Published on July 10, 2024

Empowering Local Communities: The Joint SDG Fund's Commitment to SDG Localization

In the global pursuit of sustainable development, a crucial realization has emerged: the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) runs through our local communities. With at least 65% of SDG targets directly linked to the work and mandates of local and regional governments, the urgency to accelerate SDG localization has never been more apparent.

Recognizing this imperative, the Joint SDG Fund has positioned SDG localization at the core of its new multi-year strategy (2023-2026). In collaboration with the Local2030 Coalition, the Fund has developed an innovative SDG localization marker, a tool designed to identify and manage joint initiatives that prioritize local action for the SDGs.

A New Approach to Local Empowerment

The localization marker, applied across the Fund's 2024 funding tracks, ensures that engagement with and direct support to local actions, especially local governments, are embedded throughout the lifecycle of joint programmes. This approach guarantees that local voices and needs are not just considered but are central to the design, implementation, and learning stages of sustainable development initiatives


In the hills of the port city of Valparaíso (Chile's central coast), the territorial team was deployed to support the inclusion of neighborhood councils. Photo: Romina Ayala.
Bringing digital support to older adults in Chile


Real-World Impact: SDG Localization in Action

The Joint SDG Fund's commitment to SDG localization is already yielding tangible results across the globe. Here are some inspiring examples:

In Indonesia, the UN country team, with support from the Joint SDG Fund, is helping municipal governments issue their first green bonds, worth $500 million by pioneering green finance at the municipal level. Additionally, a sub-national digital platform is being developed to integrate SDGs into local planning and budgets, fostering multi-government coordination and data interoperability.

Chile’s Digital Empowerment in Rural Communities, improves digital connectivity in six rural, indigenous regions, benefiting over 40,000 people, primarily smallholder farmers. The initiative seeks to transform these areas into digitally empowered, resilient communities through strategic digital investments and support for sustainable agriculture.

The Indigenous Self-Sufficiency Model in Colombia, supported by the Fund pilots a local development model to transition Indigenous communities towards self-sufficiency in energy, water, and food systems. This whole-of-community approach involves co-designing sustainable solutions with indigenous communities, government, private sector, and civil society.

In Honduras, localizing inclusive education is accelerating inclusive education outcomes in 30 municipalities, potentially benefiting over 125,000 children. The initiative empowers local stakeholders, establishes community strategies, and leverages municipal investments to develop a more inclusive, localized educational system.


Caption: Valerie Julliand, the UN in Indonesia Resident Coordinator, visiting Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Negeri 4 Lombok Tengah, one of the scholarship recipients of the Indonesia Pintar Programme, which is funded through a collaboration between ASSIST JP and the Ministry of Finance for the issuance of SDG Bonds. Photo: © UN
Sustainable transformation for local enterprises and communities in Indonesia: Former Resident Coordinator Site Visit


A Call to Action for Global Partners

The Joint SDG Fund's partnership with the Local 2030 Coalition is pivotal in leveraging expertise and networks to identify and support the most impactful local initiatives. The localization marker, with its guidance note publicly available, offers a replicable model for other donors and partners to enhance prioritization, management, and learning around SDG localization.

As we navigate the critical years ahead in our pursuit of the 2030 Agenda, the message is clear: bringing the SDGs to life requires a concerted focus on local action. The Joint SDG Fund's innovative approach to SDG localization serves as both an inspiration and a practical roadmap for global partners.

By embracing tools like the localization marker and fostering partnerships that prioritize local empowerment, we can collectively accelerate progress towards a more sustainable and equitable world. The time has come for all partners to join hands in increasing our investment in local actions, ensuring that the transformative promise of the SDGs becomes a reality in communities worldwide.



All joint programs of the Joint SDG Fund are led by UN Resident Coordinators and implemented by the agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations development system. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.