Subnational Governments and Cities Face Challenges in Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Shared by: Patrick Duong, Regional Programme Advisor, Local Governance and Decentralisation, UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok


In regards to localising the SDGs, there are currently very few tools that support SDGs localisation at subnational and local level. In particular, governors and mayors in developing countries need support in prioritising SDGs and mainstreaming local priorities in local development plans and budgets. This type of “SDGs tool” would also need to consider multi-stakeholder partnerships, local government approach and new financing strategies that include working with the private sector.

Severe Water Scarcity in Jordan

Shared by: Mervat Batarseh, Head of Environment Education Section, The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, Jordan


Jordan faces severe water scarcity issues with 70 percent of the country receiving less than 100 mm precipitation per year. In fact, water availability is mainly dependent on rainfall. Demand for water greatly exceeds Jordan's available water resources. In addition, groundwater resources are being exploited at about twice its recharge rate, with irrigation activities using two-thirds of water supplies. The demand for water has been growing rapidly over the last 20 years due to a higher number of people living in urban areas, as well as an increasing importance of the country’s industrial sector. The most recent influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees has also added additional pressure on already scarce water resources. Jordan needs new policies and water conservation techniques in order to address the water scarcity challenge.

Youth Unemployment in Mauritania

Shared by: Mylene Lavoie, Policy Specialist, Local Governance and Development, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa


Mauritania faces increasing unemployment, specifically among the youth and women. Faced with this challenge, initiatives need to be implemented in order to increase the revenue of agricultural producers in rural areas and foster entrepreneurship in urban areas. In addition, there is a need to implement the country’s “National Strategy for Employment and Formal Training”. This would also require the development and promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), specifically related to agro-and pastoral commodity chains. The development of SMEs could potentially encourage public-private partnerships and promote decent employment, specifically for women and the youth.

Youth Unemployment in Yemen

Shared by: Farah Abdessamad, Programme Specialist, Economic Stabilisation, UNDP Yemen


Similar to other countries in the Middle East, Yemen faces increasing youth unemployment. The country’s lack of decent employment has the potential to cause further social disruption and conflict. In fact, a number of unemployed youth has been forced to join armed groups as an economic source to support their families.

In addition to the problem of unemployment, there is limited access to alternative financing, particularly for supporting micro and youth-run social enterprises. In addition to limited access to finance, there is also a need to mentor young entrepreneurs, specifically to promote competitive and inclusive businesses that provide jobs to local communities. 

Challenges in Delivery of Basic Public Services in Sierra Leone

Shared by: Shellac Davies, Community Sector, Catholic Relief Services Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone faces key development challenges in regards to improving public service delivery and strengthening the capacity of central and local government to adequately address emerging development needs. In particular, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of state institutions and decentralised structures to address challenges in areas such as health, education, agriculture, sanitation and water. In addition to capacity building, there is also a need to improve the accountability and transparency of government institutions responsible for the delivery of basic public services. Lastly, there is a need to develop a participatory approach to include civil society in decision-making processes at the local level.

Development Challenges in Uganda

Shared by: Assumpta Tibamwenda, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Local Government, Uganda


Uganda faces numerous development challenges, including high levels of poverty in the rural areas. In addition to rural poverty, access to productive resources by vulnerable groups remains limited. Furthermore, there are significant institutional and operational constraints for local government agencies in the delivery of public services at the decentralised levels. Local government leaders have limited capacity to facilitate community participation in the planning and budgeting process. In addition, communities with poor infrastructure have limited knowledge on the economic potential of their localities. Subsequently, these communities have high poverty levels with limited access to quality services.

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