In recent years, there have been several significant crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, resulting in drastic economic impact. Despite the challenges, businesses and countries continue to overcome these recent crises and shift toward the full implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nonetheless, this pursuit does not need to be undertaken only by large global organizations. Local efforts and strategies also play a crucial role in the process of recovery and complete implementation of these goals. In fact, local action can be one of the most pivotal factors in defining the success of large-scale objectives, especially the SDGs. According to the United Nations, action at the grassroots level taken by local governments is essential to achieving the SDGs and meeting the targets set for 2030.
-THE REAL POWER OF LOCAL ACTION-
The SDGs serve as a universal call to action, aiming to end poverty, eradicate world hunger, and create a world where everyone can enjoy peace and prosperity. The majority of SDGs not only focus on building a prosperous future but also attempting to mitigate the current effects of human activities on the planet. According to estimates by the United Nations, proper collaboration with local and regional governments is critical for reaching at least 105 out of the 169 SDG targets, accounting for roughly 62% of the goals. Local efforts are what ultimately foster both long-term and sustainable strategies, uniquely tailored to the specific characteristics and benefits of each region, including its geographical layout, demographics, and socio-cultural aspects. Unfortunately, local and rural areas or governments are often taken for granted or even entirely overlooked when it comes to implementing SDGs. To address this, the UN-Habitat, known as the United Nations Human Settlements Program, has introduced the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) series. This global initiative aims at providing local and national governments worldwide with knowledge and learning experiences on VLRs. Cities and other local regional governments are now using VLRs to track and report progress on SDGs, further strengthening local communities with the necessary resources to support the achievement of these goals.
-LOCAL EFFORTS IN ACTION-
The successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs require effective multi-level governance, which is underpinned by cooperation and engagement from the civil population. Italy stands as a prime example of a country striving to leverage local action. The country has plans to implement national sustainable development strategies that entail a multi-leveled approach, taking into account the objectives of the 2030 Agenda in its economic, social, and environmental planning processes. These strategies are intended to be implemented at the national, regional, and local levels across the nation. Moreover, Italy has collaborated with regional and local authorities since 2017 to bolster and develop strategies, with a special focus on addressing territorial priorities while simultaneously ensuring coherence with national frameworks. Besides, Italy is actively integrating the 2030 SDGs into its economic, social, and environmental programming, as evidenced by the drafting of the “National Sustainable Development Strategy 2017/2030” (NSDS). The country’s plans involve multifaceted initiatives to protect landscapes and cultural heritage, minimize anthropogenic and environmental risks while enhancing urban and territorial resilience.
While there is more challenging work that lies ahead, it is equally important to recognize and celebrate the progress achieved over the past decades. Strategies that incorporate and are implemented in local and regional areas have made notable strides. There has been substantial development in positioning the status of local and regional governments and placing local action at the center of the global narrative. With the UN emphasizing the role of local governments in the 2030 Agenda, it brings about an environment that stimulates the flow of innovative ideas and strategies for driving progress toward accomplishing the SDGs in the future.
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