The United Nations is stepping up efforts on sustainable development on the eve of the first in a series of annual meetings that will take stock of global progress toward meeting the new goals. CityLab reports:

Late September is always a busy time at the United Nations, but last year’s General Assembly session was especially historic. That’s when all 193 nations represented at the U.N. formally agreed to an ambitious set of 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” — a framework to coordinate global efforts for ending poverty and hunger, combating inequality and disease, slowing climate change and building peace. Pope Francis, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and the pop singer Shakira all took the stage in support.

Many of the world’s mayors were there, too. They came to emphasize the vital role cities have to play in this global effort. Indeed, one of the new Sustainable Development Goals — or SDGs as they are widely known — is specifically focused on urbanization. It demands governments to build cities that are “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” All of the 16 other SDGs also touch the work of local authorities in one way or another. Goals such as ensuring clean water and sanitation, an equitable education, and good health for all can’t be achieved without local-level leadership.

So, on the sidelines of the event at the United Nations, dozens of mayors and other local leaders committed to the cause. They signed a pledge saying they would “play a defining role in embracing, endorsing, implementing, and monitoring these goals.” The commitments also included a list of actions around ensuring “the achievement of the SDGs in our cities and territories by 2030.”

Read more >