Bolstering local action to control the pandemic and accelerate implementation
Thursday, 9 July 2020
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Virtually (held New York time)

Official meeting

Documentation

In the Political Declaration adopted at the 2019 SDG Summit, Member States reaffirmed the critical role of cities, local authorities and communities in implementing and realizing the SDGs and committed to empowering and supporting them in pursuing the 2030 Agenda. While SDG 11 on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable provides a clear set of targets and indicators for local and regional governments and communities to strive towards, their contributions will be critical throughout all the 17 SDGs.

If current trends continue, by 2050 cities will host approximately 70 per cent of the world’s population and produce 85 per cent of global economic output. While rapid urbanization poses a number of challenges, cities also offer the opportunity to achieve multiple SDGs at scale and with efficiency.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added unprecedented and unique challenges for cities, including pressure on their health care, education and safety systems, and disproportionally affected the most vulnerable groups of the society, including women and girls facing multiple discrimination. It also poses threats to rural areas that research and data has shown are often left behind in the development compared to cities.

The pandemic has highlighted the important role of local governments as the provider of services in closest proximity to people. The recovery phase from the pandemic will represent an opportunity for all levels of government, including local and regional governments, to build back more inclusive, equal, resilient and sustainable societies, as laid out in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • How can the SDG framework support response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen preparedness for future pandemics at the local level? How have urbanization challenges changed, and what are the implications of the pandemic for urban planning, resilience strategies, deployment of technologies for connectivity? How to secure financing for the recovery?
  • What are the innovative actions and partnerships that cities, local authorities and rural communities are undertaking in their SDG implementation? How can we ensure that local actions are truly transformative?
  • What actions can countries take to ensure that SDG implementation at the sub-national level is effectively reported and monitored in national efforts, including VNRs? How can sub-national and local reviews support SDG implementation and what mechanisms could ensure coherence among sub-national and national actions?
  • What type of capacity building and support is required to ensure that cities, local authorities and rural communities are empowered to implement the SDGs?
  • How can developing countries better manage the surge of urbanisation to make cities more productive, sustainable and equitable thus enabling attainment of SDGs?
  • What is the role of science, technology and innovation in the transformation to sustainable and equitable urban systems, which also incorporate and address informality and help overcome the digital divide?

Chair:

  • H.E. Ambassador Juan Sandoval, Mexico, Vice President of ECOSOC

 Moderator:

  • Mr. Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)

Resource persons:

  • Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat
  • Mr. Yūji Kuroiwa, Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of ECE
  • Mr. Santiago del Hierro, Architect and Researcher, Ecuador
  • Ms. Mabel Bianco, President, Fundacion para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, Argentina (Women's Major Group)     

Followed by interactive discussion

Respondents:

  • Ms. Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner for International Affairs, New York City, US
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea
DPR of Mexico Mission, Vice President of ECOSOC and Former Co-Chair of the STI Forum
H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea

DPR of Mexico Mission, Vice President of ECOSOC and Former Co-Chair of the STI Forum

Ambassador Juan Sandoval-Mendiolea has been Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations since February 2015. He was appointed co/chair of the Science Technology and Innovation Forum by the President of ECOIOC in December 2017. He was a co-chair with Japan for the 2018 STI Forum. Prior to this assignment, he served as Director General for United Nations Affairs. In this capacity, he was promoted to the rank of Ambassador of Mexico in October 2014.

Ambassador Sandoval served as Legal and Human Rights Counselor at the Mexican Embassy in France, and as Deputy and Interim Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) from 2001 until 2006, where he oversaw legal issues and hemispheric security, including drug enforcement, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption. In the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has also been Deputy Director General of the Directorate for Inter-American Regional Organisms and Mechanisms (2006-2007), and during this time he also served as Deputy National Organizer of Summits. He was Director of Cabinet of the Under-Secretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights from 2007 until 2013. He led the process for Mexico’s admission to the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group and the Nuclear Supplier's Group.

Mr. Gino Van Begin
Secretary General, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)
Mr. Gino Van Begin

Secretary General, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)


Gino Van Begin is the Secretary General of ICLEI, the leading global network of more than 1,750 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future. Gino has been working for ICLEI for more than 20 years. In his roles as Regional Director for Europe (since 2002), Deputy Secretary General (since 2007) and Secretary General (since 2013), he has consistently worked towards ensuring ICLEI’s quality as a not-for-profit, responsible and forward-looking local government organization serving its members worldwide.

Over his 20 years at ICLEI, Gino has witnessed cities becoming home to over half of the world population while simultaneously facing more and more challenges. At the same time, he had a privileged view over the capacity of cities to respond to these challenges despite their limited means. Without waiting for national states to take action, they have started looking for local solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, to increase their resilience, to become less dependent on fossil fuels and, overall, to increase their sustainability.

In his position as Secretary General of a global network of cities, towns and regions, Gino also ensures that ICLEI takes every opportunity to decisively influence global negotiation processes and increase local governments’ presence on the global stage, in order to promote the sustainability agenda at all levels.

Gino Van Begin was born in Belgium and graduated from the University of Brussels as a lawyer. Before joining ICLEI, Gino worked in Russia for seven years as an advisor and as Team Leader at the EU-funded Environmental Centers for Administration and Technology in Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. Prior to that, he worked in Brussels for five years at the European Commission, DG Environment.

Gino can be contacted via secretary.general@iclei.org.


Mr. Santiago del Hierro
Architect and Researcher, Ecuador
Mr. Santiago del Hierro

Architect and Researcher, Ecuador


Santiago del Hierro is an Ecuadorian architect and urban design researcher based in The Hague. Until 2017, prior to moving to The Netherlands, he taught at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE), where he developed and coordinated the Urban Design Masters program. At PUCE, he also headed the University’s post-disaster initiative to support the province of Esmeraldas after the 2016 earthquake that devastated Ecuador’s northern coast. In 2018, he co-led the urban design team in charge of Quito’s framework and roadmap for Transit-Oriented Development for the World Bank and the Municipality of Quito. He is currently researching on social green/blue infrastructure for the Addis Ababa Urban Age Task Force as a consultant for the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban 95 Program, and has recently joined the Sacred Headwaters Initiative team to focus on contemporary spatial planning in Indigenous Communities of Ecuador and Peru’s Amazon Basin.

Del Hierro holds a Master in Architecture from Yale University, where he attended as a Fulbright Scholar, and between 2009 and 2010 was a resident researcher at the Design Department of the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. He has been a guest professor at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, the Escuela Técnica Superior de Aquitectura de Valencia and TU Delft.


Mr. Yūji Kuroiwa
Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Mr. Yūji Kuroiwa

Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Biography of Yuji Kuroiwa , Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture

Date of birth: September 26, 1954
Place of birth: Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture

Education
March 1974 Graduated from Nada Senior High School
March 1980 Graduated from School of Political Science an d Economics, Waseda University

Professional career
April 1980 Entered Fuji Television Network, Inc
After working as a journalist and program director, Mr. Kuroiwa took the position of an anchorperson of “Evening News ” and Sunday Morning Talk Show ”. He stayed as the anchorperson for over 20 years. Mr. Kuroiwa made a great contribution to the establishment of Japanese paramedic system in ambulance , by intensive ly covering the necessity of the system in the news shows He was awarded various prizes , inc luding the Hoso Bunka (broadcasting culture) Foundation Prize. He was stationed in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., from 1997 to 1999 as a correspondent.

October 2009 Assumed the post of professor at International University of Health and Welfare Graduate School
April 2011 Inaugurat ed as Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture
2013 Assumed the post of Healthcare P olicy Advisor, Cabinet Secretariat (Mr. Kuroiwa is the only local chief executive appointed)
2014 Assumed the post of Robot Revolution Realization Council member Cabinet Secretariat (Mr. Kuroiwa is the only local chief executive appointed)
April 2015 Re elected as Governor for the second term
April 2019 Re elected as Governor for the third term

[Key policies and accomplishments]
・With an aim to create “Magnetic Kanagawa” that people wish to come and live, Governor Kuroiwa has been working t h rough his three terms to realize a prefecture where everyone can live a healthy, long and vibrant life.

・Governor Kuroiwa focuses on making t he Kanagawa model to overcome the issues caused by a super aged society, which the prefecture is facing. He is promoting his ME BYO concept that o ur state of health cannot be clea rly divided into healthy or poor conditions, but continuously chang es betwee n them. As a result, the word M E BYO was stated in the
Healthcare Policy formulated by the national government.

・Governor Kuroiwa is promoting his “Healthcare New Frontier” policy with great emphasis, which combines the ME BYO concept with state of the art medical treatments and the latest technologies. It aims to expand healthy longevity and latest technologies. It aims to expand healthy longevity and also also create new marketcreate new markets and s and industries industries taking advantage taking advantage of the of the National National Special ZonesSpecial Zones. . Governor Kuroiwa Governor Kuroiwa is also is also ppromoting his global strategyromoting his global strategy; h; he concluded MOU with WHO in the field of age concluded MOU with WHO in the field of ageeing and ing and healthhealth,, and is working together on and is working together on establishment establishment of MEof ME--BYO indexBYO index;; he also he also concludconcluded MOU ed MOU and and built partnership with built partnership with various various regional governments, universities, research institutes, regional governments, universities, research institutes, etc. in the U.S., Europe and Asia. etc. in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

・Kanagawa was selected as one of the ten most advanced local governmentsKanagawa was selected as one of the ten most advanced local governments in Japanin Japan in in promoting SDGs by the national government. Kanagawa is the only prefecture promoting SDGs by the national government. Kanagawa is the only prefecture selected selected from from among the 47 prefectures in among the 47 prefectures in the countrythe country. Governor Kuroiwa conveyed his idea . Governor Kuroiwa conveyed his idea all all over over Japan Japan that local governments should take leadership in promoting SDGs, and issued the that local governments should take leadership in promoting SDGs, and issued the Declaration on SDGs JAPAN MODEL Declaration on SDGs JAPAN MODEL gaining gaining support by over 140 local governmentssupport by over 140 local governments. He. He disseminatedisseminatedd Kanagawa’s policies for the SDGs and the Declaration to the world in Kanagawa’s policies for the SDGs and the Declaration to the world in the the SDGs HighSDGs High--llevel evel Political Political Forum to be held at the UN Headquarters. Forum to be held at the UN Headquarters.

・Following the serious power shortage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, GFollowing the serious power shortage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, Governor overnor Kuroiwa Kuroiwa took the lead in the governmenttook the lead in the governmentalal efforts to establish a new sustainable energy efforts to establish a new sustainable energy systemsystem, including , including photovoltaic power photovoltaic power generation, generation, and promotand promotee local production local production forfor consumption of energy, consumption of energy, and and energy selfenergy self--relianreliant housing, buildings and community.t housing, buildings and community.

・Governor Kuroiwa succeeded in attracting Governor Kuroiwa succeeded in attracting main games of Rugby World Cup 2019main games of Rugby World Cup 2019TMTM andand events of Tokyo events of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, such as sailing, baseball and soccer.2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, such as sailing, baseball and soccer.

・GovGovernor ernor Kuroiwa Kuroiwa achieved the target to attract 100 companies to Kanagawa through “Select achieved the target to attract 100 companies to Kanagawa through “Select Kanagawa 100” incentive program. Moving on to the Kanagawa 100” incentive program. Moving on to the newlynewly--setset goal of 200 companies, he is goal of 200 companies, he is vigorously promoting investment attraction.vigorously promoting investment attraction.

・GovernorGovernor Kuroiwa is promotKuroiwa is promoting creation of new core areas for tourism besides the ing creation of new core areas for tourism besides the international tourist spots of Yokohama, Kamakura, Hakone, etc. He carried out policies to international tourist spots of Yokohama, Kamakura, Hakone, etc. He carried out policies to polish up the attractive features of Oyama, Misaki/Jogashima and Oisopolish up the attractive features of Oyama, Misaki/Jogashima and Oiso as the new tourist as the new tourist destinations. As a destinations. As a consequence, Mt. Oyama was listed on the consequence, Mt. Oyama was listed on the Michelin Green GuideMichelin Green Guide with with two stars. Movements to enhance regional attraction are growing. two stars. Movements to enhance regional attraction are growing.

Ms. Mabel Bianco
President of Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer
Ms. Mabel Bianco

President of Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer

Mabel Bianco is a feminist medical doctor, MPH and specializing in Epidemiology. Founder and President of FEIM since 1989 an NGO working to improve women's rights in Argentina and the LAC region. She is co coordinator of the Women Won’t Wait –WWW- a global campaign to eliminate VAW and HIV and Coordinator of the International Women AIDS Caucus an International –IAWC. In 1983 she created the Women, Health and Development Program at the National Ministry of Health. She attended the Beijing Conference in 1995 and since then works for its implementation. She is member of many global, regional and national women’s right networks. Member of the UNAIDS Reference group on HIV and Human Rights from 2002-2011. In 2009-2012 she was GEAR Campaign Focal Point for LAC. Since 2012 she was elected member of the Civil Society Regional Advisory Committee to UN Women. In 2012, she founded and is Co-Chair of the CoNGO CSW LAC. Since 2013 is member of the Women Major Group. She is the author of 8 books and more than 150 published papers and articles.

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif
Executive Director of UN-HABITAT
Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif

Executive Director of UN-HABITAT

The General Assembly, on 22 December 2017, elected Maimunah Mohd Sharif of Malaysia as Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat).
Ms. Sharif is currently Mayor of the City Council of Penang Island, Malaysia. Prior to her appointment as Mayor, she was the first woman to serve as President of the Municipal Council of Seberang Perai in 2011. As mayor of a local authority, she leads the Municipal Council to achieve its vision of a “cleaner, greener, safer and healthier place to work, live, invest and play”. She is a champion of Gender‑Responsive Participatory Budgeting to integrate gender perspectives into the governance process, as a tool to mainstream gender into budgetary and development policy and planning.
Ms. Sharif began her career as a Town Planner at the Municipal Council of Penang Island in 1985. In 2003, she was promoted to Director of Planning and Development, a position she held until November 2009. As Director, she was responsible for the preparation of structure and local plans, and directly involved in development control of Penang City projects and landscape development. She also led a team for the planning and implementation of the Urban Renewal Projects in George Town. In November 2009, she was entrusted as the first General Manager to establish George Town World Heritage Incorporated and manage the George Town World Heritage Site, which was inscribed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 2008.
Photo: https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sga1778.doc.htm
Bio: http://www.environewsnigeria.com/malaysian-urban-planner-sharif-replaces-clos-un-habitat-boss/

Ms. Olga Algayerova
Executive Secretary of ECE
Ms. Olga Algayerova

Executive Secretary of ECE

On 13 April 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Ms Olga Algayerova of Slovakia as the next Executive Secretary of the UNECE. She took office on 1 June 2017.

Ms. Algayerova brings to the position a combination of leadership and diplomatic skills with deep knowledge of the region with its challenges and opportunities and a strong focus on building and nurturing partnerships among key stakeholders with the United Nations.

Prior to her appointment, she served as Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the International Organizations in Vienna, Austria (since 2012). She was previously President, Slovak Millennium Development Goals (2010-2012); State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010) and Corporate Export Manager, Zentiva International, a.s. (2004-2006).

Born in 1959, Ms. Algayerova holds a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy from Malta University, a Master in Business Administration from The Open University Business School, United Kingdom and a Dipl. in Engineer of Economy from the University of Economics Business Faculty, Bratislava.

On 12 July 2017, Ms. Olga Algayerova was sworn-in by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres.

Ms. Penny Abeywardena
Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
Ms. Penny Abeywardena

Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

Penny leads the City's global platform for promoting its goals for a more just society, showcasing the diversity of New Yorkers and sharing policies and best practices with the world. Her agency serves the largest diplomatic corps in the world, including strategic partnerships and programming reaffirming NYC’s local leadership on global issues.

From 2009-2014, Penny was the Director of Girls and Women Integration at the Clinton Global Initiative, where she led the program's evolution into one of CGI's most successful efforts.

Penny is a French-American Foundation Young Leader (2017) and a WEF Young Global Leader (2016).

Ms. Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr
Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Ms. Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was sworn in as Mayor of Freetown in May 2018 with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. Launched in January 2019, the 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from waste management and housing, to improving urban planning, tackling environmental degradation and facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.

A finance professional with over 25 years of private sector experience in strategic planning, risk management consulting and project management, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s public sector engagement began with her work as the Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2015 and her subsequent role as Delivery Team Lead for the President's Recovery Priorities - the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive socio-economic recovery in Sierra Leone post Ebola. Her advocacy and charity contributions include campaigning against the trade in “blood diamonds” during the Sierra Leone civil war and in 1999, co-founding the Sierra Leone War Trust for Children (SLWT) which continues to support disadvantaged children in Sierra Leone today.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. She is married and has two children.


Statements
Statements
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
Yuji Kuroiwa - Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
United Nations