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Context: Bhopal becomes the first city in India to adopt the localisation of the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG).


  • Bhopal will now have voluntary local reviews (VLR) to demonstrate the local government’s capacity and commitment towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Voluntary local reviews (VLR)

  • The VLR is a subnational review of the progress and challenges in implementing the SDGs at the local level.
  • It is a bottom-up and participatory approach that involves multiple stakeholders, such as civil society, the private sector, academia and citizens.
  • It aims to enhance accountability, transparency and learning among local actors, as well as to inform and influence national and global policies.

Bhopal’s VLR

  • It is the result of collaboration between the Bhopal Municipal Corporation, UN-Habitat and a collective of over 23 local stakeholders to measurably demonstrate the city’s aspirations for a sustainable and inclusive urban transformation.
  • It incorporated a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to the review of SDGs, with qualitative mapping of 56 developmental projects.
  • It identified key challenges and opportunities for Bhopal to achieve the SDGs, such as urban governance, climate resilience, social inclusion, economic development and innovation.
  • It was launched by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, along with an Agenda for Action: Sustainable Urban Transformation in Bhopal.
    • The Agenda for Action outlines a vision and a roadmap for Bhopal to become a smart, green and livable city by 2030.
    • It also proposes concrete actions and initiatives to address the gaps and priorities identified in the VLR.

United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

  • The United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, which consists of 17 goals and 169 targets to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all people by 2030. These goals are also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Global Goals.
  • Achieving these ambitious and interrelated goals requires not only the commitment and cooperation of national governments but also the active participation and ownership of local governments and communities.


  • It is the process of translating the global agenda into local actions and impacts that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
  • It involves adapting the goals and targets to the local context, aligning them with local plans and priorities, engaging local stakeholders and actors, and monitoring and reporting on progress at the local level.


  • Localisation is imperative for the success of the 2030 Agenda because it recognizes that local governments are closest to the people and have a key role in delivering basic services, promoting social inclusion, ensuring environmental sustainability and fostering economic development.
  • It empowers local actors to identify and address their own challenges and opportunities, using their own resources and capacities.
  • According to the UN, at least 60% of the 169 SDG targets could not be achieved without the involvement of local governments and other subnational actors. Therefore, localisation is not only a means to implement the SDGs, but also an end in itself, as it promotes local democracy, accountability and ownership.


  • Bhopal’s VLR is a pioneering example of how cities can take ownership and leadership in implementing the SDGs at the local level. It also showcases how cities can collaborate with various partners and stakeholders to leverage their resources and expertise for achieving global goals. Bhopal’s VLR is expected to inspire and motivate other cities in India and beyond to join the global movement of VLRs and contribute to the transformation of our world.

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Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/sustainable-development-goals


Q. How can localisation of the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) contribute to the global efforts to achieve a more equitable and prosperous world for all? What are the main challenges and opportunities for implementing the SDG at the local level, and what are the best practices and strategies to overcome them?