On 27 to 29 May the United Nations (UN) Human Settlements programme organised its first ever Assembly in Nairobi (Kenya), where also participated Gints Kukainis, Vice-Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LALRG), Mayor of Smiltene. The theme of the UN-Habitat Assembly was “Innovation for a Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities – Accelerated Implementation of the New Urban Agenda towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Gints Kukainis had a chance to speak at the Forum of Local and Regional Authorities, which was dedicated to the New Urban Development plan and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the context of local governments. In his speech he pointed out that not only SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities entirely dedicated to urbanization, but also the remaining 16 SDGs all comprise an urban dimension. “At the same time, we can observe a growing economic, social and territorial divide globally, as well as between and inside European Union Member States. However, we do not have a similar goal for balanced regional development. There is no a single regional SDG goal besides purely the goals on land use. While the SDGs capture the challenge of urbanisation with SDG 11, we need to ensure balanced regional development to make sure that no one and no territory is left behind,” stressed the representative of the LALRG.
Vice-Chairman of LALRG also emphasised the need to give local governments the opportunity to find solutions to local challenges that would be in line with the UN SDGs. “65% of the 169 targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require the engagement of regions and cities to be achieved. Cities and regions localise the SDGs on the ground, not only as implementers, but as policy-makers closest to their citizens, business and local communities,” concluded Gints Kukainis.
More info about UN-Habitat Assembly and documents you can find here: https://unhabitat.org/habitatassembly/