The Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, called for governments closer to citizens to "participate and contribute directly to the UN to jointly accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals", during her intervention at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York. Serret believes that it is vital to "strengthen multilateral governance" through forums such today’s, "bringing it closer to citizens," in order to ensure that "no one is left behind anywhere." She said so in a speech delivered at the Forum of Local and Regional Governments, where the critical role of territories in implementing the 2030 Agenda was reviewed.
During her speech, Meritxell Serret shared Catalan Government’s best practices in the field of sustainable development, citing current collaborations of the executive with United Nations agencies such as the UN Urban Resilience Program in Terres de l'Ebre, which the Government develops together with UN-Habitat, or the Giga project to connect schools around the world to the Internet, which the Catalan executive supports in an alliance with UNICEF. Just this week, the Minister shared the project updates with them.
According to the head of Foreign Action and the European Union, these two examples demonstrate that territories like Catalonia "are natural leaders committed to the transformations included in the 2030 Agenda" and defended that these actors "are always at the forefront legislating and innovating with new strategies" to adapt to global challenges like the climate crisis. "We have demonstrated that we are key players in the multilateral scene," she emphasized. Meritxell Serret advocated for "real and effective multilateral governance, not just words" to address global concerns in this regard. "We need coordinated responses and regional strategies, and in the face of climate change, the Mediterranean is an example," she said.
The Local and Regional Government Forum is an official side event at this week's High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York. UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) is co-organizing the event alongside the Global TaskForce of Local and Regional Governments, UN-DESA, UN Habitat, UNDP, and the Local 2030 Coalition. It is a place for representation, lobbying, and promotion of regional authorities within the framework of the HLPF that is held every year.
The Catalan Government's projects shared at the UN by Serret
The Catalan region Terres de l'Ebre was chosen for the pilot program that UN-Habitat is supporting in order to expand the scope of its Global Urban Resilience Program outside cities. This UN initiative assists cities, and now territories, in becoming more resilient to territorial, economic, and social issues. The project is part of an agreement signed between the Government, through the Departments of Territory and External Action and the European Union, and UN-Habitat.
On the other hand, Serret recalled the Government's support for the Giga project, the insignia initiative of UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to connect all schools worldwide to Internet by 2030. Catalonia will host the project's headquarters before the end of the year and will contribute 6.5 million euros (7,2 million dollars) between 2023 and 2024.
*Watch Minister Serret's intervention at the UN (02:53:00).