At the UCLG World Congress, VVSG participated in various SDG sessions, presenting concrete examples of Flemish municipalities, showcasing the supporting tools materials of VVSG on awareness raising, policy planning, and SDG monitoring and reporting and sharing its vision on how to move forward on SDG localization.
The VVSG stressed its message that associations of local governments must support their members in connecting SDG monitoring and reporting to the existing local policy cycle. Of course, VLRs are a valuable tool for local governments for which needs the necessary assistance. However, at least equal attention needs to be given to the much larger group of local governments without the resources, capacity, or intention to develop a VLR. Therefore, the VVSG published an inspirational guide on SDG monitoring and reporting this year, based on extensive talks with cities worldwide and discussions within a working group of 15 Flemish municipalities.
In addition, data analysis for the Voluntary Subnational Review led to the development of an extensive SDG-index of approximately 200 indicators. The index not only shows municipalities how they score for each SDG in relation to other Flemish municipalities, but also takes into account contextual factors such as income level and age of inhabitants, and the city’s size. This means that a municipality (for example a larger city) can score low in comparison to other municipalities on for example poverty reduction, but nevertheless does relatively well considering its context.
Further, the VVSG strongly believes in learning through practice. Hanne Albers (VVSG): "You cannot get acquainted with tools through talking about tools". Therefore, the association co-organised a hands-on workshop with congress participants using the universally applicable SDG circle exercise. This low-threshold tool in used in multiple Flemish municipalities to raise awareness on the SDGs, to think about policy actions and to discuss the SDGs with citizens and stakeholders.
All VVSG material can be found on https://www.vvsg.be/kennisitem/vvsg/sdg-documents-in-foreign-languages