Localizing SDGs and human rights through the UN Universal Periodic Review

June 8, 2023 1:15 pm
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Every day, Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fulfil human rights on the ground. In doing so, LRGs should gain more visibility at the international level and showcase their important work. Cities are more numerous to submit Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) to demonstrate how they implement the SDGs.

In a complementary way to VLRs, LRGs could also gain increased international visibility for their work on SDGs through the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). While the UPR is focused on human rights, it also addresses SDGs. Indeed, human rights and SDGs are closely interlinked. As such, LRGs’ participation in the UPR could help showcase their achievements on SDGs and human rights.

The participation of LRGs in the UPR stands at the heart of a Coalition launched in 2021 by the Geneva Cities Hub, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Habitat, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, UPR Info and the Geneva Human Rights Platform. The Coalition seeks to involve LRGs in the UPR to garner support for human rights at all levels of government and enhance their implementation on the ground.


The proposed pursues the following objectives:

  • Introduce the UPR as a mechanism that addresses issues of concern to LRGs and that helps LRGs localize the SDGs.
  • Share cities’ experience on their VLRs and describe how this could be used in the UPR process.
  • Explain how LRGs can take part in the UPR and contribute to the implementation of the UPR recommendations, in cooperation with States and UN entities.
  • Address the benefits that exist for States, if they include LRGs in the UPR process.
  • Showcase the work of UN Habitat on linking the localization of SDGs with human rights.





  • Melanie Grabowy, Deputy Mayor, Bonn, Germany
  • Gitau Thabanja, City Manager, Nakuru, Kenya
  • Robert Lewis-Lettington, Chief of Section, Land, Housing and Shelter, UN Habitat

Moderated by Anh Thu Duong, Co-Director, Geneva Cities Hub





The event will be held in person, in Nairobi. Access will only be granted to persons registered to the UN Habitat Assembly