The European Committee of the Regions (CoR), through its Commission for Economic Policy, releases a study entitled “A territorial approach for the implementation of the SDGs in the EU – The role of the European Committee of the Regions.” It reports on the Sustainable Development Goals in the European Union, including the role of local and regional governments (LRG) in their achievement. The study feeds the discussion on the potential role of CoR in the implementation of the SDGs in these territories. The nrg4SD 2018 report “Localizing the SDGs: regional governments paving the way” was used as a source of information, the nrg4SD Secretariat was interviewed and contributed to CoR analysis and reflections, and nrg4SD members -Basque Country and Lombardy- were highlighted as case studies. 

The study recalls that local and regional governments (LRGs) have a major role in delivering the 2030 Agenda since 65% of the 169 targets cannot be achieved without them. This responsibility makes them key players in national and European sustainable development policies while there are different strategies, arrangements and opportunities for stakeholder involvement to be addressed.

Several case studies highlight the obstacles faced by LRGs, including political commitments and awareness, multi-level governance, administrative capacity and financial resources. Particular attention must be paid to lack of continuity of public policies, misunderstandings or under/overestimations of issues, risk of overlapping policy interventions, and monitoring indicators.

The report makes strategic recommendations to the EU and LRGs. These include better EU institutional commitment, the definition of priorities, and internal and external integration of work. Finally, it proposes solutions to strengthen the role of the European Committee of the Regions in the implementation of the SDGs, such as increased exchanges with “first movers”, promotion of training, and development of a comparable format of SDG implementation.