNACLA aims to bring local governments closer to the new global agendas, making them more aware of their fundamental role in achieving sustainable development. UNACLA is supported by UN-Habitat and works in a representative manner, so that its members can provide previously agreed positions from their respective networks and associations.
Is a United Nations platform that promotes local implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It acts as a coordination hub between local and national governments, the United Nations system, the private sector, civil society and other relevant local actors, working to implement the SDGs at the local level.
The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments
Is a coordination and consultation mechanism that brings together the major international networks of local governments to undertake joint advocacy work relating to global policy. It was set up to bring the perspectives of local and regional governments to the SDGs, the climate change agenda and the new Urban Agenda. The Global Task Force convenes elected local and regional leaders from around the world at the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, which has a key role in follow-up to the New Urban Agenda.
World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
UCLG is the major global umbrella organization of cities, local and regional governments and municipal associations, representing and defending the interests of local governments on the world stage. UCLG is a convener of the whole global local and regional government constituency through the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, the mechanism through which the local and regional government constituency deliberates and agrees upon its political voice in the international agenda. UCLG is committed to the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, through supporting advocacy initiatives and exchange of tools and resources towards urban solutions able to scale up and accelerate local implementation of the SDGs.
Is a global partnership fighting urban poverty and promoting the role of cities to deliver sustainable development. The Cities Alliance seeks to improve the lives of 60 million urban poor across 200 cities in 20 countries by 2030.
The Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH)
Is a multi-stakeholder coalition, created to promote an intraregional community on housing and urban habitat policies. It is an initiative of the Cities Alliance and UN-Habitat, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through technical cooperation with the Inter-American Housing Union (UNIAPRAVI).