Urban development experts highlighted the importance of data collection and monitoring, including Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs), to improve local governance, identify development opportunities and localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), during a session organized by UN-Habitat in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Middle East and Western Asia (UCLG-MEWA) and the Arab Cities Organization (ATO), in the last week June at the Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11) .
In the session titled “The State of Arab Cities”, participants discussed how tools such as the VLRs, which analyze the implementation of the SDGs at the local level, can address data gaps, as well as provide guidance and technical support to governments. local.
“We look forward to continuing to support data collection and analysis at the local level to achieve effective urban development that is suitable for the Arab region,” said Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for the Arab Region, in his remarks. closing.
The lack of urban data collection tools is one of the challenges in advancing urban development. Addressing this challenge, UN-Habitat is currently leading the drive for VLR in the Arab region in partnership with ESCWA, UCLG-MEWA and ATO.
“The lack of data and monitoring tools hampers sustainable development. Only through accurate data, cities can assess their progress and create comprehensive plans to further achieve the SDGs”, Ing. Ahmed Sobeih, Secretary General of ATO, highlighted.
The VLR mechanism has become an essential tool for cities around the world to report and track progress on the SDGs. In the Arab region, following an inclusive and participatory approach, two cities have started developing their VLRs, namely Amman, Jordan and Agadir, Morocco, with more cities due to start the process later this year.
“VLRs of Aman seeks to strengthen monitoring mechanisms for local development and enhance cooperation with cities around the world, establishing a strategy to achieve the SDGs by 2030”, Mrs. Njoud AbdelJawad, Manager of International Relations and Department of Greater Amman Municipality Technical Support, commented on Aman's goals in implementing VLR.
Mr. Mehmet Duman, Secretary General of UCLG-MEWA praised the cities of Amman and Agadir for their successful implementation.
WUF, organized by UN-Habitat, is the leading conference on urbanization and takes place every two years. WUF11 is co-organized by UN-Habitat, the Polish Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and the Katowice Municipal Office.