UK cities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

23 July 2019 

by Dr Kristina Diprose, Research Associate, Localising the Sustainable Development Goals 

In June, representatives from a number of UK local authorities, city regions and civil society came together for a workshop on Localising the Sustainable Development Goals. This workshop, co-organised by Realising Just Cities and UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development, was an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and ideas for action from those who see the Goals as an opportunity to make our cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 

Since then, the UK Government has published its first Voluntary National Review of progress towards the global targets. This was presented at the UN High Level Political Forum earlier this month. Local momentum is also building, with a motion passed at the 2019 Local Government Association General Assembly in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. This motion notes that: 

"Local government has a vital role to play in terms of the planning, implementation and monitoring in local areas, work that will be key in delivering the UK’s progress on meeting the ambitions of the Agenda 2030.  If implemented properly, each of the SDGs has the potential to be transformative in moving our areas toward a more sustainable society with many of the Goals best supported by local co-ordination and delivery through local government and its partners.  Our role can also help raise awareness of these challenges by engaging our areas through local partnerships and with our citizens." 

In a newly published short film (and others available on our YouTube channel), organisers and workshop attendees reflect on why the Sustainble Development Goals are important, the role of cities in delivering the Goals, and what they hope to see happen next.