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Corner Game: Challenges

It is important not only to link existing plans with global agendas, but also to face the challenges which already stand in your way or are most likely to occur. By discussing the following challenges with peers, coping strategies can be detected and implemented.


Understanding the key outcomes of the SGDs and how local governments can foster implementation processes and face up to challenges.


Step 1: Local governments often struggle to act on sustainable development due to a number of overarching challenges. Write the challenges that are listed below on cards and place them in different corners of the workshop room.

Step 2: Briefly explain the challenges to your workshop participants. Then let them choose the category they find most pressing when it comes to implementing the 2030 Agenda at the local level. Ask them to go to the respective corner in the room where this challenge is placed and let them discuss the following questions with their peers:

  • Why do you think this is the most pressing challenge?
  • Why is this relevant in your context?
  • Can you think of ideas of how to overcome the challenge?
  • Do you think there are other pressing challenges?

Step 3: Let them collect and write down the findings from their discussion.



  • Challenge 1 – Coordination Challenge: How can we bring together the right stakeholders at the right time in the right place?
  • Challenge 2 – Coherence Challenge: There are many co-benefits among the SDGs and other agendas, i.e. addressing one goal can help to achieve others at the same time. Yet, there are also several potential trade-offs. For example, biodiversity could be threatened if forests are cut down to expand agricultural production for food security. Each of these issues thus has competing interests that need to be considered.


  • Challenge 1 – Mandates: Questions of subsidiarity and political will underpin the ability of local-level actors to take action.
  • Challenge 2 – Finance: Direct access to international finance by city governments can be challenging, national funding streams may be limited, and capacities to raise local revenue may be low.
  • Challenge 3 – Data: Gaps remain in the collection and analysis of data, particularly with regard to disaggregated data at the city level. Data needs will grow, for example for climate forecasts and evidence-based decision-making.
  • Challenge 4 – Capacity: Limited technical knowledge and human resources among local actors, including in urban planning and governance, will hamper effective implementation of plans.
  • Challenge 5 – Responsibility and Accountability: A final key challenge is ensuring responsibility and accountability for progress towards meeting the SDGs and other global goals. Mechanisms to do this need to interlink on local, national and international scales.


Cards with challenges, flipcharts for visualisation


If there is not enough time for a detailed analysis of the challenges in groups, the exercise can be done as a meta-board discussion.


30 minutes – 1 hour


Visualised results from group discussion