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SDGs go local - NALAS and its members contribute to that

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The importance of Agenda 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the local governments and successful localisation of the SDGs were the topics of the webinar organised by NALAS on 10 November 2020, as part of the GIZ project “Enhancing local capacities to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Leave No One Behind Principle”.

Representatives of NALAS member LGAs got the chance to learn more and exchange on the importance of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs and their links with the EU integration process, the progress of the implementation in the region, the role of the local level and the World and regional trends and examples.   

“This pandemic crisis is showing us how important the sustainability issues are and how fragile are our societies, unless we develop a structure that will support our communities to be resilient in cases like this. It is very urgent that we all come on board with developing our future in a sustainable manner”, appealed in the opening session Ms. Nikica Kusinikova, Regional Expert. “EU accession process and the achievement of SDGs and Agenda 2030 are aligned. The difference between the two agendas is that the EU integration agenda is more political agenda, it is based on political dialogue between the countries, while the SDGs agenda is people’s agenda, it is very much focused on the human dimension and requires active participation by all citizens”, said Ms. Kusinikova.

Representatives the City of Skopje, the City of Bijeljina and GIZ shared their experiences in up-taking the SDGs and possibilities to get involved.

The City of Bijeljina is a pioneer in localising the SDGs in the region, and its leadership and administration unselfishly shares their experiences with their peers throughout South-East Europe. ”Partnership, cooperation and coordination at local level provide the basis for systematic approach for achieving sustainable development for all of us. Why is the implementation of the Agenda 2030 at local level it so important? Because, the life happens in local level and SDGs are relevant to the local level”, said Mile Pejcic from the City of Bijeljina.

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Mr. Aleksandar Bogoevski from the City of Skopje explained how they adjusted all their strategies to incorporate SDGs indicators. “It is not only local governments that shall localise the SDGs, it requires mobilisation of all stakeholders, including the business sector and the civil society”, said Mr. Bogoevski.

In a discussion on the role of Local Government Associations (LGAs) in the implementation of SDGs, Ms. Mirjana Komnenovic shared the experiences of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalkities of Serbia. “We raise awareness and strengthen local capacities for implementation of the SDGs. We do not suggest any prioritization of SDGs, they are considered equally important and it is up to local self-governments to make that prioritisation based on their specifics”, said Ms. Komnenbovic.

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Ms. Sanja Zivkovic from the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro added an important point. “The role of LGAs in the implementation and achieving the SDGs is not only to promote them, but to use them as a platform to improve the livelihood for all citizens and all businesses at local level. The bottom up approach is needed, as although community needs are similar, the specifics of the communities are different, even for two neighbouring communities”, concluded Ms. Zivkovic.

The important discussions will continue on Thursday, 12 November, when we are hosting the second webinar, focused on Practical application of the overarching “Leave no one behind” principle of the 2030 Agenda at local level.

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