PUBLIC SECTOR - LOCAL AUTHORITIES
This section is dedicated to the cities, provinces and regions of the world that are using the 2030 Agenda to define local strategies and policies.
1. Veneto Region (Italy)
Re-imagining agriculture in a sustainable way: vertical farming
A good practice emerging from the Veneto Region concerns a spontaneous initiative of the territory aimed at re-imagining agriculture in a sustainable way. Considering the progressive loss of arable land on a global level ( -33% in the last 40 years) due to urbanization, climate change that also causes water scarcity, on which the agricultural sector depends, and the heavy use of pesticides, the technique of vertical farming (VF) could be revolutionary in providing answers to major environmental emergencies. It is a fast growing circular economy system, which has already reached $2.5 trillion of investments internationally and looks set to grow. In VF, the entire cultivation process takes place indoors, without the use of land and water, and on several levels to optimize space. The advantages over traditional agriculture are numerous: the final product is better because no pesticides are used and fertilizers are significantly reduced. The environmental impact is minimal, as is the use of water, and the plants are grown in a clean and controlled environment without soil contamination, fed with a combination of micro and macro nutrients they would normally find in nature. Additionally, with a short supply chain the product can be consumed freshly harvested, and traceability is complete.
IVF reduces soil consumption, does not release pollutants into the environment and allows predictability and production efficiency by eliminating waste. Despite its many advantages, today VF is not very widespread because it is very expensive to build and difficult to manage. The challenge is to make it sustainable for large-scale applications and this is becoming established in Veneto after years of research and development with advanced skills in economics, engineering and digital. The Veneto Region is the ideal place for the development of a sector of this type because there are skills, spaces and green energy in the territory (44% of the energy produced in Veneto comes from renewable sources). In fact, groups of companies in Veneto have already implemented a sustainable VF construction system adopting a modular logic and managed in real time by artificial intelligence, taking up and winning the challenge.
VF can actually affect a territory by creating direct added value and for the spin-off activities, because it was born on the impulse of the productive world of Veneto but it can become a policy that the Veneto Region can insert within in its Regional Strategy for Sustainable Development. This good practice impacts on the economic dimension of sustainability and generates benefits for the purposes of the Development Goals of Agenda 2030. In particular, VF would impact on 6 SDGs: Goal 2 (healthy nutrition), Goal 6 (water saving), Goal 8 (quality work), Goal 9 (industrial innovation), Goal 11 (urban regeneration) and Goal 12 (circular economy).
2. Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy)
The SDGs and the Territory: three regional policies
The three main good practices selected concern strategic choices that the Regional Administration wanted to make at the beginning of its mandate in 2014. These are institutional actions that have an impact on the environmental dimension of sustainability and affect SDG 12.
The Circular Economy Act (Regional Law no. 16/2015 Provisions to support the circular economy, the reduction of urban waste production, the reuse of end-of-life goods, separate collection and amendments to Regional Law no. 31 of 19 August 1996) was passed prior to the adoption of the European package, and works along several lines: good management of the integrated waste cycle, with the aim of directing it towards maximizing recycling and reuse (the target is to achieve 73% separate collection by 2020. By 2018 it was 68% and the 2019 data that will be available soon show an increase of over 70%), encouraging municipalities to achieve the objectives by means of regional resources amounting to about 5 million per year; the obligation for precise charging by 2020, which will be the most powerful measure to prevent waste production; the creation of a participatory path; the establishment of a permanent forum for the circular economy and a forum for sustainable development; the stipulation of supply chain agreements with the business system, and the organization of information and education activities on sustainability.
The Emilia-Romagna Region has also introduced a new urban planning law that provides for zero land consumptio (Regional Law n. 24/2017 Regional regulations on the protection and use of the territory) , a significant strategy that must also be regulated at national level, as today there is no European law on the prohibition of land consumption and no national law. A green planning season for regional competencies has therefore been launched, which is not yet reported in the ISTAT indicators but which aims to implement all 17 goals of Agenda 2030.
Finally, a number of actions concerning sustainable mobility have been implemented. First of all, the Emilia-Romagna Region has made public transport free of charge for all railway subscribers in the town of departure and arrival, to encourage the maximum use of integrated mobility. Secondly, 2000 electric charging stations will be located throughout the regional territory by 2020. Cycling mobility will be encouraged (+20%) and the local public transport fleet is being replaced. Integrated rail freight transport is also being increased.
In addition to the three regional policies, a Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, a multidisciplinary and integrated approach consisting of 250 actions has been developed by the Emilia-Romagna Region in order to initiate a process of awareness and a strengthening of regional policies for mitigation and adaptation. (https://ambiente.regione.emilia-romagna.it/it/cambiamenti-climatici/temi/la-regione-per-il-clima/strategia-regionale-per-i-cambiamenti-climatici/la-regione-per-il-clima-la-strategia-di-mitigazione-e-adattamento-per-i-cambiamenti-climatici)
3. Municipality of Capaci (Palermo, Italy)
SDGs become the government mandate
Capaci is becoming a "Cardio-protected City" through several related initiatives: the creation of a network of five defibrillators throughout the municipal area and the organization of training for operators. In addition, a total smoking ban has been introduced along the entire coast of the Municipality of Capaci to the benefit of adults and children who frequent the beaches. These actions impact on Objective 3 of Agenda 2030 and have met with the support of citizens.
The signing of the European Charter for equality between men and women in local life is the second good practice tested in the Municipality of Capaci, and one of the first acts of the current municipal council. .
Gender equality has also been achieved in the Municipal Council, where the action plan to eliminate gender inequalities to achieve a gender balance will be discussed shortly. The Municipality has also set up a Women's Consultation, whose opinion is necessary (though not binding) for any municipal resolution involving expenditure by the Municipality.
The third good practice concerns the conversion to LED street lighting throughout the municipality. This is consistent with Objective 7 of Agenda 2030.
Capaci has become a plastic free municipality. Plastic and disposable tableware has been banned in all commercial establishments in the town. This affects SDG 15.
Finally, two important resolutions have been adopted: one concerning the protection of the Mediterranean maquis and the other protecting the natural habitat of Sicilian bees. Both have an impact on Objective 15 of Agenda 2030 (life on earth).
4. Municipality of Verona, (Italy)
Active citizenship involvement
In 2016 the Municipality of Verona launched a public call, inviting citizens to identify the meaning of subsidiarity and to propose to the administration issues on which collaboration between citizens and administration could be effective. The result is a Regulation for the implementation of horizontal subsidiarity through active citizenship actions, through which 25 cooperation pacts on tangible and intangible assets have been signed. Among the most significant experiences there are two initiatives carried out by young people aged between 14 and 19 years: the first one concerned a mapping of the city green areas made available to the entire citizenship through an application created by the University,
while the second one involved young people in small maintenance interventions of unused public spaces. In both cases young people had the opportunity to make themselves available to the community and experience an important teaching of citizenship. The regulation was born out of an experience of active participation, thanks to the strong associative fabric of the territory that responded in a very positive way to the public call. The methodology used has been very rigorous. Each pact has been published and contains the objectives, the duration and the resources allocated, and provides for a point reporting that allows an evaluation of the impact generated on the territory. The introduction of the regulation has an impact on SDG 16, while interventions to promote the landscape context and the enhancement of public spaces through urban regeneration interventions have an impact on SDG 11.
5. Municipality of Nguemelendouka, (Cameroon)
SDGs awareness raising and training activities
The Municipality has started to collaborate with civil society associations and the United Nations system to develop training and awareness raising activities for the municipality's staff with regard to the SDGs, and has set up principals concerning the development objectives for high school students. The mayor has participated in several initiatives organized in Cameroon and concerning Agenda 2030 and a workshop was organized to review the results of the policies implemented.
As a specific action against malnutrition, the Municipality of Nguemelendouka has invested CHF 2 million (EUR 10,000.00) in awareness-raising activities and breastfeeding training for women.
Additionally, gardens have been installed in schools to promote proper nutrition while respecting the environment (and avoiding deforestation).
As regards reforestation, municipal quotas have been set up to tackle the climate crisis and deforestation. Nguemelendouka is also the first municipality in Cameroon to have installed street lighting and domestic electrification based on sustainable energy, and the first to trade in solar energy.
Water supplies have been restored to improve water quality within the municipality and lately the mayor has been working on the urban planning of the city in collaboration with UN-HABITAT following the criteria of the new urban planning agenda to try to make Nguemelendouka the most resilient town in Cameroon.
6. Comune di Cascais, (Lisbon District, Portugal)
The participatory budget and the municipal plan for adaptation to climate change
Cascais has devised several tools, including digital, to encourage citizens' participation: first of all, the participatory budget, introduced more than ten years ago, is the largest in Europe to date for capital. The Municipality of Cascais invests more than 16% of its budget in this activity and follows every phase of the citizens' involvement process. Meetings and consultations, the collection of proposals and finally the voting of the best projects, which are then carried out together with the Council.
The second good practice concerns the bottom-up approach, used to draw up the municipal climate change adaptation plan. 45 people, from council staff members to external stakeholders, were involved and an operational action plan was drawn up. Every three months stakeholders meet, and the Mayor of Cascais also participates in the meetings. To date, 50% of the existing measures have already been implemented.
These two worthy examples of the creation of participatory public policies and the involvement of citizens were not easy to implement but allowed a change in the mind-set of people, and way of working, fostered a sense of belonging and set common goals. For Cascais, Agenda 2030 is becoming a catalyst for change and a societal glue.
Although the proximity approach to citizenship predates the introduction of the Agenda, from 2015 onwards, it is easier to connect the different stakeholders in the territory (the City Council, citizens, local government and public officials).
The involvement of civil society as a whole is total: starting from the training activities on SDGs for civil servants, to the administration of questionnaires and the organization of focus groups that in a second phase of implementation of the Agenda will be organized to involve citizens. A task force composed of people from the Council, the university and other sectors external to politics and administration will also be set up.
7. Municipality of Nicosia, (Cyprus)
Action plan for specific SDGs
The Municipality of Nicosia adopted the sustainable development objectives of Agenda 2030 in December 2018 and is implementing an action plan focused on 3 specific SDGs considered as priorities because they are able to give concrete answers to the needs of citizens and territory: Goal 1 Poverty, Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities. These objectives have been linked to the programmes already in place, to promote a collective and shared effort and make citizens aware of the opportunities offered by Agenda 2030. To meet this prerequisite, a number of existing projects have been identified and categorized according to the reference SDGs.
With regard to Objective 1 (poverty), programmes already underway at the multifunctional centre in Nicosia have been identified. The programme includes the provision of care for the elderly and low-income people, nursery schools for the children of migrants seeking work, empowerment activities and the development of social skills for third country nationals in order to promote integration and facilitate their entry into the labour market This is the Mingle project, financed by the AMIF programme, with the aim of preventing poverty and social isolation by facilitating active citizenship. The Multipurpose Centre also offers support to ensure the same labour market inclusion of men, women and vulnerable groups, such as migrants and disadvantaged families.
SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), is interpreted by the Municipality of Nicosia through the project RISE - Research Centre on Interactive Media Smart System and Emerging Technologies. The project is entirely managed by the municipality in collaboration with the three state universities of Cyprus, the UCL College of London Computer Science University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPI).
The project started in November 2017, has a budget of 55 million and is funded by the European Commission and the Republic of Cyprus. The RISE Centre has 16 research teams with a total of 60 people employed - both researchers and administrative staff - and there is cooperation with both Cypriot and international companies that have already been developed.
The main objective of the project, which works in synergy with Objective 8, is to create a self-financed sustainable Centre of Excellence on research and innovation aimed at enhancing emerging technologies and new areas of research. A secondary objective is to create a sustainable number of job offers in the historic center of the city of Nicosia and thus stimulate entrepreneurship and economic growth. The project is currently in the initial phase and already with positive implications.
8. Autonomous Community of Catalonia (Spain)
The new development cooperation plan
The localization of SDGs presents a key challenge, to ensure that the implementation of Agenda 2030 is able to generate real policy change and obtain the political support needed to implement them. This is a more complex exercise than the one that characterized the Millennium Development Goals and, considering the difficulties in gathering a broad consensus, in Catalonia an attempt was made to focus the commitment on a single intervention: the introduction of a new development cooperation plan.
In order for the SDGs to be effective, it is essential to consider them as opportunities rather than obligations, and to involve stakeholders who, in turn, share their interest.
In this specific case, the two main stakeholders involved were: a company working on new technologies and which can make a very important contribution to the location of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the University of Knowledge,
which considers the SDGs as an opportunity to present its role in society not only as a centre for secondary or higher education, but also as a reference point for the creation of opportunities between people, companies and the world of research.
NGOs, which have always been interlocutors of the regional government with regard to development policies, have been reluctant to dialogue with other stakeholders and were jealous of the relationship that was being established with other stakeholders of the territorial system.
In Catalonia, internal dialogue (with the main stakeholders of the territory) is a priority over intergovernmental and multilevel dialogue with the central government, also because policy coherence for development is a fundamental element for the implementation of SDGs. Trade policy interventions or immigration policy should be consistent with development policy. However, in this new globalized world, domestic policy also has an impact on sustainable development at home and abroad. Having gained expertise in development policy, which is also recognized by the Spanish Government, Catalonia has started a new mode of dialogue with the rest of the central government.
9. Municiplaity of Barcarena (Belém, Brasil)
Capacity building and governance at local level
In Barcarena, the integration of Agenda 2030 into local planning has involved the mayor Antonio Carlos Vilaça personally, but it is the public administration as a whole that has sensed the innovative scope of the SDGs. The activities of involving the population concerned several interventions: the undertaking of public hearings, during which citizens were able to indicate the territorial priorities to be addressed and that the public administration has tried to satisfy through the elaboration of dedicated public policies, the translation into Portuguese of the United Nations documents, to promote the dissemination of the principles of Agenda 2030, and the development of school curricula based on the Sustainable Development Objectives along with many other interventions.
The city has been fully involved in this process because, as the mayor has repeatedly stated, "everything must be aligned with the SDGs" in order to reduce the strong social and environmental impacts arising from the port, mining and industrial activities that impact on the territory of Barcarena.
Last but not least, it is appropriate to point out that significant attention has been paid to the issue of transparency and open government. The population can access the budget of the Municipality and monitor the way public resources are spent.
The local government of Barcarena is making a great effort to position itself with determination towards a new model of development, sustainable and inclusive, without receiving concrete support from the Brazilian government. (https://barcarena.pa.gov.br/agenda2030/index.html).
10. Municipality of Bruges (Flanders, Belgium)
The strategy put in place is based on three pillars:
1. Global citizenship and awareness raising on international issues (e.g. climate change and poverty);
2. Global partnerships, collaboration with other partners on global issues, in Bruges and abroad;
3. Local policies consistent with major international issues.
Regarding the first pillar - global citizenship - the priority was to explain to people what SDGs were in a simple and interesting way to citizens.
In order to stimulate the interest of citizens towards SDGs, the City of Bruges has undertaken three concrete initiatives: testimonials from the world of football have been involved, the "GPS city game" has been created that allows residents and tourists to visit the city and at the same time answer some questions about Bruges and sustainability, and, finally, civil society stakeholders have been invited to share their experiences with SDGs.Finally, the Association of Flemish Municipalities organized a meeting of the sustainable municipalities, which in turn selected the mayors as "heroes of sustainability", local faces symbolizing the municipalities' commitment to Agenda 2030.
With regard to Pillar 3, global partnerships, the City of Bruges is experimenting with partnerships with other cities in Cameroon. A lot of chocolate is produced in Belgium, made with cocoa that also comes from Cameroon, so the intention of this partnership is to work on a more sustainable cocoa supply chain.