Localising the SDGs: examples from the Basque country

An association of Basque municipalities helps local authorities apply Agenda 2030

  • 30. maaliskuuta 2020 09.30
  • Author TheMayor.EU
Medium basque country 1033639 1920

Agenda 2030 or the sustainable development goals created by the United Nations are considered one of the most important documents concerning the world development in the period 2016-2030. They include areas such as poverty, hunger, education, equality, management of natural resources, economic and environmental measures, etc.

These measures also make up part of the EU's and its Member States' agendas. However, it is more important for these goals to become part of the local development plans of regions and municipalities as it is there where they will be carried out for the most part. A perfect example of how this could happen comes from Spain.

Local agenda 2030

Udalsarea is a network of 200 Basque municipalities that has as its main task reaching sustainability. It has developed a document called “Local 2030 Agenda: How to address Sustainable Development Goals from local level”. This is a practical guide for regions and municipalities across Europe to apply these goals in their every-day functioning.

The guide starts by explaining the importance of the SDGs and the opportunities they provide. They range from effective communication and political will to establish the agenda on a local level to reinforcing different funding opportunities.

The guide is divided into five steps for local authorities including:

STEP 1 – How to approach the Local 2030 Agenda preparation process

This is the initial level where political will is needed. The local authorities need to align their policies and plans for development with the goals outlined in Agenda 2030.

STEP 2 – Establishing SDGs at the local level

The task of the authorities is to align the new goals with the ones from Agenda 21. The step identifies 80 benchmark targets for the municipalities and regions divided into two groups. The first one includes those already applied or are currently being applied. The second group encompasses those goals that may present challenge or difficulty to local authorities.

STEP 3 – Formulating the Local 2030 Agenda strategy

This is the step that will actually result in the development of a strategy for the regions and municipalities. It will be applicable to their specific conditions and be in line with their vision and targets. It will require the concerted actions of politicians, different stakeholders and specialists from areas such as technology, economy, environmental protection, etc.

STEP 4 – Preparing the Local 2030 Agenda Plan

This step offers an initial structure of the plan each local authority shall prepare. It includes three levels – strategy, policy programmes and actions. These three shall ensure the intertwining of all local sustainable development indicators within the strategic plans to be developed.

It also distinguishes between four thematic areas – environmental, social, economic and governance.

STEP 5 – Measuring the local authority`s contribution to the SDGs

The measurement will happen in three steps:

  • What is planned, i.e. actions?
  • What is done, i.e. implementation?
  • What are the results?

Finally, the document prepared by Udalsarea has the potential to help municipalities across the European Union adjust and reform their plans with respect to the SDGs application and implementation.

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