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Localizing the SDG's: Pooling Resources for Water

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
B. Building capacity
Author(s): Manohar Patole
Manohar Patole

Keyword(s): Water, Localization, SDG, Subnational Actors, Disaggregation, Metadata, Urban


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth a formidable task for the global community on international sustainable development for next 15 years. Comprised of 17 goals with 169 targets and an unknown number of indicators, disaggregation is one element of an approach to localize the SDGs. Localization is vital for the transition to Agenda 2030 and the SDGs for the global community. Lessons learned from the MDGs, rapid urbanization, and lobbying by various constituencies provided the justification for an “urban” SDG. The importance of SDG 11 is noted in the UN Chronicle: “it will be under the auspices of cities where we will succeed or fail in achieving our goals of poverty eradication, equality, climate change reduction, and ensuring healthy lives.” Much of the discussion thus far has been on the “why” an urban SDG is important but not much has been said on “how” to achieve the targets by subnational actors. In addition, the horizontal variations between and within countries should be taken into account when considering pragmatic solutions.   The example of disaggregating SDG 11 and 6 demonstrates how the process to identify opportunities for subnational interventions that can achieve multiple targets and indicators. At what level of government will depend on context. In some cases where they have autonomy, subnational actors can work independently on indicators, but in most countries the purpose is to push central actors and donors to help identify a productive role for subnational governments. Although some limitations were identified, disaggregation also demonstrated that cross-cutting SDGs, like SDG 11, are more than a collection of sector-specific targets and indicators. The examples presented here are only illustrative--future research to support the development of an analytical framework that elucidates how to disaggregate and localize the SDGs would be a valuable tool for national and local governments, implementing partners and other interested parties to appropriately develop activities that properly address defining and meeting SDG indicators, improve cooperation among all involved, and limit redundancy.

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