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2030 Agenda Sub-Fund

Fostering COVID-19 recovery and SDGs implementation through local action in Asia-Pacific, Arab and African countries
United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund, 2030 Agenda Sub-fund

The project aims to advance the inclusive localization of the Sustainable Development Goals in selected African, Asia-Pacific, and the Arab countries in transition by harnessing the potential of Voluntary Local Reviews.

Project Goals
  • Strengthen capacities of Local and Regional Governments to develop Voluntary Local Reviews by connecting them to global and regional advocacy, learning and capacity building activities and resources.
  • Enhanced multilevel coordination between cities, national governments, regional and international process on SDG implementation.

How will this be achieved? The project outcomes will be achieved by focusing on 4 main components of work: technical cooperation, learning and capacity building, multilevel governance and regional and global advocacy.

Download the project overview.

Implementing Partners
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
The Gambia
Main Activities
Technical cooperation

Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) are a process to monitor SDG achievement at the local level and powerful accelerators of the SDG localization process. UN-Habitat supports the development of action oriented VLRs that connect planning, financing, monitoring, and implementation of local implementation of the SDGs. 

UN-Habitat’s strategic approach to VLRs connects the development of Voluntary Local Reviews with the Global Urban Monitoring Framework (GUMF) and the SDG Cities process. VLRs hence become the building block of a long-term and transformative SDG localization process. 

The project aims to support the pilot cities to develop VLRs by gradually strengthening the capacity for monitoring and reporting including, data collection, disaggregation, and analysis at local and national levels thought the piloting of the UMF. Furthermore, the development of VLRs will be based on a wide and robust participatory process where communities and territorial stakeholders are continuously involved. 

Based on the analysis of findings, the VLRs will provide action-oriented recommendations for long-term strategies and planning. 

Finally, the technical support to the development of the VLRs endeavors to inform the Voluntary National Reviews of the pilot countries, with the aim of creating coherence and efficiency through effective multilevel governance arrangements. 

The project strives to be the launching point for further VLR development in the regions and feed into the wider global SDG Localization movement. 

Learn more about UN-Habitat’s comprehensive approach and methodology to VLRs for SDG localization.

Regional Processes

The project entails two regional processes that aim to build capacities of local governments by sharing experiences and lessons learned in the region. 

The project will provide support to the development of a Mayors Academy in Africa and the Arab States and strengthening the Asia-Pacific Mayors’ Academy. Similarities in challenges experienced within the regions and experience on overcoming these challenges will enable the sharing of best practices and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs at the local level. 

The sharing of this information will be facilitated by the development of an online SDG Localization platform in each region. The platforms will serve to collect and share local level data in line with the UMF and VLR exercises, enhance transparency and generally connect the regional efforts to the global discourse on SDG Localization.

Learning and Capacity Building

Building on the learning and capacity building offers of the partners of the projects, national and local public officials in the pilot cities of the project will be trained on the concepts and practices of SDG localization and multilevel coordination. The project proposes a mixed approach to learning and capacity building, combining traditional in-person opportunities and self-paced online tools. 

Specifically, trainings will be based an updated edition of the SDG Localization Training Module 2 and the online Voluntary Local Review Massive Online Open Course , amongst other learning and capacity building tools. The experience of the pilot cities and countries will then feed into an online VLR Builder Tool to facilitate access to the VLR process to all involved stakeholders, particularly ensuring inclusion of those with less resources and capacities. 

Explore and learn more about the learning and capacity building tools.

Multilevel governance

The project adopts an overarching multilevel governance approach, aiming to enhance the SDG delivery capacity of both national and local governments. By empowering local and regional governments, national governments will be able to enhance their implementation capacities to transform policies and strategies into action at local level. At the same time, by grounding national development and recovery strategies on communities’ needs and priorities, governments will be able to better address the consequences of the pandemic, to better plan for long-term development and better deploy national resources. 

A key component of this process is the connection between the Voluntary National Reviews and Voluntary Local National Reviews. The project aims to strengthening the local governments inputs to the nation SDG reporting and implementing mechanism but also encouraging national governments to be held accountable for creating enabling environments and empowering local governments to accelerate the SDGs.

Global and Regional Advocacy

The partners will facilitate the connection of the project activities with the main UN-led and intergovernmental processes for SDGs with the aim of scaling up the lesson learned and results of the project, while exposing local and national representatives to global debates and processes. 

Sessions to present and discuss the VLR and SDG localization process as well as to facilitate exchanges with partners from around the globe will be organized in the context of the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, the UN-Habitat Assembly, and the High-Level Political Forum. In the second part of 2023, the SDG Summit, Urban October, and the Forum of Mayors will be the central events the project will focus on. The cities’ VLR process will be finally link to the World Urban Forum 12, taking place in March 2024 in Egypt 

Explore the dedicate page to see upcoming and past advocacy efforts.

2-day project initiation in Surigao City, Philippines

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23-24th April 2024- The event brought together city stakeholders including representatives from the city departments/offices, faith-based organizations, Barangay officials, the Sama-Bajau community, Community and Family Services International, and the national government

Launch of VLR of Ennour!

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19th April, 2024- The VLR of Ennour, Kasserine in Tunisia has been completed and launched! Making it the first VLR to be completed in the project.

National-level sharing event on VLR methodology In Chandragiri

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15th March, 2024- a national-level training event on VLR methodology was conducted with around 60 participants representing federal and local government bodies, development agencies, academia, experts, professional societies, and UN agencies, all contributing to the VLR process.

2nd Stakeholder Forum in Nakuru City

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28th March, 2024- The second stakeholder forum saw an incredible turn out of 78 stakeholders! The stakeholders split into groups based on the SDGs most relevant to their work and lives and input on the VLR, providing information on missing initiatives and validating data. 

VLR-VNR Studio in Irbid, Jordan

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7th and 8th February, 2024- A two-day workshop launched the multistakeholder dialogue for the Development of the VLR of Irbid City. Day 2 features a VLR-VNR studio a platform for building the capacities of national and local governments on the VLR process and its potential alignment with national reporting processes.

First Stakeholder Forum in Nakuru City

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20th December 2023 - Stakeholders in the VLR of Nakuru City from multiple levels and sectors gathered to review the draft VLR. Over 40 stakeholders joined the forum! 

Improved Local and National Government Capacities for Localizing SDGs through VLRs in Ghana

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November 12-16, 2023- UN-Habitat attended and supported a UNDESA, and NDPC jointly conducted a workshop on SDG localization and VLRs in Ghana. The mission aimed to advance the project, discuss Ghana's National VLR Guidelines, and underscore the importance of VLRs for developing VNRs

VLR Workshop in Udon Thani City, Thailand

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16th- 17th October 2023- The implementing partners and Udon Thani City met and signed a commitment to the project. The workshop saw the participation of over 130 stakeholders who contributed to shaping the VLR process.

Tools & Methodologies Training in Asia Pacific

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28 September,  2023- UN-Habitat organized an online workshop to train participants from the Asia-Pacific pilot cities and countries of the project on the data collection process and tools in the development of VLRs.  

Project inception meeting in Chandragiri Municipality, Nepal

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25 September 2023, Kathmandu- the inception meeting set a base for kickstarting collaboration between UN-Habitat and Chandragiri municipality for SDG localization in Nepal.

The VLR Task Force Meeting in Nakuru

VLR Task Force Meeting in Nakuru

14th September,  2023- The VLR Task Force in Nakuru (the pilot city of the project in Kenya) held an inaugural workshop to orient the members on the VLR process, share preliminary VLR data, and build consensus on the terms of reference for the Task Force.

Tools & Methodologies Workshop in the Arab States

Screen shot of the workshop

12th September, 2023-  UN-Habitat and UNESCWA organized a online workshop to train participants from the Arab States pilot cities and countries of the project on the data collection process and tools in the development of VLRs.  

Project Inception Meeting in Lebanon


15th March 2023- This event was a space for local efforts on implementing the SDGs to be shared and the project activities to be kicked off.

Meeting with the local government of Nakuru to introduce the project

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28th February 2023- The team met with the local government officials in Nakuru to lay out the project plan and establish the focal points in the local and county government. The meeting discussed the way forward for developing the VLR of Nakuru City.

VLR-VNR Workshop at the ARFSD

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27th February, 2023- The workshop took place under the framework of the 9th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development and focused on strengthening Integration and Reporting on the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.