The leadership of the regions in the territorialisation of the SDG


Federico Buyolo,

Director General of Cooperation and Solidarity of the Generalitat Valenciana


Should we leave all action in favour of the SDGs to the nation states? Is the 2030 Agenda a working guide or does it mean more than a compendium of 169 targets? Are the regions prepared to implement the agenda?

The 2030 Agenda, unlike the Millennium Goals, calls us to have a universal vision that involves multiple actors and must be implemented at all levels. Therefore, we must understand that the actions to be undertaken are not exclusive to the nation states, nor should we expect the leadership to come solely from the National Governments. It is time for us all to assume our part of responsibility and to put our resources into action to align local and regional policies with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, there is a double line of work that is reinforced: Local problems require Global solutions and, likewise, Global problems need Local solutions. The world is multipolar and it is also interconnected, so implementing a bottom-up policy is not enough, since the dialogue is multilateral and therefore that forces us to rethink, as regions, our role in leading this agenda of transformation and development.

The implementation of the agenda at a national level will not be possible without the contribution of the regions and the cities. This is not an agenda of global policies; it is an agenda of transformation of the current society from an integrated development perspective that promotes an ethical economy for an inclusive society that respects the environment.

It would be a mistake to think that the 2030 Agenda is just another document approved and agreed 193 countries. We cannot understand the Sustainable Development Goals as a minimum agreement, as a compendium of good practices with no obligation to fulfil, nor even as a document that replaces the old Millennium Goals. It is above all a transformation agenda that emphasizes the elimination of inequalities. Faced with the millennium challenges of ending poverty in the least developed countries, today we are confronted with the need to tackle inequalities between countries and within countries as well as favouring a better redistribution of resources. We are the first generation that has the knowledge and resources that are necessary to end hunger in the world.

Therefore, we must understand that the 2030 Agenda is not a decree of good intentions or a compendium of measures to be adopted in a disjointed way. It is a transformation agenda focused on people and on changing the current situation in order to generate prosperity and peace on a sustainable planet. This will only be possible if we are able to generate partnerships for an inclusive development.

It is not a matter of dictating norms, implementing cabinet policies or establishing a normative framework, it is above all a continuous and permanent work in order to internalize within institutions, companies, social organizations and citizens in general an unequivocal desire to build a new future of social justice.

The regions have the capacities needed to meet this challenge. The territorial development policy must integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental in its understanding of planning, implementation and evaluation. Today we have the necessary knowledge to develop this transformation, we have the human and material resources, and we are determined to join our efforts in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To this end, our action must be geared towards territoriality of the SDG and to generate partnerships for sustainable development. In this sense we have a double function: on the one hand, to lead the transformation of the current society and, on the other hand, to involve the citizens in the fulfilment of this transforming challenge.

We must inform to visualize, sensitize to demand and commit to act. It is time to strengthen and empower society starting from the local level with a vision of global citizenship committed to a sustainable development.

The fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda requires two fundamental factors: to progress in an inclusive and quality education in any part of the world, as well as the strengthening of the local economic development as a driving force of all the social, economic and environmental policies.

Regions are the fundamental piece of connection between the local and the global, from the coordination and promotion of the agenda in cities and municipalities, to the alignment and coordination with national and multilateral policies. Most of the challenges identified in the Sustainable Development Objectives fall within the competences of the regions, but this is not the only reason: regions know, want and can contribute to local, global and regional development in all areas of the world.

In conclusion, the 2030 Agenda is a task for all, it is a global and universal agenda that commits us all to act with a vision of transforming society today into a future of integration of the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.

The regions are not just a transmission belt, we are and we assume the leadership of the sustainable development agenda as transforming agents. We take on the challenge of achieving the future we want where no one is left behind.

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