2015 is the target year for the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) achievement but also when the agenda of the development framework for the next 15 years will be launched. The Post-2015 Development Agenda is the result of an open and inclusive process that has gathered local and regional governments, civil society organizations, academia, private sector and others to share their perspective and advice on the contents, as well as on the means for implementing the global development framework beyond 2015. Based on the findings of this inclusive process, during which the importance of the local level has been repeatedly emphasized, and according to the lessons learned from working towards achieving the MDGs, UN Member States are expected to reach an agreement on the future agenda and a set of SDGs. The latters are expected to represent a universal agenda in order to tackle the greatest challenges of our time.
Out of the ongoing debate on the means of implementation of the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Local Economic Development (LED) stands out as a proven economic governance toolkit with a large corpus of practical experiences from diverse country contexts geared toward tackling many of the development concerns addressed by the MDGs and the future development agenda. Experience with the MDGs showed that local governments are essential actors in providing basic service delivery and achieving goals on poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, education, and health care.
Local Economic Development (LED), understood as a strategically planned and locally driven partnership approach, aims at generating sustainable local economic opportunities and quality of life gains through improved economic governance. Unlike conventional economic development, LED calls for strategic and comprehensive territorial planning that prioritizes social, cultural, and environmental objectives and manages consumption and production patterns. LED allows for a more geographically disperse economic development and generates sustainable economic opportunities for all people, including women, indigenous people, youth, ethnic minorities and vulnerable groups.
Hence, the 3rd Forum, will explore how LED can represent a means of implementation of the future SDGs and will delve three main thematic areas: