Final report of the Venice City Solutions 2030 – financing the SDGs at local level

11 Jan 2019

The approval of Agenda 2030 in September 2015 constitutes a unique opportunity for the world we live in. For the first time, all the member states of the United Nations committed to eradicating poverty, making the first universal plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.
Within the Agenda 2030, cities take a very special place as instruments for growth, equality and opportunity, as for the first time, an objective dedicated exclusively to cities was included in the Agenda. SDG 11 wants to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
Cities cannot be an opportunity for all in the absence of able, capable and accountable local governments. Local and regional governments all over the world are already committed to implement the SDGs at local level and their global networks have been very present in the design and first stages of implementation of the Agenda 2030. According to UN agencies such as the United Nations Capital Development Fund, investing at local level also produces one of the highest returns in investment and it touches the lives of people right away.
This document gathers the conclusions and recommendations by participants to the “Venice City Solutions 2030 – Financing the SDGs” that took place in Venice, Italy on 16th and 17th November 2018. This first edition of the Venice City Solutions explored how to make SDGs a reality for all from the local level. Further editions of the event are planned to happen in the next years.
In a final session to gather conclusions and recommendations to be included in the process leading to 2019 High Level Political Forum, three initial thoughts were proposed:
Not only making sure that finance is commensurate with mandates at all levels of government, but innovating in the way that local and regional governments are able to finance their daily efforts. In this regard, international organizations should link funding and financing to concretizing decentralization and supporting reliable data collection and tailored indicators at the local level.
All levels of government should improve the way they communicate and involve citizens in the local development processes. This is a matter of harnessing accountability requirements to build stronger bonds between the citizens’ and cities’ elected bodies and officials. In doing so, they would show their pro-active engagement towards sustainable development and building dynamic partnerships with civil society.
Beyond formal recognition of the co-responsibility of local governments in achieving the global goals, it was highlighted that co-ownership is directly linked to having a seat and a say at the policy-making global and national tables. Coordination mechanisms for coherence of efforts and alignment between all stakeholders, including Parliament, are necessary.
Following these initial thoughts, the questions addressed by participants can be grouped around the following issues:
We need concrete mechanisms and tools of financial support for local and regional governments to achieve Agenda 2030.
We need to establish dialogue mechanisms between central and local governments to achieve the SDGs at local level.
We still need to increase awareness about the need for local and regional governments to access the necessary financial resources to implement Agenda 2030.
We need more data about municipal budgets dedicated to align to the SDGs.