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Political Engagement

Local and Regional Governments and the work of UN-Habitat

Local and regional governments (LRGs) lead territories and local communities’ development paths; they deliver essential public services and act as catalysts for transformative change. 

LRGs are the tier of governance working closest to local communities. Through inclusive and participatory processes in decision and policymaking, LRGs are playing a key role in rebuilding people’s trust in governments – one of the key pillars identified by the UN Secretary-General in Our Common Agenda for creating a new social contract. 

LRGs need to be equipped with the necessary legal, technical, and financial capacities to deliver on their mandate. Local governments that have the capabilities to invest in capacity building, institutional efficiency, infrastructure, and partnerships with civil society, can guarantee a continued, inclusive, and quality delivery of services to their users. 

UN-Habitat’s work with the local governments constituency at the local, regional, and global levels, raising its voice, supporting its priorities, and creating spaces for LRGs to be part of international and UN-led processes. To do so, UN-Habitat works closely with the global and national association of LRGs, and specifically coordinated international engagement with Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments (GTF)  

UN-Habitat coordinates or directly contributes to processes and mechanisms facilitating the UN engagement with the local and regional governments constituency: 

Our Common Agenda report was accompanied by the establishment of the Advisory Committee of Local and Regional Authorities, facilitated by the UN Task Force on the Future of Cities, in 2020. It is the only existing channel of interaction between the UN System and the local government constituency that has been formally approved by a UN Resolution, and it is chaired by UN-Habitat 

With the Support of UN-Habitat, The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) convenes the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, the joint voice of local and regional leaders from around the world. The New Urban Agenda identifies the World Assembly to play a key role as the political voice of local and regional governments in the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda 

“We note the importance of continuing to engage in the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda with sub-national and local governments associations represented at the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments” (paragraph 169).  

The United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA) was established by the Governing Council Resolution 17/18 of 1999 as an advisory body that would serve the purpose of strengthening the dialogue of the UN System with local authorities in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. It is the only existing channel of interaction between the UN System and the local government constituency that has been formally approved by a UN Resolution. 

The president of the General Assembly’s created the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Urbanization

In addition to the mechanism below, UN-Habitat works hand in hand with the local and regional governments constituency to facilitate LRGs' participation and engagement in the key international conferences and event.

During the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) an official session on localization is organized, while VLRs are gaining more space in national reviews and related HLPF sessions. The 2022 Ministerial Declaration explicitly acknowledged the need to empower local and regional governments to ensure ownership and localization of the SDGs.   

What is more, under the framework of the HLPF, the Local and Regional Governments Forum convened by the Global Taskforce and supported by UN-Habitat is organized. 

The 11th session of the World Urban Forum was attended by over 1,645 local and regional government representatives, including 105 mayors. 

In this context, UN-Habitat organized the SDG Localization Track. Its aim was to provide a shared roadmap of events to review and discuss progress and solutions towards the local implementation of the SDGs.   The SDG Localization Track was composed of 13 events, including high-level and partner-led technical sessions. 

Last but not least, UN-Habitat works with LRGs in the context of the Local 2030 Coalition, facilitating both the involvement of LRGs in the high-level processes of the Coalition as well as the connection between UN Country Teams and LRG partners at the country level.