Empowering Communities: Building Awareness for the Participatory Localization of the SDGs


Cuenca, an intermediate city in the Ecuadorian Andes, has been generating innovative, multisectoral, and multi-actor initiatives for several decades, addressing the challenges and issues of human development in line with global debates. The city has issued various declarations within its territory, making it a custodian of international commitments to tackle global challenges from a local perspective.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled cities, including Cuenca, to adapt. Priorities in Cuenca have encompassed healthcare services, citizen support, basic services, local economic recovery, sustainable mobility, and other SDG-aligned projects. Similar adaptations have been seen in various projects and strategies undertaken by local actors within their areas of influence.

This context underscores the imperative of reaching people and communities differently while emphasizing the critical importance of a profound awareness process that engages various local stakeholders in building a sustainable community.This involves infusing the sustainable development vision into various aspects of local action and dynamics. Cuenca has responded by investing in education and mutual learning about localizing the SDGs, offering coordination and training to local actors, and establishing a specialized space for discussion and reflection on SDG localization within the Cuenca canton.


The Local4Action HUB Cuenca, led by the Autonomous Decentralized Municipal Government of Cuenca, partners with international organizations and local stakeholders, including businesses, universities, NGOs, and the municipality, to promote the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative is supported by various organizations, such as Learning from UCLG, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF Ecuador), the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), and the Planning Secretariat of Ecuador. 

The Local4Action HUB Cuenca program combines virtual adaptations and insights from intermediate cities’ experiences with SDG localization. It aims to receive support from partners within the Local4Action HUBs and other networks to enhance training quality and participation in local campaigns and activities focused on SDG advancement.The HUB is currently focusing on training citizens in SDG localization, encompassing introductory knowledge up to specialization. This ongoing effort is nurturing specialists, technicians, and officials who align plans and projects with the SDGs, thus amplifying their impact.

Moreover, it is actively encouraging local actors to collaborate and establish a programmatic foundation for advancing the 2030 Agenda at the local level. This involves self-organization based on minimum agreements and an evolving system for consolidating information, ultimately leading to the systematic reporting of Local Voluntary Reports to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Ultimately, it is empowering a diverse range of individuals and organizations to actively contribute to SDG localization, promoting sustainable development not only in Cuenca but also beyond its borders.

Expected Outcomes

  • Train more than 1500 individuals using the virtual “Module of Introduction to SDG Localization,” a program developed by the Cuenca local government. This module is based on the UCLG learning framework and has been adapted to meet the needs of intermediary cities, incorporating engaging audiovisual elements for an enriched learning experience.
  • Supplement the training with specialized seminars and other educational opportunities to deepen participants’ understanding of SDG localization.
  • Support these initiatives with robust communication and dissemination campaigns strategically designed to promote alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Foster the creation of alliances among key stakeholders, beginning with training sessions for NGOs and city officials. Subsequently, expand the scope to include businesses and universities, and ultimately, extend the reach of the training module to other local governments.
  • Create a collaborative space based on reflection and citizen input, establishing a ‘canton-level’ platform responsible for presenting Local Voluntary Reports from its territory to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).


The Local4Action HUB Cuenca showcases the effective use of tools developed in collaboration with city and local government networks, originally created by UCLG and UN-Habitat. While its primary goal is to encourage collaboration among local actors, the set of tools and activities developed incorporate experiences and academic developments from intermediate cities promoting the 2030 Agenda, making it suitable for replication and dialogue in similar contexts, particularly within intermediate cities.

Link to Agenda 2030

  • SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • SDG 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • SDG 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development


Link to the UCLG Pact for the Future of Humanity 

  • Commitments for People
    • C2 – Foster universal and equitable access to public services, including housing, health, education and participation in cultural and political life.
    • C3 – Promote informed and sustained citizen’s participation in public life and decision-making promoting freedom of speech and conscience and artistic expression.
    • C9 – Foster open, accessible and verifiable information and data to promote inclusion, education and communication.
  • Commitment for Planet
    • C1 – Re-engineer urban planning to support more sustainable and just practices for all citizens.
  • Commitments for Government
    • C1 – Promote inclusive, participatory, responsible and accountable multilevel governance leading to global action.
    • C5 – Involve the scientific-community, civil society and local communities in the process of policy and decision making.


Link to other Global Agendas

  • Open Government Agenda



The Launch of the Local4Aaction HUB took place on September 23-24, 2021, within the context of the “International Encounter on Sustainable Cuenca 2030.” This event focused on exploring the pivotal role of citizen participation and its interconnectedness with the implementation of the SDGs. You can watch the launching session of the Local4Action HUB Cuenca at the following link.

Key activities

  • [Training] Virtual Module “Introduction to SDG Localization for a New Post-Covid Normality,” aimed at NGOs.

Participation in networking activities

[Webinar] Citizenship and local governments co-create solutions to localize Agenda 2030 and the SDGs organized by IODP. Read more here


  • Local4Action HUB Cuenca Promotional video
  • Cuenca se une al llamado a la Década de Acción Video 
  • IOPD Webinar: Citizenship and local governments co-create solutions to localize Agenda 2030 and the SDGs Video

How to join the Local4Action HUB

For further information please contact:
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