On the 11th of April, The European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and EUROCITIES gathered together to organize a conference “Regions and Cities Making the SDGs Happen”. The discussion focused on the implementation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) at the local and regional level with the presentations of 2 surveys conducted by the CoR-OECD and by CEMR-PLATFORMA to map local and regional actions on the SDGs. Furthermore, political debate was held as a reaction to the Commission’s recent reflection Paper “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030” followed by the session showcasing some of the achievements on SDGs on the local and regional level.
The localization of SDGs, bottom-up approach and an active role of regions and cities, with integrated multi-level governance and multi-stakeholders involvement, has been highlighted as crucial in achieving the SDGs. The most common challenges in implementing the SDGs are, according to the local and regional representatives, “lack of awareness, support, capacities or trained staff” and “difficulty to prioritize the SDGs over other agendas”.
Compiling good practices and assessing the difficulties occurring on the subnational level is necessary as it serves as a base for improvement in implementation and monitoring strategies. Nevertheless, to achieve the objectives from the 2030 Agenda, local and regional authorities need the right support from national governments and the EU, meaning more concrete and ambitious measures. The speakers greeted the Commission’s reflection Paper but criticized its delayed timing and lack of concrete measures for implementation.