10th World Urban Forum

VLRs Cities and Regions Networking & Match-making Event


Localization of SDGs needs to go beyond adapting global goals to the local level. Commitment and political will, as well as co-creation of solutions with communities to urgently address global challenges and objectives, requires serious effort from Local and Regional Governments (LRGs). While these efforts to localise SDGs are progressing, the LRGs' involvement in Voluntary National Review (VNRs) is still limited, despite the fact that over 60% of the SDGs goals and targets are located under the sub-national governments' authority. Thus, SDGs attainment is likely to fail without significant and accelerated involvement by LRGs to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

A Voluntary Local Review (VLR) is a process by which LRGs voluntarily assess their own progress towards the SDGs and other international frameworks, such as the New Urban Agenda. This makes it possible for cities to gain greater ownership since they are taking a role in the bottom-up monitoring process for SDGs implementation. One of the ways to do this is by having individual LRGs and associations of LRGs share experiences, challenges, and lessons learnt with others around the world, as well as to open the door for new partnerships, further helping to implement local visions.

So far, between 2018 and 2019, around 25 cities and regional governments have already developed VLRs. They include towns (e.g. Shimokawa), cities (e.g. Toyama, New York, Bristol), and states (e.g. Yucatán, in Mexico). In 2020, the following cities have announced that they would also present their VLRs: Espoo, Turku, Touyuan, Shah Alam, Pittsburgh, and Manheim.

This networking event, held on 11 February 2020, offered a focused discussion so that cities could learn from, support, and review each other's experiences, and in this way improve their narratives for the VLRs. With growing interest by different entities in contributing to the VLR development, this event served as “matchmaking” between LRGs and development partners, so that LRGs could more fully utilise expertise existing around the globe. By doing so, the networking event pushed the LRGs-led movement towards a more inclusive, sustainable implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. Specifically, the event consisted of two segments. First, after welcome remarks, the co-organisers presented their regional and global experiences on facilitating/mentoring local governments, and tools used to develop the VLRs. In the second part of the session, cities shared their VLR experiences and core messages for others wishing to conduct them. There was also an opportunity to hear from entities about how they contribute to VLR development and SDGs localisation. Finally, a world-café style discussion helped with an exploration of how LRGs can advance the VLR agenda.

Event Details


Hall 3: Room 20, Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center- ADNEC, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi

Approx. 80
Related Links

IGES City Taskforce
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