Guangzhou Award Engaging in UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

2021-07-09 12:00:00

From July 5 to 16, the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development was held online. The forum focused on following up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Under the forum's framework, the "Accelerating Local Action" session was successfully held on July 8. The conference was co-organized by the World Cities and Local Government Organization (UCLG) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, hosted by UCLG Secretary-General Emilia Saiz. The Guangzhou International Urban Innovation Award (Guangzhou Award) senior consultant Nicholas You was invited to attend the meeting and made a speech.

The meeting put a spotlight on the UCLG Local4Action HUBs initiative. City representatives from Cuenca, Ecuador, Xi'an, China, and Madrid, Spain discussed topics like gender equality, climate action, culture, education, and public services, sharing relevant experiences of city innovation and implementation of sustainable development policies.

In You's speech, he summarized the success of the Guangzhou Award in promoting the practice of urban innovation, and put forward suggestions and references on scaling up innovation achievements and localizing sustainable development. He suggested: "first, we need to engage people, giving them the real steak in the outcomes; second, we need very strong local leadership; third, sustainable development goals should be viewed systematically and holistically, and cities should look at the complexity of the problem rather than trying to simplify it and break it down into pieces."

At the end of the speech, You put forward thinking about the relationship between development efficiency and sustainability. He did not agree with the excessive pursuit of technology-driven efficiency in today's cities and called for more attention to sustainable development goals and sustainable development.

The Guangzhou Award serves as a platform for the sharing and exchange of innovative practices in the local implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and New Urban Agenda (NUA). It has been successfully held for four cycles so far, having collected more than 1,200 urban governance innovation cases around the world. 

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the United Nations' central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2013, the high-level political forum has held a ministerial meeting every year, and a summit will be held every four years within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly. The theme of the 2021 forum is "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development."