8-9 April 2019 | SIEM REAP, Cambodia – UCLG ASPAC collaborated with the Local Governance Initiative and Network (LOGIN Asia), Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG), and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conduct a workshop on Enhancing the Capacity of Local Government in Localising SDG. The event was hosted by the National League of Local Councils of Cambodia, supported by Federation Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and participated by representatives from local governments and local government associations from Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The event marked an important contribution to the upcoming UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development as all the participating countries, except Sri Lanka, are preparing a Voluntary National Review (VNR) in 2019. Apart from discussing the preparation for VNR, the workshop aimed to deepen participants’ understanding of localising SDGs through exchanges of information, experiences and success stories.

Localising the SDGs itself refers to the process of taking into account subnational contexts in the achievement of the SDGs, from setting of the goals and targets, determining the means of implementation and using relevant indicators to measure and monitor progress. Representative from South Korea stressed during the discussion that VNR itself should not be regarded as a result, but rather part of the SDGs localisation process.

UCLG ASPAC’s key partner in the LOCALISE SDG programme in Indonesia, APEKSI, to raise awareness on SDGs for local governments, shared the challenges related to institutional, financing and human resource.  Representative from Cambodia informed of the additional Goal 18: End the Negative Impact of Mine/ERW and Promote Victim Assistance and the set up of Cambodia Sustainable Development Goals or CSDG. With regard to VNR, as Cambodia, through CSDG, will only implement selected SDGs that fit with their development priority, they will only report some indicators that are relevant along with data that is available. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is having exceptional situation where all the supporting system to implement SDGs had been shut down due to political reason. Both Cambodia and Sri Lanka also highlighted the lack of capacity and enabling environment such as local regulation.

Participant from the Philippines presented two key factors in localising SDGs namely; 1) local government approach based on local needs and 2) best practice dissemination. Meanwhile, representative from South Korea shared that although not all cities in South Korea will contribute to VNR process, the country has set up SDGs enabling environment such as SDGs roadmap development in 2018, and appointment of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environments, and Statistic Office as the Government Policy Coordination for SDGs implementation. South Korea will only focus on Goal 8, 10, 11, and 17 as they confident enough to meet its target and are now in the process of developing reliable data at local level to support the goals they focus on.