In Brussels today, the Secretary for Urban Habitat and Territory, Agustí Serra, emphasised the important role regional governments play in pursuing global agendas, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, and the New Urban Agenda. Serra, together with the Secretary for Environment and Sustainability, Marta Subirà, is participating in the European Week of Regions and Cities, an event co-organised by the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission.
Serra participated today in a workshop on how to involve regions with the aim of developing a territorial perspective in the implementation of global agendas. The workshop was moderated by the Catalan government’s representative in Brussels, Meritxell Serret. The secretary lamented that state governments tend to be the “almost exclusive authors of the main international agreements” and said that “cities are often presented as an emerging force and harness, to a large extent, the global movement towards sustainability”.
“Regions are responsible for planning, managing and funding many public policy initiatives with a clear urban dimension, such as transport, spatial planning, infrastructure and health,” he said. Serra also pointed out that according to the OECD “65% of the Sustainable Development Goals can only be effectively implemented with the participation of regional governments”.
He decried that in practice, “the role of regions remains largely unrecognised, and they have a limited role in making final decisions”. He called on the workshop participants to generate “a shared narrative of regions that emphasises their essential role in implementing global agendas”.
Serra concluded by stressing the opportunity global agendas offer for sub-national governments to demand a greater role in decision-making. He also encouraged the regions represented at the event to develop a shared narrative within the framework of a renewed partnership within the European Union in order to highlight the importance of sub-national administrations in SDG localisation.
Moving ahead with the Urban Agenda for Catalonia
In October 2016, Catalonia endorsed the UN’s New Urban Agenda, a series of commitments intended to guide global urban development in the coming decades.
Since then, the Catalan government has been working to translate these guiding principles into concrete proposals and adapt them to the Catalan reality through the Urban Agenda for Catalonia.