13 – 15 March 2019 | BRUSSLES, Belgium – As an important partner of the European Union (EU) on the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UCLG ASPAC took part in the EU Policy Forum Development Meeting (PFD), to reflect on the progress achieved in the region so far and discussed the way forward to strengthen local governments’ actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event marked an important moment as the EU is preparing to report on the SDGs at the upcoming High Level Political Forum (HLPF) this year.

PFD meeting serves a key platform for the EU and its partners around the world including civil society, local authorities, private sector and policy makers, to engage in an inclusive and strategic political dialogue on the complexity of the 2030 Agenda implementation, while reassessing and adjusting strategic partnerships to ensure that the targets set under the SDGs are met by the EU and other countries around the world. This year event was organised in Brussels, Belgium, from 13 to 15 March 2019.

The event was participated by more than 90 representatives including the EU member states, institutions and development partners from both within and outside Europe, demonstrating strong global commitment to work together in realising SDGs. Among prominent representatives were Félix Fernández-Shaw, Director of International Cooperation and Development Policy and Carla Montesi, Director of Planet and Prosperity, both from Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.

The three-day meeting took stock of the progress and continuing challenges in meeting the targets set under SDGs, and identified needed improvement including in the partnership with the EU. Participants exchanged their experiences on collaboration with respective EU institutions, EU Member states, civil society oganisations, and local authorities, while exploring areas that can be further enhanced including in the field of public-private partnership.

The discussion stressed the need for transformative paradigms which move away from development models that widen poverty and inequalities, and impacting negatively on marginalised groups, for example women and persons with disabilities. Participants also called for concrete actions to protect and expand the enabling environment for CSOs, LAs and local businesses; including capacity building, providing consultative spaces and resources. In response to the rapid urbanisation, it was recommended that the EU should continue to enhance its support to local authorities and for 2030 Agenda implementation due to the need to move beyond focusing only on national governments for development.

Representing UCLG ASPAC, Secretary General Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi together with CSO’s focal person, facilitated the regional PFD meeting to discuss on the preparation for the Asia-Pacific PFD to be held in October in Kathmandu, Nepal.