Report of the Virtual Roundtables on ''Localising SDGs'' Jointly Conducted by ADB, OECD, UNDP and DeLoG

From 19 to 22 April 2021 a series of four roundtables on strategies, tools and methods to effectively localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was jointly conducted by ADB, OECD, UNDP and DeLoG.


Presentations and recordings of the sessions are now available on ADB's Knowledge Platform, here.


"Without meaningful engagement and tangible contributions by subnational governments, reaching the SDGs by 2030 will remain an elusive dream", stated Bruno Carrasco, Director General of Sustainable Development and Climate Change at ADB, closing the four days of roundtables. Subnational governments’ (SNGs) proximity to communities makes them the key actors in delivering services, economic development and public investment. Thus, SNGs contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can ensure inclusive development and that no one is left behind.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Organisation for Economic and Development (OECD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Development Partners’ Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG) invited actors and stakeholders from all over the world to join the discussion on localising the SDGs. During the four days of roundtables, attended by more than 800 participants from 36 countries, enablers for SNGs to support the 2030 Agenda and SDGs implementation were discussed and various case studies from various cities and countries were presented.

Panel 1 – Multi-level Governance, Policy Coherence and Institutional Development

Introduction and moderation: Xiaohong Yang, Chief, Thematic Cluster, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB

Opening session:

  • Jaco Cilliers, Manager, UNDP Hub for Asia and the Pacific
  • Junghun Kim, Chairman of the OECD Network on Fiscal Relations and President of the Fiscal Policy Institute
  • Dr. Bambang Susantono, Vice President (Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development), ADB


  • Patrick Duong, Regional Adviser, Lead Governance and SDG Localization UNDP Hub for Asia and the Pacific: Setting the Context: SDG Localization in Asia and the Pacific
  • Bernadia Tjandradewi, Secretary-General, United Cities and Local Governments - Asia Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC): Subnational Governments (SNGs)’ Perspective on Localizing SDGs in Asia and the Pacific
  • Dr. Vivi Yulaswati, MsC, Advisor to the Minister of BAPPENAS for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction, and Head of Indonesia SDG Sekretariat: The Multi-level arrangement of Indonesia’s SDG Agenda
  • Mr.Rafique Shaikh, Chief, Sindh SDG's Unit, Pakistan: Country Example #1

The opening session saw the organising actors introducing the topic by underlining the importance of inclusive and sustainable development. The three speakers from UNDP, OECD and ADB highlighted that the consequences of crises like COVID-19 and natural disasters as well as challenges linked to urbanisationrising inequalities hit especially local communities. That is why local and subnational governments should be actively involved in supporting Agenda 2030.

The first panel discussed key elements for localising SDGs. Speakers highlighted the importance of thinking holistically about multilevel governance, building a strong legal framework, coherent policies, systems thinking and multi-stakeholder engagement. Specific focus was put on specification of functions and resource assignment in decentralisation processes, inclusion and interdependence of governance levels and policy sectors, and the contribution of Voluntary Subnational and Local Reviews to Voluntary National Reviews. As two of the countries that are leading progress on cascading national indicators at local level in Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia and Pakistan presented their experiences on localising the SDGs.

Finally, the need for political commitment and adequate financing to support policy and institutional reforms was highlighted, introducing the topic for the second panel.

"Institutional commitment for decentralization is not enough. Functions must be clarified, and fiscal resources must be aligned to those functions." Patrick Duong

Panel 2 - Financing for SDGs at the Subnational level

Introduction and moderation: Mrs. Radhika Lal, Regional Advisor, SDG Financing, UNDP Hub for Asia and the Pacific.


  • Isabelle Chatry, Senior Policy Analyst, Decentralisation, public investment and subnational finance, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD: What does World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG-WOFI) tell us about SDG financing at the SNG level?
  • Bakytgul Khambar, Director, Secretariat for SDGs Economic Research Institute, Ministry of National Economy, Kazakhstan: SDG Financing in Kazakhstan (Country Example # 2)
  • Davaadorj Sukhbaatar, Head, Investment and Development Planning Division, Governor’s Office of Orkhon Province, Mongolia: SDG Financing in Mongolia (Country Example # 3)
  • Arghya Sinha Roy, Senior Climate Change Specialist, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Department, ADB: Community Resilience Partnership Program (CRPP) Financing Partnership Facility (multi-donor trust fund and single donor fund)

The second panel discussed the need for adequate allocation of financial resources to allow appropriate service delivery and investment in key sectors at subnational level. Specifically, speakers discussed enabling frameworks for efficient fiscal decentralisation and the need to attract private sector financing. Lack of resources is often not the main obstacle to funds flowing to SNGs, but rather policy and institutional barriers as well as lack of focus on partnerships (ADB‘s Community Resilience Partnership Program 2021-2030 launched to support these).

Kazakhstan and Mongolia (Orkhon Province) gave insights into the integration of SDGs in national planning and budgeting, including a focus on diversifying funding resources.

Introducing the third panel, data on SNGs finance as provided by the OECD-UCLG World Observatory on “SNG Finance and Investment” were defined as key for localising SDGs.

“An integrated financing architecture is necessary to implement, strengthen and reinforce the SDGs”, Bakytgul Khambar

Panel 3 - Data Management and Monitoring for Localizing the SDGs

Introduction: Stefano Marta, Coordinator of the OECD programme “A Territorial approach to the SDG” Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities 


  • Paolo Veneri, Head, Regional Analysis and Statistics, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, OECD: The OECD measurement framework and data for measuring distance to SDGs in regions and cities
  • Stefan Schipper, Senior Statistician, Statistics and Date Innovation Unit- Office of the Chief Economist and Director General, ADB: Support in new technologies in data collection and dissemination for SDG monitoring
  • Dr. Celia M. Reyes, President, Philippine Institute for Development Studies: The Community Based Monitoring System in the Philippines (Country Example # 4)
  • Arjun Bhattarai, Deputy Secretary General, NGO Federation of Nepal and SDGs: Civil Society Monitoring of Localizing SDGs: Nepal (Country Example # 5)

The third panel served as a discussion on how data and monitoring can support SDG localisation. Main takeaways were that community-based monitoring systems can better collect disaggregated and granular data to enrich and complement VNRs and policies, and that sharing data and systems across regions and countries is key. It was also highlighted that multilateral organizations such as ADB, UNDP and OECD have developed innovative data-collection systems for SDGs, that can be publicly accessed and used for evidence-based policy making, starting from the local level. Examples from the Philippines and Nepal on the definition of local monitoring and diversification of monitoring actors were made.

The ability to understand and use data was stated to be too weak in many countries, setting the context for the fourth and the last panel.

“We know strong territorial disparities in achieving SDGs exist, and we need to go granular, go beyond national, to estimate data”, Stefano Marta

Panel 4 - Multi-Stakeholder Engagement, Partnerships, and Knowledge

Introduction and moderation: Bernard Leigh Woods, Principal Director, Department of Communications concurrently Director, Results Management and Aid Effectiveness Division, ADB


  • Bokyun Shim, Director, United Nations Project Office on Governance: Capacity Development for Localizing SDGs in Asia and the Pacific
  • Ir. Harlina Sulistyorini, M.Si, Director General of Economic Development and Investment of Villages, Disadvantage Regions and Transmigrations: Experimenting with Social Innovation Platforms in Indonesia (Country Example # 6)
  • Karibaiti Taoaba, Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF): Learning from the Pacific (Regional Example)

Closing remarks:

  • Bruno Carrasco, Director General concurrently Chief Compliance Officer, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ADB

The fourth panel discussed the key role of partnerships, promoting multi-stakeholder engagement, knowledge sharing and capacity development. The examples presented by Indonesia and CLGF (Pacific region) showed innovative methods for fostering local development and the importance of a ‘whole of society’ approach to localising SDGs, and the abundance of information and materials that are publicly available. The series of roundtables is a good example of partnerships among multilateral development organisations, a knowledge network, governments, global associations, and civil society organisations.

"Strong legal frameworks, allocation of resources, good implementation strategies, platforms for effective cooperation between governments and other stakeholders are necessary to effectively localise SDGs”, Bruno Carrasco

You can find more information on the speakers and panelists here.

Presentations and recordings of the sessions are now available on ADB's Knowledge Platform, here.