May 28, 2013 New York: The Global Taskforce on Local and Regional Governments for Post-2015 Development Agenda met today with UN officials and members of the Post-2015 High-Level Panel, just days before the Panel issues its recommendations. The Taskforce issued a Communiqué at the meeting (full text here) declaring it as fully committed to “end extreme poverty in all its forms, to reduce inequalities, in the context of sustainable development, and to contribute to put in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all.”
The meeting was organized by UN Habitat and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The three-hour meeting was addressed by the mayors of Harare, Quito, and Guarulhos Brazil, as well as by other city officials from around the world.
The event opened with a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that set the tone of the meeting: “like all politics, all development is ultimately local. As the world strives for a more sustainable path in the years ahead, particularly beyond 2015, local voices and local action will be crucial elements in our quest.”
There were other signs that local governance may make it into the Post 2015 agenda. Olav Kjørven, director of UNDP’s Bureau of Development Policy stated that “we’ve made progress on getting it into the Post-2015 Agenda” and assured the group that decentralization was part of the new joint strategic plan of UNDP, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and UN Volunteers.
The speakers from UCLG raised numerous issues, including capacity building, good climates for business and culture, care for the growing number of poor and elderly in the cities, the need to “build cities for people, not just for cars.” There were calls for a Global Alliance of Local Authorities that would ensure the voice of local governments in global decision-making.
Habitat III (the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) will be held in 2016 – this was seen as providential, enabling local governments to translate the new development agenda into action plans.
Josep Roig, secretary-general of UCLG, closed the meeting by stressing the importance of developing a good outreach strategy to ensure all local governments are educated about the Post-2015 framework, and he committed his group to do the work of translating global goals into goals that can be measured and tracked by local authorities.