“Using the 17 goals as a framework for building the New Asker municipality is an excellent strategy. The goals are all about thinking globally and acting locally. I know that there are also delegates from UN-Habitat at the conference. Thank you everyone for your advice and your take on the goals.” – Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Government of Norway
24 October 2019, Nairobi - One year ago today UN-Habitat and Asker Kommune (Norway) co-hosted the 3rd Asker Youth Conference on UN Day 2018. This event celebrated the engagement of youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through local action. Convened under the theme of “Localization of the SDGs”, 50 youth from the Norwegian communities of Hurum, Røyken and Asker came together with international youth delegates and government leaders to discuss how the three communities could use the SDGs as a framework for sustainability.
Attending from the Government of Norway was Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Local Government and Modernization, Monica Mæland, and the Minister of Education and Integration, Jan Tore Sanner, as well as the current Mayors of Asker, Hurum and Røyken.
The goal of the conference was to develop youth informed policies and programmes utilizing the SDGs as a framework for the soon to be constituted New Asker. Young men and women from the three merging municipalities worked with international youth and governance experts from UN-Habitat to create concrete proposals to present to the incoming municipal council.
Below is the Mayor of Asker, Lene Conradi’s article on UN Day, reprinted with attribution to the Budstikka and Røyken and Hurum (Norway) Newspaper, 24 October 2019. In it she outlines the progress the Asker Municipality has made since last years UN Day concert towards integrating the SDGs into the masterplan of the soon to be newly created New Asker.
Youth and the Localization of the SDGs:
UN Day 24 October 2019 - The World's Largest Community Day
by Lene Conradi, Mayor Asker
For me, the UN Day is a reminder that we humans must work together to take care of each other and our basis of life.
"Together for a better world" is the basic idea of the UN, and today the 193 member countries make up the world's largest community. A community we need more than ever to solve the world's challenges.
The United Nations was established on 24 October, 1945, to unite the world in cooperation for peace and justice. We have achieved a lot since then, but we still have a job to do to strengthen democracy, fight poverty and inequality, war and conflict. In today's society, we also have new and major challenges that can threaten the positive development; loss of species diversity, climate crisis and populist currents.
Through the UN, the world has agreed on 17 sustainability goals - a common work plan for a better and more sustainable future for all - by 2030. The UN's sustainability goals are global, but much of the work must be done locally.
In Norway, some of the goals have already been achieved, and we who live here are among the world's most privileged people. In 1945 it was not so, we were a poor country after five years of war and occupation. We received help with the reconstruction from the US aid program Marshall Plan, and received over NOK 60 billion in current value. Norway is an example of international cooperation and solidarity.
Although Norway is well positioned in terms of some goals, we still have many goals to work towards, both local challenges in education and health, and goals with global consequences such as environment, energy and climate. Our new large municipality has chosen to use the UN's Sustainability Goals as a framework and practical guide for how we govern and develop our local community from 2020. The Sustainability Goals have opened our eyes to many new opportunities to work together for the benefit of the Asher community - and in solidarity with the rest. of the world.
For several years, Asker has had the pleasure of exchanging experiences with the UN Settlement Program (UN-Habitat), and last month we became part of a UN-supported national network (Network of Excellence) to build strong partnerships on sustainability goals in cities and towns. Such national and international communities give us valuable knowledge, and we also have many local communities around our municipality. This is where the specific measures in the municipal plan are implemented - in schools, construction sites, nursing homes and recycling centers. It is in the local community that residents engage in voluntary work and support people who need help - whether there is someone in our immediate vicinity or when we mobilize for revenue for this year's TV campaign. We can all participate in one or more such communities in our lives.
An African saying says that "many small people who do many small things in many small places can change the world." UN Day is here to remind us that we must never give up working for a better world for everyone, and that it is precisely all these small and local communities that ultimately make up the UN community.