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On World Cities Day, 31 October 2022, the United Nations, the Government of Spain, the Basque Government, the City Council of Bilbao, and the BBK Foundation opened the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat in Bilbao, Spain.

The Local2030 Coalition is the UN system-wide platform and network for supporting and accelerating the localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a shared space to mobilize, engage and empower every local actor to bolster the localization of Sustainable Development Goals. Also, 14 UN agencies, funds, programmes, and offices are part of the Local2030 Secretariat, acting as the advisory body to its Steering Committee. Together with its partners, the coalition will generate innovative solutions for local action to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. It will report progress at the SDG Summit in September 2023. 

The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, Amina Mohammed; the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif; the Assistant Administrator and Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support of UNDP, Haoliang Xu, represented the UN system at the opening ceremony. Deputy Secretary-General emphasized that “The Local2030 Coalition will bring together the combined resources of the UN family in enabling the energy, digital, green, and blue transitions needed for sustainable development.” 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, José Manuel Albares; the Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda of the Ministry for Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda of Spain, Lilith Verstrynge; the President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu; the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and the President of the BBK Foundation, Xabier Sagredo, participated in the opening among other high-level stakeholders. 

UN-Habitat, the UN agency responsible for human settlements and sustainable urban development, acts as the Secretariat and the permanent co-chair of the coalition. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, noted in her speech that “The push towards localization started with Agenda 21, evolved with the Millennium Development Goals, and has become a real driving force in achieving the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. We hope that in the post-2030 Agenda, localization will be a central element rather than merely an instrument of implementation, a true manifestation of the principle of inclusive multilateralism.”

The Government of Spain, the Basque Government, and the Bilbao City Council, together with the BBK Foundation, presented their bid to host the Local2020 Coalition Secretariat in Bilbao at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2022. The Local2030 Coalition Steering Committee endorsed the proposal. During the opening, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, said that Bilbao’s selection as the location of the Local2030 Coalition Secretariat “is a tangible sign of the effort and commitment of all institutions in Spain, as well as our society, with this common welfare Agenda.”

The secretariat in Bilbao will energize the work of the Local2030 Coalition and further advance implementing SDGs within the UN system and at the territorial and local levels. Spain is firmly committed to the 2030 Agenda, having defined institutional governance to develop transversal strategies for incorporating strategic frameworks for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, advocating for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

The Basque Government has been one of the first global sub-national governments to develop transversal strategies for incorporating the 2030 Agenda in public policies. In April 2018, it presented the Euskadi-Basque Country 2030 Agenda (EBC 2030 Agenda). In 2019, the Basque Country Urban Agenda - Bultzatu 2050 was adopted. Since 2018, Bilbao City Council has been promoting a framework for implementing public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance the 2030 Agenda.

The opening ceremony in Bilbao took place on World Cities Day to recognize the contribution of cities and local actors to addressing the world’s urban challenges and engage the international community towards implementing the New Urban Agenda, the roadmap to sustainable urbanization adopted at Habitat III Conference in Quito in 2016. This year the theme of the global observance of World Cities Day was Act Local to Go Global, focused on accelerating the implementation of the SDGs in cities, towns, and local communities.

The event was also a milestone of the World’s To-Do List global campaign that calls for greater support to cities to achieve the SDGs. Through this campaign, Bilbao joined other cities worldwide in underlining their commitment to the SDGs.

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