Keeping the Momentum Going to Advance Local Action: Taking Stock of the Daring Cities Forum
For three weeks in October Daring Cities united over 4500 participants from more than 150 countries to virtually discuss in forums, exchange during workshops and to design an action plan to approach the urban climate emergency amid the current pandemic. A diverse group of urban leaders and decision-makers presented local climate action aiming to build resilience, strategies for service delivery and for fighting against existing social inequalities. Fostering an interactive dialogue among local and regional leaders, the critical role played by towns, cities and regions in tackling the current challenges to achieve a sustainable future was emphasised from the beginning, making it the foundation for innovation, collaboration and alliances.
During the Forum, two sessions as well as two partnership projects specifically highlighted the important aspects of local governance in implementing the 2030 Agenda. On the UN’s 75th anniversary one session provided space for an exchange among urban leaders and UN officials to discuss the innovative opportunities offered by the urban world to deliver on the future of inclusive multilateralism. Identifying Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) as an essential tool to advance the process of localising the SDGs, pioneer cities’ VLRs and their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda were showcased. Championing a network that unites cities engaged in VLR-reporting as well as those which want to use the tool, the session demonstrated the possibility to strengthen and promote the advocacy role of cities. Furthermore, a proposal was presented by ICLEI according to which “Local 2030 hubs and local engagement” are one of the key aspects of future collaboration and inclusive multilateralism.
Looking at the outcome of the Forum, local governments (LGs) will benefit especially from two key Daring Cities announcements. The ICLEI’s “Climate Neutrality Framework” and in particular the “Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)” which is a unique cross-stakeholder initiative able to provide LGs with a new set of tools, knowledge and guidance to build resilience and foster regional partner-networks. Building on the lessons learned and best practices of the “Making Cities Resilient Campaign” that promotes the need for local government authorities notably in the urban context over the last ten years, MCR2030 will be an important tool for exploring new partnerships and delivery mechanisms. The tool represents not only an outlet for advocacy, but will focus on knowledge-sharing, the establishment of city-to-city learning networks and building partnerships at a global scale.
Focussing their efforts on moving forward, local and regional governments once again reminded stakeholders of the importance of concerted local action. ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin underscored the need to have a dialogue at the local level and to keep the momentum going that the Forum has successfully built over the last few years. Echoing the call for a concrete roadmap that plans ahead inclusively, participants recognised the need for all levels of government to work together toward achieving the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. One step in the right direction has already been made with the plans for ICLEI's World Congress 2021 which will address how local and regional governments across the ICLEI network, together with their partners, are advancing sustainable urban development worldwide.