The members of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Leaders gathered in New York on 13 December at the invitation of UN Habitat, the Group of Friends of sustainable cities and UCLG. This meeting aimed to contribute to the work of the Open Working Group on sustainable cities and human settlements and to engage in the ongoing intergovernmental process on financing, the preparations for Habitat III, and to support the definition and implementation of a new development agenda. Corinne Woods, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign and Navid Hanif, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination moderated the sessions on Inclusive Local Governance and Universal Service Provision for Sustainability and Partnership
The Ambassador of Sweden, Mr. Mårten Grunditz, acknowledged the key importance of subnational authorities in basic service provision and in bridging inequalities. UN Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, reiterated his conviction that all actors were required to fulfil the ambitions of the new development agenda. Olav Kjorven, Special Advisor on the Post-2015 Development Agenda of UNDP, also emphasized that a local approach with an active role by cities was needed to achieve the global goals.
A STEP FORWARD FOR THE GLOBAL TASKFORCE
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, met the members and partners of the Global Taskforce at a special session and welcomed their work, stressing that the Post 2015 Agenda requires the full involvement of local governments.
The members reaffirmed the need to ensure that the new development agenda is people centred and focused on the actors and institutions that are necessary to build sustainability and prosperity. “The post 2015 agenda needs to promote stronger support for effective decentralization aiming at strengthening city management and a new urban partnership that bridges the rural-urban divide. It will necessitate a multilevel governance framework and adequate attention to create the conditions for universal service provision with special attention to the most vulnerable” affirmed the Co-President of UCLG and Mayor of Victoria, Seychelles, Jacqueline Moustache Belle.
The Global Taskforce also considers a stand-alone goal on “sustainable urbanization” to be critical if the potential of cities and city governments is to be mobilized in order to overcome the main challenges of a sustainable future. For that very reason, 157 forms signed by Mayors, Governors and their associations and civil society partners calling for an Urban SDG to be included in the new Development agenda were presented to the UN Secretary General.