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Local economic development enlarges equal opportunities and is a vehicle to localize the SDGs

Starting off the fourth biennial World Forum of Local Economic Development in Praia, Cabo Verde, the Government of Cabo Verde and UNDP, together with the International Labour Organization and world associations of local and regional government, UCLG and ORU Fogar, welcomed today more than 2’000 delegates coming from all the continents to jointly discuss over the next four days about the path for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Since 2011, the World Forum of Local Economic Development takes place every two years in October, offering a platform for critical reflection and creative discussions on how can we do things differently in order to achieve a more just, equal and sustainable development for all. Every two years, the forum takes place in different locations around the world and brings together national and sub-national governments, the private sector, international organizations, civil society organizations, academia and other partners to share perspectives and showcase innovative strategies and solutions in support of local development. The fourth forum is the first time that the event is celebrated in Africa and will therefore have a specific focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead for the continent.

Francisca Santos, President of the National Organizing Committee of this year’s edition, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde said that this fourth world forum provides the occasion to have in-depth discussion on the changes we need to make to support in all countries, regardless size and level of development, a social and economic development that benefit our communities.

“Mayors, presidents of regions, ministers, CEOs of private enterprises, all have come together in Praia to find collective solutions to address rising inequalities. Each one has a role to play and only by partnering and setting up the necessary enabling frameworks we can jointly achieve the global development goals that all States have set two years ago”.

Johannes Krassnitzer, Coordinator of the global ART Initiative of UNDP, which is supporting the process since its inception, stated that the local economic development approach constitutes todays a set of widely applied tools and mechanisms that contribute to achieve sustainable and inclusive economies, where no one is left behind.

He highlighted the added value of local economic development as a way of promoting and achieving socio-economic cohesion that can reduce inequalities between territories and states, while introducing a territorial perspective on sustainability. It is a means to promote strong and sustainable local economies, while supporting decent job creation, entrepreneurship development, innovation systems, public-private partnerships, and more.

“Since the beginning of the process, UNDP has believed that through this milestone event a wide array of partners can come together to strengthen or even start new cooperation and promote joint actions that can contribute to achieving a more just and sustainable local development, and landing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The localization of the Sustainable Development Goals depends on local actions, community buy-in and local leadership, well-coordinated at and with all levels of governance. The World Forum of Local Economic Development will be a landmark global event to analyze and jointly define a roadmap toward the achievement of the SDGs in our territories.