New York, July 11th 2023

In the framework of the UN High-Level Political Forum in New York, the Government of Flanders and Regions4 organized a side event on SDG localization. Under the title “Innovative approaches to the implementation of SDGs at subnational level”, the event combined a high-level segment on policy and governance innovations and a technical segment, in which experts from the Regions4 network presented tangible projects that are contributing to the achievement of the SDG locally. It took place in the Flanders House in New York on July 11th, just before the LRG Forum (July 12th) and the LRG Day (July 13th) organized by the Global Taskforce for Local and Regional Governments.

Mr. Yves Wantens, General Representative of Flanders to the USA

The event was opened by the valuable keynote speech of Felix Dodds, one of the founders of Regions4 and a world-class expert in SDG governance and localization. Mr. Dodds went briefly through the history of sustainable development commitments by the UN and then reflected on why the subnational level is crucial for the implementation of Agenda 2030 and what actions are the most effective for subnational governments to take in that direction.

Mr. Felix Dodds, Sustainable Development and Governance Expert 

The Governments involved in the following segments, besides the host government of Flanders (Belgium), included the Basque Country (Spain), Catalonia (Spain), Congope (Conference of the Provincial Governments of Ecuador) represented by the government of Manabí, Cordoba (Argentina), Lombardy (Italy), Quebec (Canada), and Yucatan (Mexico). The speakers brought evidence of how their governments are not only exerting their assigned competencies over SDG-related issues to achieve the goals: they are also taking leadership to guide local, interregional and international initiatives. On top of that, they are using networks like Regions4 to learn from each other and accelerate the creation of the skills and capacity required by the UN Agenda.

A deeper focus on selected projects came from the experts, who explained how their organizations – governments or publicly owned companies – are helping protect water resources also in relation to energy production and finance; they are increasing the share of renewable energy, and deploying the most advanced technology to monitor infrastructures, reduce risks, limit environmental impacts and support policymaking. By showcasing these initiatives, the speakers showed how the previous political declarations are based on concrete grounds and helped build the case for a stronger involvement of subnational governments in global governance for sustainable development.

The recording of the event is available:

Watch the entire recording of the event over at Regions4 YouTube channel

To learn more, please see the following documents:

Contribution of Flanders to the Second Voluntary National Review on Progress on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nexus Messages for Innovative Approaches to the Implementation of the SDGs at the Subnational Level​.

The Blue Fund: Protecting Quebec’s Water​.

Energètica: Energia Pública de Catalunya.

Flanders Innovation for Global Sustainable Development

The Blue Deal​: Transforming water management and use in Flanders

For more information, contact

Ine Baetens – Expert Sustainable Development International Policy – Government of Flanders –

Bárbara Cruz – Communications Manager – Regions4 –