July 13, 2017     cib    

On 11 July, Mayor of Utrecht and President of VNG, Jan van Zanen presented a report to the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) entitled “National and sub-national governments on the way towards localization”.

Analysis of 63 Voluntary National Reviews

The report is based on an analysis of the 63 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) presented by national governments to report on the progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as information collected from local government associations in over 30 countries by UCLG, with support of its UCLG Capacity and Institution Building Working Group.

The main conclusions of the report include:

  • Currently, 57% of the VNRs mention the participation of local and regional governments. However, the way of consultation of local governments varies greatly from country to country.

  • 19 of the 63 VNRs mention the importance of decentralization to achieve the SDGs, whereas 11 stress the importance of strong local governance.

Furthermore, the report provides evidence of successful localization practices at national level. They are fostering strong partnerships with organized communities to ensure secure land tenure, upgrade slums, provide access to basic public services, and create better job opportunities. It also emphasizes the role that local government associations are playing in raising awareness of the SDGs among their members, and providing opportunities for peer-learning on the SDGs.

Call for stronger involvement of local and regional governments

The report calls for stronger efforts to involve local governments and their associations in the VNR process and the development of new frameworks for SDG implementation and follow up. This includes legal and fiscal reforms to provide sufficient powers and responsibilities and corresponding finances that enable local governments to fulfil their potential role to achieving the SDGs.


The HLPF is an annual event at the United Nations to review progress on implementation of the SDGs; countries voluntarily present their progress reports and several SDGs are being reviewed in depth at the Forum. In 2018, SDG 11 on sustainable cities will be one of the main SDGs to be reviewed.

UCLG participates in the HLPF in the framework of the Global Taskforce for Local and Regional Governments.