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Recommendations

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1. The European Commission should report regularly on any progress made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at EU level and indicate how the different levels of governance and Civil Society Organisations have contributed to this process.

2. We encourage the national Local and Regional Government Associations (LRGAs) to actively take part in the Voluntary Subnational Review (VSR) process. It is absolutely essential to have greater LRGA involvement in the national reporting and coordination mechanisms through regular dialogue and transparency. As a tool that LRGAs can use to report to their members on the overall progress regarding SDGs in a given country, the VSRs represent one way of doing this. They also complement the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) produced individually by local or regional governments that are circumscribed to a specific municipality or region.

3. LRGs are calling for the firm recognition and inclusion by national governments of the role of LRGs and their associations in the monitoring and reporting of progress in the implementation of SDGs at the national level, notably through VSRs and VLRs that would provide the relevant disaggregated data and information.

4. European States and the EU need to strengthen their dialogue with the subnational levels and include them in any relevant high-level delegation meetings (including High-Level Political Forums and others hosted by the United Nations).

5. Strengthen international cooperation to achieve the 2030 Agenda at the local and regional levels. By promoting multi-level governance, multi-stakeholder partnerships, policy coherence for sustainable development, sharing and learning from amongst peers in Europe and further afield, changes can be seen at the local level. We continue to support the global 2030 Agenda in Europe and around the world, particularly through more innovative partnerships with peers, as well as through a model of governance based on partnerships and decentralised cooperation and actions that make a real difference in attaining the goal of decarbonised societies, in a coherent, just and inclusive way.

6. There is still a need to localise and territorialise the SDGs, through the deployment of appropriate funds and resources, to bring about a positive impact on the ground. LRGs are better placed to directly grasp the full scope of the large-scale challenges that exist nowadays (climate, biodiversity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the Ukrainian conflict). Policies require a decentralised, bottom-up, territorial approach, with clear actions where all levels of government are required to contribute and every territory is given the capacity to do so. Estimates show that 65% of the 169 targets underpinning the 17 SDGs cannot be achieved without LRG involvement. They play an essential role in transforming these international ambitions into practical realities on the ground. To help LRGs successfully take on the necessary actions, supportive regulation, financing instruments, human resources, awareness-raising and development education and capacity-building that respect the diversity of regional/local conditions and territorial specificities are needed.

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Introduction