This ongoing practice aims to strengthen the implementation of the 17 SDGs by local governments. It was initiated through a collaboration between the UNDP Mexico Office and the Office of the President of Mexico, which, in 2017, set out to promote the localization of the 2030 Agenda by state and municipal governments. Over the course of 2018, the scope of the practice expanded by, for example, including capacity building of local governments in the field of integrating the sustainable development approach into their strategic planning frameworks and instruments.
The objective of the practice is to increase the institutional and technical capacity of state and municipal governments in Mexico to incorporate the sustainable development approach and principles into legal, organizational and planning instruments, through inclusive and participatory processes.
The challenges this practice seeks to address and overcome are the following:
- A tendency by local governments to merely include references to the 2030 Agenda into strategic plans that do not translate into substantial changes in the way policies are designed, implemented or evaluated.
- A tendency of local governments to adopt short- and medium-term goals that reflect the reduced periods of local administrations and do not allow for long term planning.
- Limited knowledge at the state and municipal level about the 2030 Agenda, its principles, its relevance for local governments, and how governments officials can support the implementation of the 17 SDGs.
- A general lack of adequate monitoring and evaluation systems at the subnational level, combined with the absence of quality indicators to measure progress regarding the achievement of the goals set out in state and municipal strategic plans and programs and effectiveness public resources allocations.
- Limited possibilities for civil society organizations, the private sector and academia to take part in local government decision-making processes.
Based on these challenges, the UNDP designed an integral intervention strategy that includes the following components.
1. Support for the creation and operationalization of so-called “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” in each state. These commissions are responsible for making diagnoses and coordinating actions for the follow-up and evaluation of policies for compliance with the 2030 Agenda at the local level. They are mandated to serve as a link between the governments and representatives from civil society organizations, academia and the private sector.
2. Provide state governments with the knowledge and ad hoc tools necessary to integrate the 2030 Agenda/sustainable development approach and principles – such as “leave no one behind” – into the (local) governments´ multiannual development plans and programs.
3. Support state governments in incorporating the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into their planning and citizen participation laws so that the design of public policies and their budgets is conducted in a participatory manner and fosters sustainable development at the local level.
4. Support the capacity development of state and municipal staff by offering an integrated and personalized training on results-based planning for sustainable development allowing them to generate strategies that foster local social, economic and environmental development.
5. Support state governments in the creation and strengthening of their monitoring and evaluation systems in such a way that these can be aligned with the 2030 Agenda and provide government officials with the necessary information about their progress in reaching their own developments goals, as well as the targets of the 17 SDGs.
Main beneficiaries: state and municipal governments. Several tools and services developed have benefitted all state governments (support for the creation and operationalization of the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”). Others have been developed as part of collaborations with specific local governments. These collaborations are financed directly by the local governments. Examples of key partners: (a) Office of the Presidency: Creation and operationalization of “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”; (b) GIZ: organization of seminars for local government staff on how to strengthen local planning and monitoring practices by adopting a sustainable development approach.
The practice started with the UNDP´s collaboration with the Mexican Office of the Presidency which sought to develop an institutional architecture at the federal and subnational level to implement the 17 SDGs.
2017 and 2018:
Together with the Office of the Presidency, the UNDP supported the creation and operationalization of the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” at the subnational level.
- The UNDP supported the newly elected State of Mexico government in the process of developing its 2017-2023 development plan and incorporating the 2030 Agenda approach and principles. Subsequently, the UNDP also supported the integration of this approach into the sectoral, regional and special programs that are derived from the 2017-2023 development plan.
- Based on the results of the collaboration with the State of Mexico government, the UNDP developed a guide on how to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into government development plans and programs. This guide has been shared with all state governments and is available on the UNDP´s website.
- Over the course of 2018, the UNDP analyzed the process of operationalization of the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”. Based on the information gathered, a report that details Mexico´s strategy to localize the 2030 Agenda at the subnational level was developed. It also provides a thorough analysis of the design and operationalization of the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” and issues a series of recommendations on how to strengthen the implementation of the 17 SDGs by states and municipalities. This report has been shared with all state governments and is available on the UNDP´s website.
Late 2018-early 2019
- The UNDP developed a blended course that offers state and municipal governments the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the field of results-based planning for sustainable development. This 50-hour course was developed to coincide with the period in which nine newly elected state governments and over 1600 newly elected municipal governments took office and had to develop their multiannual development plans.
- Together with the German international development agency GIZ, the UNDP co-organized two seminars for state governments officials. The aim of these seminars was to: improve their knowledge of the 2030 Agenda and its relevance for state governments; and strengthen their skills in terms of integrating the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into their planning laws and multiannual development plans and programs.
- The UNDP developed collaborations with the state governments of Yucatán and Campeche to:
o Incorporate the 2030 approach and principles into their development plans;
o Review Yucatán´s planning law and issue recommendations on how to incorporate the 2030 approach and principles;
o Provide training to selected state and municipal staff on results-based planning and management with a sustainable development focus;
o Review Campeche´s monitoring and evaluation systems and issue recommendations on how to align these to the 2030 Agenda.
- “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” have been created in each state. In addition, over 400 municipalities have taken steps to create their own follow-up and implementation commissions. Even though many state commissions are organizing periodic meetings to discuss sustainable development in their territory, several others have not taken any action to move beyond the institutionalization stage.
- Based on specific recommendations issued by the UNDP, several states, such as Colima and Yucatán have already strengthened the way non-governmental actors can participate in the state commissions. Others are in the process of doing so (e.g. State of Mexico).
- The State of Mexico has become Mexico´s first local government to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach into its multiannual plan and related programs (going far beyond the more superficial alignment to the SDGs of other state development plans).
- Several states (e.g. Yucatán, Nuevo León, Michoacán and San Luis Potosí) are in the process of reviewing their planning laws and integrating mandatory references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Several other state governments have indicated they that will incorporate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into their new development plans (e.g. Veracruz, Yucatán and Chiapas) or as part of the revision of their current plans (e.g. Nuevo León and Campeche).
- A network of state government officials has been created in which experiences, tools and best practices in the field of localizing the SDGs are shared.
- The UNDP developed a blended course on results-based planning and management for sustainable development. Already several hundred state and municipal employees (both technical staff and decision makers) have received this training. As part of this, government staff of over one hundred municipalities are developing specific initiatives on how to foster sustainable development in their localities.
- The UNDP developed a guide on how to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into government development plans and programs. As stated above, this guide has been shared with all state governments and is available on the UNDP´s website.
- The UNDP developed a report that details Mexico´s strategy to localize the 2030 Agenda at the subnational level. As stated above, this report has been shared with all state governments and is available on the UNDP´s website.
- The strategic collaboration with the Office of the Presidency of Mexico allowed the UNDP to support the creation of the local “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”. It also allowed the UNDP to establish high-level contact with each state government.
- The former Mexican federal administration (2012-2018), actively supported the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and focused, in particular, on the creation of an institutional national and subnational architecture to materialize the SDGs. The public support of Mexico´s former president (2012-2018) for the SDGs motivated many state and municipal governments to pay attention to the Agenda and explore how they could implement it.
- Key officials of the State of Mexico have been very vocal about the positive results of its collaboration with UNDP regarding its development plan (2017-2023). This has increasingly generated an interest from other state governments to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into their strategic plans and programs. In addition, the collaboration with the State of Mexico allowed the UNDP to develop its guide on how to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into government development plans and programs.
- The collaboration with GIZ – which financed the seminars mentioned earlier – allowed the UNDP to: (1) position the products and tools it developed about SDG implementation with local governments officials; (2) support the exchange of best practices, lessons learned and tools between local governments.
- Between late 2018 and early 2019, new administrations in nine state governments and over 1600 municipal governments took office and embarked upon a process of developing their strategic plans. This presented the UNDP with a unique opportunity to support these governments in their efforts to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into their strategic plans and programs and strengthen the design of their “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”.
Important constraints include:
- Early July 2018, Mexico held presidential, state and municipal elections. The election process diverted much attention away from sustainable development. This had important negative implications for the process of operationalizing the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions”.
- In addition, the change in government administration at the federal, state and municipal level in late 2018, resulted in much staff rotation. This meant that many of the newly elected government representatives and newly appointed technical staff had a limited understanding of the 2030 Agenda and its relevance to local planning processes. This increased the relevance of the integral blended training the UNDP developed.
- Several government institutions and (international) development organizations have been engaging with local governments to support the localization of the SDGs, each adopting a slightly different focus and approach. This required the UNDP to actively engage and coordinate with all relevant actors (e.g. Office of the Presidency, GIZ, INAFED, the National Governors Conference) in order to make sure that offered tools and methodologies present a unique quality criterion. At the same time, we have been identifying potential areas for collaboration and avoiding overlap.
Sustainability is core to this practice. By providing local governments with the tools and knowledge to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and its principles into their planning laws and strategic multiannual plans, this initiative contributes to local sustainable development in the medium and long term. The same applies to the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” that are designed to operate until 2030.
The UNDP´s plans to continue and scale up the initiative include the following actions:
- Continue to disseminate its planning guide, its report on the localization of the 2030 Agenda and its blended training course to allow government officials to take stock of its analyses, tools and recommendations and incorporate them into their planning processes. This enables these actors to access strategic tools to improve their public policy on their own.
- Engage directly with more state and municipal governments to support them in integrating the 2030 Agenda approach into their development plans and laws, for example through the different associations of Mexican municipalities and the National Governors Conference.
- Continue to organize seminars for state government representatives.
- Support the exchange between state governments in the field of localizing the SDGs, for example through the creation of an online platform that includes a library with tools, reports, best practice studies and other documents about the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the local level.
This practice represents a concerted effort by the UNDP to strengthen the implementation of the SDGs at the subnational level. By coupling support for the creating and operationalizing the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” with a strategy to, on the one hand, strengthen the knowledge and skills of governments officials in terms of results-based planning for sustainable development, and, on the other, including the 2030 Agenda approach and principles into local planning laws and development strategies, this practice will help deliver development results in the short, medium and long term.
The different components of this practice, as presented earlier, are complementary and interconnected. For example, revised strategic plans incorporate a more solid approach of integral development by integrating social, environmental and economic considerations into their sectorial strategies. Additionally, as part of their efforts to update their local planning laws, several state governments are assigning their “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” specific tasks related to the development and revision of their development plans. On the same token, as part of the UNDP´s support to integrating the 2030 approach and principles into development plans and programs, local governments are stimulated to strengthen citizen participation in all stages of the planning cycle. At the same time, the “2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions” offer non-governmental actors a voice in the discussion the local government´s efforts to foster sustainable development.
Another important feature of this practice is the way it seeks to share with all local governments the lessons learned and tools development as part of collaborations with specific states. A clear example of this is the development of the planning guide that was based on the collaboration with the State of Mexico and was made available to all state and municipal governments.
Finally, this practice underscores the importance of establishing partnerships with government and non-governmental actors. Without the strategic collaboration with, for example, the Office of the Presidency, the UNDP would not have been able engage as effectively with state and municipal governments.
Documents / guides / reports:
- UNDP´s guide on how to integrate the 2030 Agenda approach and principals into governments development plans and programs (http://www.mx.undp.org/content/mexico/es/home/library/democratic_governance.html)
- UNDP´s report on the localization of the 2030 Agenda in Mexico / the design and operationalization of the 2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions (http://www.mx.undp.org/content/mexico/es/home/library/democratic_governance.html)
- Development Plan of the State of Mexico (2017-2024) that was developed with the support of the UNDP (http://edomex.gob.mx/sites/edomex.gob.mx/files/files/PDEM%202017-2023%20PE.pdf)
- UNDP´s online capacity building platform that includes its blended course (https://agenda2030pnud.mx/)
- Seminar organized with GIZ early 2019 (http://www.yucatan.gob.mx/saladeprensa/ver_nota.php?id=542)
- UNDP´s collaborations with:
o State of Mexico (https://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/nacional/edomex-presenta-avances-de-la-agenda-2030) / article on UNDP´s website (http://www.mx.undp.org/content/mexico/es/home/presscenter/speeches/2018/03/15/estado-de-m-xico-incorpora-enfoque-sostenible-en-su-plan-estatal-de-desarrollo.html)
o Yucatán (http://yucatanahora.mx/yucatan-protagonista-en-el-desarrollo-sostenible-global/)
o Campeche (https://www.novedadescampeche.com.mx/estado/campeche/fortalecen-capacidades-institucionales/)
- Creation of 2030 Agenda follow-up and implementation commissions (a few examples)
o Tlaxcala (http://www.mx.undp.org/content/mexico/es/home/presscenter/articles/2018/04/03/tlaxcala-enfrenta-el-desaf-o-de-un-nuevo-modelo-de-desarrollo-sostenible.html)
o Hidalgo (http://www.mx.undp.org/content/mexico/es/home/presscenter/articles/2017/07/11/m-xico-se-compromete-con-la-agenda-2030-y-los-ods.html)
o Durango (https://www.elsiglodetorreon.com.mx/noticia/1457121.instalan-comite-del-estado-durango-para-agenda-2030.html)