The Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) was co-organiser of the international conference "Together for the 2030 Agenda - Municipalities as trailblazers for global sustainable development" on 19 November 2020. All participants, who gathered online for the event, were aware that international cohesion and collaborative work on global goals are particularly important in times of the pandemic.
Originally, the conference was intended to take place as a face-to-face event in Berlin, but had to be converted into a digital conference due to the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The format was aimed at representatives of municipalities and cities from the Global South and North who are pursuing, planning or implementing ideas and projects to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). About 90 municipal delegates participated in the event.
Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, began the meeting by pointing out that today, five years after the 2030 Agenda was arranged, there are now only ten years left to implement the vision it contains, including the SDGs. More than half the world’s population live in urban spaces. Therefore, the impact of what happens in cities and municipalities on sustainable development has an enormous effect on the whole sustainability movement. Norbert Barthle emphasised municipal partnerships as one important and promising way to localise the SDGs and implement the 2030 Agenda.
Emilia Sáiz Carrancedo, Secretary-General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), added in her input how important it is that stakeholders from all different spheres, such as politics and business, and of course citizens, should be involved in this process. For that it is necessary to empower local governments and increase their freedom to act in the process of sustainable development. Anna Lixi, Head of Sector for local authorities (DG DEVCO), agreed in her statement and led back to the importance of cooperation in partnerships in which the two sides can share support and knowledge. She also underlined how the COVID-19 crisis has shown once again that we are all connected.