Cities and SDGs: An Interdependent Partnership

November 03, 2017

New York: Two years ago, the United Nations adopted its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the heart of the 2030 Agenda was a commitment to pursue an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Widespread efforts to achieve the SDGs are now underway, but there is much more to be done.

This past July, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) convened for its 2017 annual session at UN Headquarters in New York. At the event, 43 countries submitted their voluntary national reviews (VNRs) outlining their progress on implementing the SDGs. While the reviews showed that many countries are taking the SDGs seriously, a synthesis report that fed into the 2017 HLPF underscored that national governments cannot achieve the SDGs alone.

The UN Economic and Social Council found that there is a clear need for enhanced "cooperation and inclusion to implement the SDGs with civil society, local authorities, indigenous peoples, local communities, academia and all other relevant actors." This makes sense, given that the actual implementation of the SDGs will happen primarily at the local level. National programs and strategies can help to prioritize the SDGs, provide funding and other support, but the SDGs require local action.

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Livia Bizikova is a Director at IISD. Cory Searcy is Assistant Professor at Ryerson University and an Associate at IISD.

Source: IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub