ORU Fogar highly present in the debates of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum

With the presence of representatives from all continents, the regions once again reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development held in New York from July 10th to 19th. Members of ORU Fogar from Europe, Ecuador, Argentina, Senegal, and Kenya participated in the 6th Forum of Regional and Local Governments, as well as in various events, some of which were organized by ORU Fogar.

The HLPF came at a particularly difficult time in relation to the 2030 Agenda. The "United Nations 2022 Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)", with all its negative parameters, is completely disheartening. The United Nations itself states that this 2022 report shows "the devastating effects of these crises on the achievement of the SDGs." Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states that "all expectations of the 2030 Agenda are at risk." He highlights setbacks in four areas: food, energy, human development, and refugees. All indicators are worsening, including extreme poverty.

Faced with this situation, all regional representatives aligned themselves with Antonio Guterres call for renewed effort and commitment, bold actions, and a focus on global sustainability and vulnerable populations. The participation of governors and regional presidents in New York demonstrated that regional commitment to the 2030 Agenda is not just theoretical but very practical for each and every SDG.

However, ORU Fogar pointed out that beyond COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, poor governance does not help achieve the 17 SDGs. Centralized and bureaucratized countries are not in a position to achieve good results. In this regard, Leonardo Orlando, the prefect of Manabí (Ecuador) and representative of CONGOPE, strongly advocated for further decentralization to effectively implement the SDGs. "When we say that no one should be left behind, I think of the villages in Latin America. To work towards their development, I assure you that there is no other way but decentralization. Regions need political, economic, and fiscal autonomy. Decentralization is the key to achieving the 2030 Agenda."

Similarly, Juan Scharetti, the governor of Córdoba (Argentina), stated: "Our commitment to the 2030 Agenda involves bringing development to every corner of our province, creating genuine and quality employment." Mariano Fernández, pro-tempore secretary of Zicosur, affirmed that increased decentralization "would give new impetus to this agenda that is not progressing." Kenyan governor of Narok, Patrick Olé Ntutu, affirmed that decentralization "allows for the provision of quality services, and the Kenyan counties are committed to these services because they are a right of the population and contribute to development."

The topic of how decentralization can contribute to the achievement of the 17 SDGs was also addressed in the meeting between ORU Fogar members in New York and Laurel Patterson, the Director of SDG Integration at UNDP.

Taking advantage of the observations in the report regarding significant challenges in water management, energy transition, and waste management, the event organized by Regions4 and the Government of Flanders, titled "Innovative Approaches to Localize the SDGs under Review," highlighted that regional governments can play a significant role in these three areas. Meritxell Serret, the regional minister of External Action and the European Union of Catalonia, expressed her belief that the energy transition should empower the territory and promote decentralization.

During the 6th Forum of Regional and Local Governments, the Catalan minister presented various initiatives of her government in line with the SDGs, emphasizing that the Ebro Delta (a particularly sensitive territory) will be the first area where UN-Habitat will assess resilience to global challenges. Serret explained this in a session attended by Maimunah Sharif, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

In the dialogue established during the event organized by ORU Fogar and the Province of Córdoba, titled "Public-Private Partnerships for Regional Sustainable Development," Minister Serret and Silvina Rivero, the Minister of Coordination of Córdoba, highlighted two major limitations of regional governments in contributing to the 2030 Agenda. Cristina Serret explained that global governance does not sufficiently recognize territorial governments and encouraged all stakeholders to actively participate in the debates on global political architecture that will take place at the United Nations in the coming years. Silvina Rivero explained the efforts of the Province of Córdoba to stimulate the economy. "While these are national competencies, it is ultimately the success of our efforts, as the national government has the power to influence inflation or regulate the possibility of importing our products."

Ababacar Kalifa Ndao, the president of the Department of Dagana, Senegal, was the voice of ORU Fogar on the Day of Local and Regional Governments, where all reports and conclusions were presented. The representative of the Association of Departments of Senegal had already participated in a session of the Forum focused on production and consumption, where he explained the commitment of his country's departments to production "because it is the key to improving the quality of life of our citizens." Also present in the same session was Wilber Ottichilo, the Kenyan governor of Vihiga, who stated that in the global debate, certain regions, above all, should address water management, sanitation, and local and ecological production. This is in the context of global food prices increasing by 47% in 2022, as also highlighted in the "United Nations 2022 Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)".

The presence of various members of ORU Fogar facilitated numerous bilateral meetings that explored diverse possibilities for cooperation, both South-South and North-South.

Please find attached the mentioned report.





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