Under the auspices of the Urban-LEDS II project objective on multi-level governance and ICLEI Africa’s work with cities to date on localising global agendas, the workshop showcased the City of uMhlathuze’s commitment to sustainable development at the local level. Given the strong linkages between the Urban-LEDS II objectives and the global SDG goals and targets emanating from Agenda 2030, it is logical that successful localisation of the SDGs will make a significant contribution to achieving the Urban-LEDS II objectives and in turn foster capacity, willingness, and technical readiness to meaningfully achieve sustainable development within the City’s municipal context.
The one-and-a-half day workshop was well attended, with nearly 60 officials from key city, provincial and national departments actively participating and engaging in fruitful and dynamic discussions. The programme was co-developed by ICLEI and a core City team, and was mainly aimed at raising general awareness and crafting a robust localisation and reporting framework in the specific City context. This would form the basis for collaborative and integrated action planning and service delivery going forward in line with the global sustainable development agenda.
The overall workshop structure and flow was informed by the localisation framework and roadmap developed by ICLEI Africa in 2019. Some of the key activities included the clustering of the SDGs in relation to existing City department roles, responsibilities, and priorities, geographically mapping potential areas of need and specific SDG interventions in response to these needs, and setting local targets and indicators in line with the SDGs, but with the local context in mind. Coupled with practical tools and scenario activities and the identification and selection of local SDG champions for each of the identified clusters, the workshop demonstrated the need for integrated and collaborative approaches to achieving the SDGs in the coming decade and ensured that a practical, realistic and implementable framework was co-developed.
The workshop was a successful pilot, as it was the first attempt by an intermediary city municipality in South Africa to practically operationalise the SDGs at this level of detail. It provides a blueprint for institutionalising the SDGs at the local level more broadly. As such, the City of uMhlathuze is a pioneer in the SDG space, inspiring other cities to follow suit. ICLEI and Urban-LEDS II are proud to be supporting the City on this journey towards local action for global impact.
A full workshop report containing more detail on the workshop and its outcomes will be available soon.