United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Local Authorities

Report of the Special event on Sustainable cities
At the High Level Political Forum first meeting
New York, 24 September 2013
Rapporteur: Dr Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul, President of UCLG and member of the
High Level Panel for Post 2015 agenda.
Thank you Mr./Madam Chair.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to address this session on
behalf of the Local Authorities Major Group as Mayor of Istanbul and President of UCLG,
reporting on our Special Event on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements, organized
on 23 September 2013, in collaboration with UN DESA/DSD, Local Authorities Major
Group and Member States of Friends of Cities.
The new development agenda is one and universal affecting all continents and
countries. In all cases well managed urbanization with a territorial approach and bridging
the rural urban divide will be the key.
We would like to recall the Rio+20 outcome document reaffirming the role of all
levels of government and legislative bodies in promoting sustainable development and
the specific progress made at the local and subnational levels.
We would further like to stress the paramount role played by the sub-national level
in economic development and job creation especially for the youth, and the provision
of basic services which are central to the reduction of poverty and disease but also to
improving the resilience and sustainability of our societies.
The Post-2015 agenda should implement effective decentralization of
responsibilities, policy management, decision-making and sufficient resources,
including revenue collection following the recommendations of the “International
guidelines on decentralization and access to basic services for all” adopted by UN
We are further convinced that strong and accountable institutions are a fundamental
part of that agenda and that inclusive governance from the bottom up` is an
indispensable component of sustainability.
We believe that urbanization, in its broader territorial sense, should be embodied in a
stand-alone goal complemented by urban targets across other relevant goals. Still
other targets will need to be localized to be more effective. There is therefore an
urgent need for disaggregated data that will reflect sub-national realities and help us
assess progress. The Post 2015 agenda will need to address not only what, but also
who and how should be implementing policies.
Thus, the post 2015 agenda needs to strengthen and make more democratic
international multilevel governance structure and city-region management, as well
as providing new urban partnerships supported by financial frameworks.
The Post-2015 process success can only be guaranteed if we develop a sense of
ownership and accountability at all levels, international, national, sub-national, and local.
We therefore welcome the openness of the High Level Political Forum to Major groups
and call on member states to include in the modalities of the HLPF ways to further
involve local and sub-national authorities recognizing the specific character of
these governmental stakeholders and offer you our full commitment to work
together on this agenda.