Practical Handbook for the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals

News | Guidebook | LOCAL GOVERNMENT 12 July 2022

Due to the universal nature of Sustainable Development Goals, they need to be adapted to the local context and specific needs, enabling their implementation to have a real, actionable impact on the local population.


The process through which the local context is taken into consideration in the 2030 Agenda is called the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals. The role of local self-government is crucial in this process. In addition to being directly involved in the localization process, self-governing units themselves set the local agenda, develop priority programs, and are involved in achieving goals and monitoring their implementation. Local and regional governments have played a critical role in defining SDGs, successfully launching the campaign for inclusive, safe, and sustainable development of cities and settlements (SDG 11), and highlighting the role of local and regional government in achieving and implementing national consensus on SDGs.


In addition to local government, the involvement of all other local parties – the civil society, local leaders, the private sector, the media, academia, as well as religious organizations and others - is of equal importance.


The abovementioned SDG 11 (inclusive, safe, and sustainable development of cities and settlements) is directly related to local self-governments, while the other 16 Goals have significant connections with local government activities. International practice shows that it is virtually impossible to fully implement about 65% of the goals of the 2030 Agenda without the involvement of regional and local governments. Poverty, lack of access to health services and education, social and gender inequality – this is just a short list of challenges facing the population dwelling in the regions. It is precisely the municipalities that have the ability to make the broad and seemingly abstract 2030 Agenda more tangible and concrete for the general public, to adapt it to the local context, and to contribute to the improvement of the economic and social situations of each citizen.


Leave No One Behind – is the main message behind the SDGs. It is therefore important that the benefits generated by the implementation of SDGs are evenly distributed between regions and among different demographic groups. At the same time, it should be noted that a specific region or municipality may have differing needs and priorities. As such, when planning and implementing activities, localization should be based on a bottom-up approach, in which significant initiatives should come from local stakeholders. This gives rise to results-oriented policies that can have a real impact on the living standards of each individual, family, community, as well as vulnerable groups. 


Additionally, local governments are able to consolidate civil society, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders in the implementation process of existing goals. It should also be noted that each stakeholder in the localization process, given their specific activity, experiences, and interests, can make a significant contribution to the successful implementation of the objectives.


Most importantly, leaders elected at the level of self-governing units have the proper democratic mandate and legitimacy to manage local sustainable development processes. At the same time, local governments are responsible for providing important municipal services, the quality of which directly affects the well-being and standard of living of local citizens.


Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals simultaneously represents a new, unique opportunity to strengthen the decentralization agenda. It can even be said that the sequences of processes for the implementation of decentralization and Sustainable Development Goals are interlinked.


What Additional Benefits Will Active Participation in the 2030 Agenda Bring to Municipalities?


- Achieving the SDGs means increasing general prosperity, building an inclusive society, tackling climate change, and ensuring the sustainability of natural resources. These priorities are on the agenda of each local government.


- The 2030 Agenda can serve as a practical guide for local self-governments to help them set long-term priorities tailored to local needs. This will contribute to the successful implementation of medium- and long-term strategic plans at the local level.


- With the 2030 Agenda, municipalities are given the opportunity to evaluate their own strategies and later update them while taking into account global goals, challenges, and trends. It is an opportunity for municipalities to keep up with global trends, innovate, and learn from successful examples from other countries.


- By actively engaging in the process of achieving these global goals, municipalities will have the opportunity to establish new connections and cooperation with representatives of other countries and to increase international awareness of their achievements. This may pave the way for new regional or global initiatives, engagement in which will enable municipalities to attract international funding and support to achieve specific goals.


- The listed activities will have a positive impact on the image of the municipality at the international as well as regional and national levels. Consequently, the municipality will become more attractive for people seeking to live there as well as for investment purposes.


The handbook provides information on sustainable development goals, the importance of the engagement of local governments in their achievement, measures to be taken to localize the SDGs, key milestones and circumstances to be considered to ensure the engagement of all stakeholders. As a result, the handbook covers the following chapters/topics:


 - What Are Sustainable Development Goals?

 - Georgia and the Nationalization of Sustainable Development Goals

 - Why is the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals Important?

 - What Additional Benefits Will Active Participation in the 2030 Agenda Bring to Municipalities?

 - Stages of Localization of the Sustainable Development Goals

 - First Stage: Awareness-Raising Activities

 - Second Stage: Integration of Sustainable Development Goals into the Local Agenda and Strategic Documents

 - Third Stage: Implementation

 - Fourth Stage: Monitoring and Evaluation


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The handbook was prepared by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) within the frames of the programme - Good Governance for Local Development South Caucasus (GGLD).


The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of GIZ.



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