#EURegionsWeek

European regions in the 2030 Agenda: towards a Community of Practice

Wed 9, October 2019
09:15 - 10:45

This workshop focuses on the key role regional governments play in the 2030 Agenda implementation. It will showcase good practices and common challenges of EU regions and will serve to set an EU framework for collaboration of members, subnational governments and stakeholders under the Community of Practice European Regions4SDGs. The event aims at enhancing coordination towards political strategies and programmes capable of encouraging a European blueprint for SDGs, including reflections to scale-up regional pathways from isolated good practices to collective modalities of implementation.

 

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the localisation of the SDGs is a crucial effort. Regional governments play a key role due to their capacity to undertake integrated territorial approaches, addressing key issues in areas including, but not limited to, nature conservation, ecosystem services, circular economy, sustainable development and climate change strategies. The levels of engagement and commitment of European regions towards the 2030 Agenda differ considerably. Although there is no single European blueprint for SDGs implementation, regions can play a leading role in accelerating SDGs implementation, ultimately influencing for more ambitious results in their countries, the EU, and the UN system. This is especially important in 2019 when, at the end of the year, a new Commission will face the challenge of institutionalizing the 2030 Agenda across the EU. Moreover, at the global level, the 2030 Agenda resumes its first four-year cycle, and the UN presents the first global quadrennial report on the SDGs. Since 2015, Regions4 (formerly known as nrg4SD) has been supporting regional governments in the SDGs implementation. In 2019, Regions4 is proposing the Community of Practice European Regions4SDGs as a project to support SDGs localisation, exchange of experiences, and align statements, both at technical and political levels. Not only will this project help regions achieve the 2030 Agenda, but it can also develop a collaborative process for SDGs policy coordination. The workshop is a joint initiative of Regions4 and the Committee of the Regions. It will explore the window of opportunity in the European and international contexts, showcasing examples of
SDGs implementation that could scale-up isolated regional good practices to collective modalities of implementation. The event aims to set standards and bridge different levels of government, attaining effective multi-level governance and greater policy coherence. Further, it will be an opportunity to map cases, regions, European organisations, and partners to be included in the community of practice.

Agenda:
1. Opening remarks:
- Mr. Bert Kuby, Head of Unit of the Commission for Economic Policy of the European Committee of the Regions
2. Good practices presentation and debate:
- Mr. Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister for Environment and Climate of the Lombardy Region
- Mr. Alfred Bosch, Minister for External Action, Institutional relations and Transparency of the Government of Catalonia
- Mr. Peter Cabus, Secretary-general of the Department of Environment and Spatial Development of the Government of Flanders
- Ms. Marta Marín, Delegate of the Basque Country to the EU
3. Community of Practice - European Regions4SDGs: call to action
- Ms. Ivy Moraes, Sustainable Development Policy Officer, Regions4
4. Closing remarks: 
- Mr. Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP), Member of Zarasai District Municipal Council, Rapporteur Commission for Economic Policy (ECON)
5. Q&A with audience

Ivy Moraes, Policy Officer, Regions4 Sustainable Development, Belgium.
Arnoldas Abramavičius, Member of Zarasai District Municipal Council, Rapporteur of the Commission for Economic Policy (ECON), Zarasai District Municipal Council, Lithuania.
PASCUAL Alfred Bosch, Minister for External Action, Institutional relations and Transparency, Government of Catalonia, Spain.
Peter Cabus, Secretary-general of the Department of Environment and Spatial Development, Government of Flanders, Belgium.
Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister for Environment and Climate, Lombardy Region, Italy.
Bert Kuby, Head of Unit of the Commission for Economic Policy, European Committee of the Regions, Belgium.
Marta Marín, Delegate of the Basque Country to the EU, Basque Government, Spain.
Ivy Moraes, Policy Officer, Regions4 Sustainable Development, Belgium.
09WS628
Workshop
The Future of the EU and the roles of the Regions and Cities
CoR - ECON commission, Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development
english (en), español (es), français (fr)
Building CoR - VMA building, Room VMA 1.
Address: Rue Van Maerlant, 1040 Brussels

Session summary

Regions4 and the Commission for Economic Policy of the European Committee of the Regions organised the session to showcase good practices and share common challenges of EU regions in localizing the 2030 Agenda. The session was another step in the direction of the establishment of the Community of Practice European Regions4SDGs.

Bert Kuby (ECON/CoR) recalled that 65% of the 169 SDGs targets cannot be reached without the engagement of, and coordination with, local and regional governments. While they face challenges on lack of disaggregated data, effective reporting, and insufficient coordination with the national level, a collective approach to solve some of the challenges will allow regions to learn from one another, share best practices, and avoid obstacles that are similar in nature.

The session presented four examples of frontrunner regions across Europe that have different strategy approaches and policy tools to take action towards the localization of the SDGs.

Raffaele Cattaneo (Lombardy) presented the recently adopted Agreement for sustainable development in Lombardy in alignment with its Regional Development Programme. Signed by the regional government and 54 stakeholders, it will accelerate actions for the 2030 Agenda, benefitting 10 million people.

Alfred Bosch (Catalonia) highlighted the coordinated interministerial process that started in 2015 with a comprehensive analysis of how the SDGs can be localised and culminated last September in the approval of the Catalan Plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which aims at boosting policy coherence and has over 900 concrete and measurable commitments.

Peter Cabus (Flanders) drew attention to Flanders’ Focus 2030 and Vision 2050, which are medium- and long-term strategies for the SDGs that establish a new governance model and set seven transition priorities, focusing on system innovation, links to the budget, and stakeholder participation.

Marta Marín (Basque Country) underlined the progress of the Agenda Euskadi-Basque Country 2030 adopted in 2018, including its annually produced monitoring report that is sent to the Basque Parliament. The region’s actions are managing to mobilise the Basque society as a whole. Training experiences, Sustainable Bonds, and multi-stakeholder engagement have been key strategies for setting a high bar.

The benefits of this exchange were emphasized by Ivy Moraes (Regions4) who commented on the need for interaction on an ongoing basis, exercising real listening and encouraging results from collective processes. In this sense, Regions4 is proposing a community of practice to enable opportunities for cooperation, peer-learning, support, and innovation that enhance regional governments capacities and scale up their ambitions.

Finally, Arnoldas Abramavičius (ECON/CoR) underscored the need for an overarching EU strategy for sustainable development containing targets, timelines, and deliverables. He closed the session highlighting that some regional authorities are mobilised about their responsibility to make a difference when it comes to the SDGs, nonetheless a structured mechanism of exchange can maximize the potential results.

Take away message

Any EU framework for the SDGs must include a strong territorial component with specialised role assigned for regions and necessary means for enabling their contributions. There is a need for a cross-policy strategy for SDG implementation in the EU, SDG mainstreaming and SDG proofing of long-term strategies.

The Community of Practice European Regions4SDGs can help regions improve and accelerate their efforts in the 2030 Agenda and allow the consolidation of a joint process for SDG policy coordination in the EU-level.

Photos



“A collective approach will allow regions to learn from one another and avoid common obstacles. This notion of partnership is exactly why we are here today: CoR and Regions4 support a collective and bottom-up approach to tackle the localisation of SDGs.”

Bert Kuby (ECON/CoR)

“Forging strong partnerships and engaging in learning exchanges will ultimately lead to better localisation of the SDGs across regions and greater sustainability successes across the board.”

Bert Kuby (ECON/CoR)

“We are all facing the same challenges so we can be confident that listening and sharing experiences is the best way of knowing if what we are doing is effective."

Raffaele Cattaneo (Lombardy)

"Lombardy commits to become a leading region in sustainable policies and to encourage a coherent and integrated relationship between the economic, social and environmental dimensions. That is what we mean by localising the SDGs”

Raffaele Cattaneo (Lombardy)

"Catalonia's Plan to implement the 2030 Agenda localises the 17 SDGs and 169 UN targets into more than 900 concrete and measurable commitments, covering all public policies with a domestic and global dimension while boosting policy coherence."

Alfred Bosch (Catalonia)

“Our forward-looking policy sets out a vision for Flanders as an inclusive, open, resilient and internationally connected region, that creates prosperity and well-being for its citizens in a smart, innovative and sustainable manner. Planning is good, action is better, results matter.”

Peter Cabus (Flanders)

“The Agenda Euskadi-Basque Country 2030 is a key element to mobilise more institutions and social and economic actors that are adopting it and contributing to the territorialisation of the SDGs.”

Marta Marín (Basque Country)

“Rather than a mechanism for solely strengthening the individual actions of each European region, the Community of Practice European Regions4SDGs is a fundamental action to ensure a truly collective implementation of 2030 Agenda.”

Ivy Moraes (Regions4)

“The absence of an overarching EU strategy for sustainable development is a major impediment to greater integration of the SDGs into EU governance, budgeting, and monitoring instruments at the national and subnational level.”

Arnoldas Abramavičius (ECON/CoR)

“Partnerships and communities of practice like the European Regions4SDGs will be instrumental in convincing other stakeholders to join the movement and to reach the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.”

Arnoldas Abramavičius (ECON/CoR)

“A collective approach will allow regions to learn from one another and avoid common obstacles. This notion of partnership is exactly why we are here today: CoR and Regions4 support a collective and bottom-up approach to tackle the localisation of SDGs.”

Bert Kuby (ECON/CoR)

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