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Voluntary Local and Subnational Reviews: catalyzing global alliances for the localization of the SDGs

Cécile Roth


date June 29, 2022 | 17:30 - 19:00
Multifunction Hall Room 12
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future
NE 152


Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, local and regional governments (LRGs)’ involvement in monitoring and reporting on SDG implementation has expanded to all regions, as did the support of international institutions. Over the past two years, the total number of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) available worldwide has tripled (from approximately 40 VLRs in June 2020 to more than 120 in January 2022). In the same period of time, local governments associations (LGAs) from 14 countries, from different regions, have reported on the progress of their members in localizing the SDGs through Voluntary Subnational Reviews (VSRs), which together represent more than 16,000 local and regional governments. In 2022, the LGAs from 10 countries committed to prepare a VSR, among the 45 countries which will be reporting to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2022.

While VLRs are developed by individual LRGs and circumscribed to a specific city or region, VSRs are produced by LGAs based on inputs from all their members, therefore offering a country-wide analysis of subnational efforts for the localization of the SDG. VLRs provide first-hand information about the way in which LRGs are leading the way in the implementation of the SDGs, aligning their policymaking to the goals and targets, engaging citizens and local stakeholders, and increasing accountability and transparency. VSRs are powerful levers for creating a comprehensive, nationwide and multi-level approach to governance related to the monitoring and reporting of the SDGs. They contribute from the local level to the VNR processes. A clear sign of this is that most of the VNRs from countries in which LGAs have produced a VSR or VLRs have explicitly taken this subnational reporting exercise into account. Together, these two modalities of SDG reporting from the local level are becoming more and more widely recognized as inspiring and influential tools for stimulating bottom-up transformations. However, these efforts should be accelerated to boost the involvement of a majority of LRGs in all regions with the support of global local government networks and international institutions.

This session would be a good opportunity to discuss ways to bring the VLR and VSR processes and partners closer together, to share their progress, challenges and results in terms of methodology and advocacy, so as to strengthen the capacities and resources of both LRGs and LGAs. VLRs and VSRs have indeed the same objective: to highlight the progress of the LRGs in the localization of the SDGs to make their efforts visible and to foster a “whole of government” and a “whole of society” approach to achieve the SDGs.


The session will lead to enriching local and regional governments and their associations’ strategies and the coordination between local governments networks and international institutions to strengthen the involvement of subnational levels of government in global reporting efforts on the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. The aim is to exchange on local and regional governments’ experiences in developing a VLR and on national associations’ efforts in elaborating VSRs, as a way to strengthen subnational governments’ involvement in SDG localization, and to enhance synergies between VLRs and VSRs processes, methodologies and advocacy objectives.

The objective, in particular, is to encourage knowledge sharing and strengthen partnerships between local authorities and their associations in SDG reporting. The event will involve: representatives from LRGs that are in the process of developing a VLR or already published one, from LGAs that have elaborated or are currently in the process of preparing a VSR, from the global and regional networks of local and regional governments (UCLG), as well as international partners.

Overall, better connecting VLRs and VSRs and building upon their complementarities will be a vital step along the way to encourage more and more LRGs and LGAs in using the SDGs as a reference framework for promoting sustainable development, and collectively make a significant contribution to the UN Decade of Action.

Session speakers

Ms. Sara Hoeflich
Director of the area of Learning
Ms. Nicole Osuji
Project Manager
Ms. Sabine Dress
Manager Foreign Affairs
Deutscher Städetag
Mr. Sami Serkan Nebioğlu
Coordinator of the VLR
Izmir Metropolitan Municipality
Mr. Knut Hjorth-Johansen
Coordinator European Policy Affairs
Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS)
Mr. Martino Miraglia
SDG Localization and Local Governments
UN-Habitat, Urban Practices Branch
Mr. José Alvarez
UCLG Policy