Highlights of the 3rd OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs

Tuesday, 20 April, 2021

The Highlights of the 3rd OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs are now available. The event – hosted by the county of Viken, Norway, as part of the OECD Programme on A Territorial Approach to the SDGs - took place in a virtual format on 16 and 17 November 2020.

The Roundtable gathered 600+ representatives from a wide range of cities, regions, national governments, and from the European Commission (DG DEVCO, JRC), alongside international organisations (FAO, UNDP, UNECE, UN-Habitat, UN SDG Action Campaign), networks of cities and regions (Committee of the Regions, Eurocities, ICLEI, UCLG) and other stakeholders such as, EIT ClimateKIC, GIZ, national ministries and universities among others. The meeting showcased the key role of cities and regions in the decade of actions, the importance of coordinating Voluntary Local and National Reviews for strengthening multi-level governance and the potential of the SDGs to guide the recovery from COVID-19 in cities and regions.

Key messages include:

  1. Cities and regions have a key role to play in the decade of action: The SDGs offer an opportunity to implement a new regional development paradigm promoting a shift towards a multi-sectoral, place-based, context-specific and bottom-up approach. Many cities and regions have already followed this approach and started to use the SDGs as an integral part of their policy planning, measurement and stakeholder engagement actions.
  2. There is an opportunity to use Voluntary Local Reviews and Voluntary National Reviews to strengthen the multi-level governance of sustainability: The Roundtable has showcased the increasing recognition, at the local, regional and national level, of the need to integrate the VNR-VLR processes and better coordinate strategies and actions between different levels of governments.
  3. The SDGs provide a key framework for the COVID-19 recovery in cities and regions: The SDGs are the roadmap towards a sustainable future, but it is necessary to operationalize them. Local and regional governments need to identify and implement the transformative potential of the SDGs. This can help shift from a “business as usual” approach and create a behavioral change by engaging all key stakeholders and connecting the local and global level. Networks play a crucial role in that context.

Access the full document of the highlights here

The 4th OECD Roundtable on Cities and Regions for the SDGs will be held on 29-30 June 2021, co-hosted by the European Committee of Regions