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The way forward

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By Carola Gunnarsson, Lord Mayor of Sala, Sweden, CEMR Spokesperson on International Affairs and UCLG Vice President, and Carlos Martínez Mínguez, Mayor of Soria, Spain, and CEMR Vice President and CEMR Spokesperson on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, UCLG Executive President.

Public awareness of SDGs differs largely from country to country; and while knowledge is not an indicator of the level or degree of SDG attainment, it is a factor in its materialisation and a crucial step in the localisation process. Campaigns, diagnostics on concrete SDGs, agreements with universities, etc. are all examples of the many actions where the involvement of LRGs is possible and needed to deliver on potential.

For both EU Member States and non-EU countries alike, working towards the 2050 climate neutrality objective will pave the way towards new opportunities for green jobs and more sustainable and just societies. As we set off down this path together, we must keep in mind not only the differences among countries but also among territories within a country (e.g. urban, rural areas, small, medium and large municipalities).

Getting youth involved is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. With nearly two billion people aged 10 to 24 – the largest young generation in human history – 90% of whom live in developing countries, the world's young people represent a community essential to addressing the challenges of building more resilient societies. It is therefore only right that many European and international instruments are being made available to improve the living conditions of young people around the world, to strengthen their links with local and national political institutions and their commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. A prime example of this is the European Year of Youth, announced in 2022 by the President of the European Commission, as well as the peer-to-peer dialogues being undertaken between local and regional governments to provide new opportunities and raise awareness of sustainable development issues among the world’s youth.

Localising the global agenda has never been more important than in today’s world. We stand by our peers in Ukraine and are firmly convinced that through local democracy and city diplomacy, both based on the values of peace that have united our municipalities across Europe since 1951, CEMR-PLATFORMA will continue to work to support them in their recovery efforts via decentralised city-to-city and region-to-region cooperation.

Last but not least, we would also like to see a more bottom-up approach in the future in order to be able to witness a genuine localisation of the SDGs, which we know we can successfully achieve with everyone’s involvement and commitment!

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