WUF: If You Want to Go Far, Go with Many

Strengthening the Local Voice at the International Level - DeLoG Session at the World Urban Forum 2020 (WUF10)

The tenth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10), convened by UN-Habitat, was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from the 8th to 13th of February 2020. It was the first time that an Arab country hosted the world’s foremost conference on cities and human settlements. It attracted over 13,000 attendees.

Several DeLoG members and partner organisations hosted events and participated actively in sessions at WUF10. UCLG for example, organised sessions on the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG WOFI), where it was made clear once again that decentralisation processes are pertinent to achieve the SDGs.

During the UCLG session on the International Municipal Investment Fund (IMIF) David Jackson, Director of Local Development Finance, UNCDF, made the case for finance at the local level by stating „If you want to achieve the Paris Agreement, if you want to reach the 2030 Agenda, if you want to reach other global agendas – municipal finance has to be established.“.

Some DeLoG member and partner organisations also took the opportunity of the WUF 10 to launch new publications, like the OECD with their synthesis report on A Territorial Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals. During the launch of the European Handbook for SDG Voluntary Reviews VLR-frontrunner Helsinki encouraged other cities and municipalities: “You can do it! You can start from your own level with whatever your pace is!”.

The diverse manner in which city level governments work on peacebuilding and conflict prevention was highlighted by the UCLG Peace Prize 2019 finalist, the Governorate of Duhok (Iraq). The initiative was presented by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Provincial Council of Barcelona and VNG International.

At the joined session of the Development Partners Network on Decentralization and Local Governance (DeLoG) and the European Commission, DG DEVCO, If you want to go far, go with many: Strengthening the local voice at the international level, Sarah Bentz, Policy Officer on SDGs at PLATFORMA/CEMR, stated that “We have to unlock the potentials and magic of decentralised development cooperation between cities and regions.” Cities and municipalities are the major drivers in terms of the implementation of the SDGs. Policies at the local level have proven to show an immediate effect on reaching many of the SDGs. Both the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda underline the importance of networks and associations as dynamic actors of local action. At the World Urban Forum (WUF 10) associations of local authorities and other conference participants discussed challenges faced by cities and municipalities in promoting effective local action and how networks and associations can help to tackle the challenges and raise the local voice to the international level.

Read the full summary of DeLOG’s panel discussion at WUF 10 at: