Akosita Talei's picture

By the Solevaka Team

True localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and well-resourced localization in transforming the current development paradigm are needed to address the rapid urbanization and transformations in towns and cities.

The recently released 5th Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy, also known as the GOLD V Report noted that the percentage of the world’s population living in urban areas is expected to rise from 55 percent to nearly 70 percent by 2050. And 2.3 billion urban dwellers are likely to be in low and lower-middle-income territories where urbanization is happening at the fastest rate.

And localization will require several policy transformations, including in urban and territorial planning, strategic design, institutional environments and ensuring that political roadmaps are fully “territorialized” to maximize local potentialities, involve all local stakeholders and build on local needs and demands.

While rapid urbanization remains a crucial challenge, local governments and authorities have begun to think of a social contract that allows for the co-creation of a development pathway towards a sustainable future for the planet.

“Changes in population growth, age composition, and migration patterns heavily impact urbanization pathways and those of the surrounding territories, cutting across a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs  - for example, poverty eradication, access to food and water, health, gender equality, economic growth and decent work, the reduction of inequalities and promoting sustainable cities,” according to the report.

In the Pacific region, countries assessed to ascertain how local action is transforming territories and communities included Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati.

Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“In other Pacific Small Island Developing States, government structures operate in parallel with customary chiefdoms and there is a high level of consultation amongst the community.

Unfortunately, women’s representation is still limited in the region (on average only 19% of seats in national parliaments and local governments are occupied by women),” the report noted.

The report assessed localization processes in the United Cities and Local Governments regions (UCLG), and these are Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and West Asia, and North America. 

The report also explored whether the specific context of metropolises has an impact on the implementation of the SDGs and the global agendas and this is coordinated with Metropolis, the global organization representing metropolitan areas, with a membership of 138 cities from all regions of the world.

The Localization of the Global Agendas - How local action is transforming territories and communities