The United Nations session at the 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2019 brought together representatives from various UN agencies like UNDP-GEF, UNESCAP, UN-HABITAT and UNISDR to discuss the role of local and sub-national governments in the implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Sendai Framework and the New Urban Agenda of 2016.
The session, organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, witnessed discussions on the need for localizing the global frameworks; ensuring that targets that go along with Sustainable Development Goals consider local contexts, challenges, and realities. Participants at the session also agreed that there is a need to develop indicators that are relevant and are in line with the national capacities, analyzing country progress based on national targets developed to achieve SDGs.
Speaking on the panel, Animesh Kumar, Deputy Chief, UNISDR said, "If we keep on making development investments and do not take care of disaster risks, we will never achieve sustainability.”
Reiterating the role of local governments in forwarding climate action, Ms. Usha Rao from UNDP said, "to achieve resilience, I can’t emphasize enough the significance of the role of cities…and local governments are at the center stage of these actions”.
Some of the gaps identified at the session were severe shortage of finance and local manpower at city level and the limited linkages of SDG indicators with local goals. Cities with big development plans often lack not just natural resources but also technical capacity to implement such plans.
Closing the session with a nod to inclusive and effective communication and outreach, James Mathew, Deputy Director General (Stats.), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India shared, “Good governance should be inclusive and participatory. A lot of areas are not aware of the developmental agendas, for that communication and outreach is required.”
The session was moderated by Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI and the panel included Omar Siddique, Economic Affairs Officer, Sustainable Urban Development, UNESCAP; K. Usha Rao, Regional Technical Specialist, Energy and Climate Change Mitigation, UNDP-GEF; Parul Agarwala, Regional Advisor, UNHABITAT; Animesh Kumar, Deputy Chief, UNISDR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Mohamed Shafeeg Mahmood, Local Government Authority, Maldives; James Mathew, Deputy Director General (Stat), MoEFCC.