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The directors of United Nations Agencies are meeting at the Local 2030 Secretariat in Bilbao, inaugurated by the President of the Basque Government.

2024 February 6
  • He presented the 'Model of Basque commitment to localising the SDGs  Now 2030 Basque Country'.
  • The 2030 Agenda can be better institutionalised, socialised, and personalised with a triple commitment model.
  • “This contribution presents the Basque experience of the 2030 Agenda and reflects our strong willingness to cooperate with Local2030.”
  • “Devolved governments possess 70% of the powers required to achieve the SDGs; therefore, they should play a more significant role in global governance.”
  • “It is crucial that the 2030 Agenda is also considered an authoritative reference in times of war and in support of peace.”
  • "The increasing prevalence of war and its impact on the world necessitates international consideration of updating SDG 16 on peaceful societies.”

A meeting of directors and heads of the United Nations Agencies, Organisations and Programmes that form part of the Local2030 Coalition is taking place at the Local2030 Secretariat in Bilbao from today until next Friday. UN-Habitat, the lead agency of the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat, has convened these workshops.

This is the inaugural meeting, which brings together directors and heads of organisations such as UN-Habitat, FAO, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, IOM, and ECLAC. The meeting is being chaired by Michal Mlynár, who is the Acting Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

The conference's first session was held in the early afternoon and chaired by Iñigo Urkullu Renteria, President of the Basque Government. Representing the Spanish Government were Eva Granados, Secretary of State for International Cooperation, and María Rosa Martínez, Secretary of State for Social Rights. Amaia Arregi, First Deputy Mayor of Bilbao City Council, and Xabier Sagredo, President of the BBK Foundation, were also in attendance.

The President of the Basque Government expressed great interest in the meeting being held in the region and at the Local2030 Secretariat in Bilbao. “We are interested in the goal of implementing the SDGs. We encourage the deepening of the strategic planning of implementation as a catalyst of the SDGs globally, as host societies and institutions of this Local2030 venue.”

He highlighted the willingness in the Basque Country to collaborate in the promotion of the priorities of the Local2030 Coalition, the amplification of its impact and the projection of the work developed from the Bilbao secretariat.

In his opening statement, the President of the Basque Government expressed gratitude towards the Spanish Government, Bilbao City Council, and the BBK Foundation for their collaboration in establishing the Local 2030 Secretariat. He highlighted: "For two years, we have worked together, we have fluidly understood each other, good will and a willingness to reach an agreement. It is good to appreciate it, to acknowledge it and to be grateful for it. It is good in itself, and also because of what it means for the future of this global Local2030 Secretariat”.

During his speech, he presented three reflections. Firstly, he presented the document ‘Now 2030 Basque Country: Model of Basque commitment to the localisation of the SDGs’. The Basque experience offers a model based on a triple commitment: increased institutionalisation, socialisation, and personalisation, which contributes to the 2030 Agenda. The meanings were explained by the President of the Basque Government

More institutionalisation involves “creating infrastructures that commit to the executive development of the SDGs. These infrastructures include steering bodies, planning documents, systems of indicators and evaluation, and multilevel governance bodies from an institutional and organisational perspective.”

More socialisation involves acknowledging the significant lack of social awareness regarding the SDGs. “It is important to prioritise investing resources and efforts in promoting the dissemination of the 2030 Agenda and involving social agents. The SDGs require a critical mass of support from society.”

More personalisation means giving the 2030 Agenda a “personal dimension that will challenge and influence our daily lives and lifestyles, whether at the level of the individual, the family or the private sector. The SDGs represent a new social contract that requires a personal signature.”

Iñigo Urkullu's second reflection focused on the role of local and devolved governments, which hold 70% of the powers related to fulfilling the SDGs. “The promotion of a greater role for devolved governments in global governance of the SDGs is essential. We hope that Local2030 will contribute to highlighting this aspect of commitment to the 2030 Agenda.”

The third reflection was about peace. The President of the Basque Government underscored: “it is crucial that the 2030 Agenda is also considered an authoritative reference in times of war and in support of peace.”

He reminded us, that at the start of 2024, the wars in Ukraine and Gaza were ongoing. These are not the only theatres of war. Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Burma, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sahel, and the Democratic Republic of Congo “are just some of the names that fill the list of war’s iniquities”.

Regarding proposals, he believed that the “increasing prevalence of war and its impact on the world should prompt international consideration of the contents and updated projection of SDG 16: promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. The SDG of Peace. It is crucial that the Agenda 2030 is also considered an authoritative reference in times of war and in support of peace.”

The President of the Basque Government concluded his speech with the word 'peace'. He lamented: "As anachronistic and paradoxical as it may seem, in 2024 it's once again a desire, a need and a priority to work for peace.”

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