While the need to bolster sustainability and equality and eliminate poverty is more pressing than ever, in the annual check-in on the SDG’s at U. N. Headquarters, known as the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), cities and the SDG 11 (the goal focused on sustainable urbanization), as part of the sustainability development agenda, are not explicitly on this year’s HLPF menu.
Reinventing the global urbanization paradigm
Despite the growing recognition that the way cities have been built is unsustainable, with the lack of planning and control leading to problems such as overcrowding and pollution, it’s the urban areas where a more coordinated approach is expected to take place and would have a powerful impact on the pace of social, economic and environmental change needed to meet the interconnected goals. So local authorities have a vital role to play in this global effort.
The time has come for cities to plan and manage their future and fulfill their role as drivers of sustainable development in order to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The “sustainability urban development agenda” needs cities to cooperate with committed partners, relevant stakeholders and urban actors at all levels of public administration, the civil society and private sector.
Finding new solutions to new problems
When it comes to the global urban agenda, America’s mayors have probably never felt more alone, since Trump’s decision to pull out of Paris Accords. This decision though seems to have reinvigorated efforts and motivated local leadership to redouble efforts to meet the goals of the cities of tomorrow, as US mayors pledge their commitment to climate change.
How do mayors convince their constituents that investing in a more sustainable city is the right thing to do? Given the limited regulatory jurisdiction, how do cities leverage other key players and resources? In this context how businesses are going to collaborate effectively and efficiently with governments at subnational, national and federal level and tap into networks of other cities while maintaining the right kind of momentum?
Businesses have an added incentive to seize the day and cities have to act before it’s too late, in order to become inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
To learn how to integrate sustainability and bring about positive results in your areas of influence, attend CSE’s Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program (Advance Edition 2017) in New York City, September 28-29. NYC companies such as HSBC and Pfizer already work with CSE. The training will be led by Nikos Avlonas. Visit www.CSE-net.org for other trainings around the world or for online courses offered by the Sustainability Academy.
Sources: United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, Eco-Business, Politico, Youth for Human Rights International