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• The five principal challenges LRGs face in working to achieve the SDGs and other global agendas are: inadequate human resources or weak capacities; limited support from national governments (in terms of administrative and financial support, capacity building, human resources…); limited local interest and/or awareness (e.g. local governments do not understand the SDGs or do not find them relevant, or they perceive the SDGs to be an additional burden, not well adapted to local priorities); insufficient financial resources (other than national subsidies) and, in general, limited coordination with other levels of governments (e.g. overlapping responsibilities, difficulties in coordinating between national and local plans).

• The five principal benefits for LRGs in working to achieve the SDGs and other global agendas are: enhanced multi-level coordination including improved planning mechanisms at local level to integrate the SDGs and promote recovery; increased local interest and/or awareness as local governments gain a firmer grasp of the SDGs or better understanding of their relevance and no longer perceive the SDGs as a burden; adaptation of SDGs to better meet local priorities; introduction of legal and institutional reforms to empower local and regional governments (e.g. for the localisation of the SDGs and to recover from the pandemic); enhanced participation of local non-governmental stakeholders.

• The principal ways for partnerships and cooperation to manage the interlinkages, synergies and integrated approach promoted by the SDGs: the development of joint activities with external stakeholders (Civil Society Organisations, universities, think tanks, etc.); the setting up of inter-departmental working methods (e.g. collaboration with colleagues from other departments on thematic issues, the use of tools for collaborative work, such as the RFSC; or choosing to focus the work on one/a few SDG(s).

• The principal ways to address the international dimension of the SDGs: participation in European/international networks and fora (international events, campaigns, etc.); development of international/city-to-city or region-to-region partnerships (decentralised cooperation activities) and build-up of activities lobbying European/international organisations; development of training modules on how to integrate SDGs in decentralised cooperation.

• Results obtained from developing international partnerships through the SDG framework: it strengthens the work with European and international networks; it helps to revitalise existing international partnerships and develops new international partnerships; it enables collaboration with external stakeholders (Civil Society Organisations, universities, think tanks, etc.) and, owing to a common language and objective, it strengthens the collaboration with the national government.

• Ways to support non-EU partners in their efforts to localise the SDGs: study-visits and storytelling meetings to supercharge ideas; organisation of training and capacity building activities that foster mutual learning from creating local SDG strategies together based on common objectives and shared SDGs.

The way forward

Scope of the SDGs you are focusing on in your work with your international peers

If relevant, how would you assess the knowledge of your non-EU / non-European partner about the SDGs?