There is ever growing consciousness that only inclusive economic growth is able to contribute towards a more just and livable future for all. This notion was strongly brought forward during last year’s process on elaborating a new and universal agenda for human development – the post-2015 agenda and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In October 2015, the international community will have already agreed upon and announced the new agenda, which will hopefully make a strong commitment towards the promotion of inclusive growth, including on the sub national level. During this unprecedented participatory effort of defining “what” of the new agenda, it became increasingly clear that how to implement such agenda will be at least of equal importance.
The UNDP/UNHABITAT/GTF led consultations on how to localize the post 2015 agenda provided important insights and conclusions with regards to the critical importance of the local level for any future universal agenda to become a success.
To strengthen the international community’s ability to tackle global challenges, which are increasingly interconnected, stronger commitments to collective and inclusive action and policy coherence are needed. Effective global economic governance remains critical to accelerating progress to meet the MDGs, and it will be important for implementing a new post-2015 development agenda. Many of the current institutions and principles for global economic governance were designed for an era, which no longer exists. The increasing weight of emerging economies and developing countries needs to be reflected in the decision-making processes of the International Financial Institutions to give them more voice and representation. This call for a revised global economic governance was expressed by Helen Clark (Administrator UNDP, Chair UNDG) during the International Monetary and Financial Committee held in Washington October 11th 2014 on behalf of the UN system.
Local Economic Development (LED) understood as a strategically planned, locally driven partnership approach to enable employment growth, poverty reduction and quality of life gains through improved local economic governance has a huge potential to crucially further the strive for a more inclusive and equal development, including all territorial actors representing private, public and civil society sectors. The approach is underpinned by a rich base of experience and evidence readily available to be capitalized upon and thereby promote the implementation of the post-2015 agenda at the local level. As LED fosters people centered and inclusive socio-economic development, it is an important set of evidence that could inform such revisions in the global economic governance structure as well as a means to start implementing a more just and inclusive system from bottom up.
The 3rd World Forum on LED wants therefore to become the platform to critically review experiences and assumptions that have dominated LED discourse and practices over the past two decades. If LED is really to become an important means/tool for implementing the post 2015 agenda at the local level and inform a revised global economic governance structure, a critical reflection process will have to guide the overall discussions during the forum. The forum will strive to not remain at showcasing how things have been done in the past but rather promote creative discussions on how can we do things differently in order to better respond to the key challenges that are presented in the new Sustainable Development Goals and the related post-2015 agenda.
The Forum will explore how the Local Economic Development approach can be considered as a tool for implementing the post 2015 development agenda and will delve three main thematic areas: