As part of the Mercociudades Summit, in Cordoba, Argentina, the Latin American network Mercociudades and UCLG Learning coordinated a Training Module on Localizing and aligning the SDGs.
The 20 leading participants with expert backgrounds from departments of planning, the environment, international relations and the economy, and other Mercociudades thematic networks and international associations, such as FLACMA, Metropolis, UCCI and ALLAS, as well as a representative of the Argentinian government, worked together for a whole day in the Academy of Sciences on the localization and alignment module.
Using a wide range of participatory methodologies that helped participants to learn about alignment tools, the trainers Rodrigo Corradi (Porto Alegre), Agusti de Losada (consultant for the module), Santiago Gallo (CNM/FLACMA) and Sara Hoeflich (UCLG) provided knowledge and methodologies for aligning the SDGs at local and regional level.
In addition to the practical implementation of the guide, which, like the first module, includes tools, presentations, videos and handouts, several group exercises were carried out to enhance understanding and the application of good practices in implementing the SDGs.
Opportunities were also provided to share expectations, challenges and experiences in order to overcome obstacles and, in particular, to make coordination between governments and stakeholder identification more precise. The aim was also to identify strategic steps that would reveal needs in different contexts, and, in this way, prioritize and set up programmes which will ensure better planning and monitoring of local agendas by using global targets and indicators.
Aligning the SDGs with city strategies
This strategic planning helps to improve the alignment of the SDGs with a multi-stakeholder and multilevel agenda, which ensures a continuing international outlook.
As a result of the experiences and discussions among participants, several cities will approach activities aimed at aligning, raising awareness of and promoting the SDGs based on what they have learnt from good practices. In particular, several cities that play an active role in the Mercociudades thematic group on strategic planning are interested in guiding the alignment, by becoming an urban lifelong learning platform so that cities can be better connected and support the sharing of experiences and processes in real time.
The Mercociudades summit gathered together over 300 participants, including political leaders and experts from cities in the network. They shared their experiences at several thematic meetings and the political meeting; these included anti-racism and discrimination discussions, which the mayor of Buffalo City (name) and member of the Salga delegation representing the UCLG Presidency, attended.
A highlight was the Mayors Round Table, which Xolile George, director of Salga, opened, representing the UCLG presidency. Mónica Fein, UCLG Vice-President, stressed “the need for cities to work together in global round table discussions organized by UCLG and other networks” while also looking forward to the next world urban forum. Mercociudades will spread messages that will raise the visibility of Latin American local policies and specific challenges.
In this respect, the Mayor of Cordoba, Ramón Mestre, the new President of Mercociudades stated that:
“We need to develop local policies for the world’s citizens because cities are constantly changing. Migration and changes are continuing, and we live in a world in which a common agenda is key. This global agenda must include combating drug trafficking, gender equality, the resilience of cities, health and much more”.
The meeting made it possible to identify consistencies and partnerships between the networks. Mercociudades, FLACMA, UCLG and UCCI, ALLAS, as well as UN-Habitat, UNDP ART and agencies such as the AFD, GIZ, the CAF and the IDB, will continue working to coordinate and support these links that strengthen sustainable development starting from within the territory of Latin America.
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