From 19 to 21 November 2020, the region of Lombardy held its 1st Regional Sustainable Development Forum, gathering policy-makers, practitioners, and civil society in a three-day event with institutional plenary sessions, workshops, seminars, and video testimonies.

The localization of the Sustainable Development Goals is one of the most promising and challenging efforts of the international community, that is why this task must be at the centre of the recovery from COVID-19. With this in mind, the Forum addressed three main themes:

  1. The challenges to the public institutions for a long-lasting recovery.
  2. Working for sustainability: experiences on sustainability of the industry, research, cooperation, and civil society.
  3. The ethics of sustainability.

The international session “European regions for sustainability” that took place on 19 November, gathered the regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Baden-Wurttemberg, Basque Country, Catalonia, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, and Wales to discuss the common priorities and challenges that regions face to undertake integrated territorial approaches while mobilizing citizens and stakeholders, as well as ensuring multi-level governance for the achievement of the SDGs in a recovery context.

Ms. Arantxa Tapia, Basque Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, and Regions4 President highlighted that: “In the Basque Country, we understand sustainable development as the cornerstone of all our public policies. Without it, there is no future for our planet. […] Interregional cooperation through key platforms such as Regions4, not only strengthens collaboration in achieving the global goals, but also helps to increase collective political commitment. […] To accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achieve a resilient recovery, we must reinforce the territorial approaches to the SDGs and move from isolated good practices to collective action.”

During his intervention, Mr. Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister for Environment and Climate of Lombardy and host of the Forum, stated: “I believe that what we need is enhanced political will and commitment. Regions have the knowledge, capacity, and innovation, and if we are ambitious enough, we can gather the full complement of resources and policies needed to implement the Goals successfully. I look forward to working in that direction alongside the regions that we have gathered in this European panel.”

Main takeaways

The Forum concluded with the idea that to accomplish the 2030 Agenda and sustainable recovery from the pandemic, there must be multi-level and multi-stakeholder governance with the engagement of public administrations, academia, business, and citizens.

Among the main conclusions, the policy-making dialogues provided the following suggestions as food for thought:

  • Developing public-private partnerships will boost investments for sustainable development.
  • Placing innovation and technology at the service of sustainable development will help create new jobs and increase competitiveness.
  • Creating a welfare system that eliminates inequalities through subsidiarity and shared responsibility among all the actors, while maintaining an open dialogue, will build a sense of community to achieve common goals.
  • Educating citizens to sustainable development and businesses to corporate responsability will ensure larger social and economic impacts.
  • Being transparent and accountable from a governance perspective, will help measure the real contribution of public policies to the sustainable development of our territories.

Further information

The sessions of the 1st Regional Sustainable Development Forum of Lombardy are available online at the website: Sviluppo Sostenible – Regione Lombardia