New website offers ‘toolbox’ for implementing development goals in cities

Release took place on eve of Habitat III summit, which many are expecting to provide a roadmap guiding work on the urban components of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

QUITO, Ecuador — When 193 national governments last year agreed on the landmark Sustainable Development Goals, they mapped out an ambitious vision for global development over the next decade and a half.

Yet while the ambitions are global, much of the progress on the SDGs will have to happen at city level. And that will require both advocacy and education efforts, experts say.

“Sixty-five percent of the goals of SDGs are under the direct responsibility of local government,” said UN-Habitat’s Fabienne Perucca, speaking Sunday at an event on the eve of the Habitat III summit on urbanization. “Local governments need to be empowered to implement the SDGs.”

Some 50,000 people are gathering here this week for Habitat III, where governments will adopt a new global vision on how to plan and build sustainable cities — the New Urban Agenda. The 20-year strategy is seen as a roadmap for how to implement the SDGs at the cities level.

[See: Cities turn to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals]

Perucca was presenting a new website, Localizing the SDGs, a project of UN-Habitat, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, and the United Nations Development Programme.

“Sixty-five percent of the goals of SDGs are under the direct responsibility of local government.”

Fabienne Perucca

The site is meant as a “toolbox” to support local governments and to engage citizens to promote the proper implementation of the SDGs, she said.

The website is a two-way platform. It houses numerous resources, like the Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals reference, as well as a guide for national and local governments to monitor and report on progress made on implementing SDG 11, the “urban SDG”.

But it also has advocacy toolkits for civil society to raise awareness about the SDGs and links to things like an e-tutorial on how to mainstream the new development framework into national policies.

[See: Cities respond: Testing the urban SDG indicators]

The resources are laid out to show a three-step route for “localizing” the SDGs, taking users from the point of starting the localization process and finishing with resources to support capacity strengthening.

Users can upload resources they think others will find useful in undertaking this process.

While the platform is new, having launched last week, Perucca said it will be populated with more resources going forward.

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Brendon Bosworth

Brendon Bosworth is a correspondent for Citiscope based in Cape Town.