Today the IUC Asia participated in the Virtual Discussion Session on Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines on Voluntary Local Reviews organized by UNESCAP with the objective to raise awareness on the guidelines, discuss its coherence with other global guidance on VLRs, and generate interest amongst stakeholders to conduct local and sub-national reviews of SDG progress. The session brought together speakers from various UN entities, research organizations, representatives from Asian and Pacific cities who have committed to conducting a VLR in the coming months, and other global and regional stakeholders. UNESCAP is the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
There exists no specific template or official format that cities can follow if they choose to undertake a VLR. As such, the UNESCAP, in collaboration with the Penang Platform for Sustainable Urbanization (PPSU) have developed the Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines on VLRs that aims to support Asian and Pacific cities willing to undertake a VLR and/or produce an initial report to stakeholder on how cities can work towards achieving the SDGs.
The session began with opening remarks from Stefanos Fotiou, Director, Environment and Development Division, UNESCAP, followed by a presentation on the Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines on Voluntary Local Reviews, given by Samiuddin Ahmed, Regional Sustainable Development Consultant, Sustainable Urban Development Section, UNESCAP.
Afterwards, a panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC). The first topic was Global Guidance on VLRs with Riina Jussila, Sustainable Development Officer, National Strategies and Capacity Building Branch, Division for Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and Martino Miraglia, Programme Officer, Technical Focal Point for Local & Regional Governments and VLRs, Urban Practices Branch, United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat). The second topic was VLR examples from Asia and the Pacific with Junichi Fujino, Programme Director, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Junko Ota, Former Vice-Chair, SDGs Council of Kitakyushu City, Japan. The final topic for the panelists was Reviewing local SDG progress in South-East Asia and the Pacific with Hon. Dato Haji Haris Bin Kasim, Mayor, Shah Alam, Malaysia, Hon. Noraini Roslan, Mayor and Subang Jaya, Malaysia.
Closing remarks were provided by Norliza Hashim, Chief Executive, Urbanice Malaysia. Future sessions will also bring together speakers from various UN entities, research organizations, representatives from Asian and Pacific cities who have committed to conducting a VLR in the coming months, and other global and regional stakeholders.