UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

UN News/Eric Ganz View of Manhattan from Long Island City, Queens, New York.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Although cities are often characterized by stark socioeconomic inequalities and poor environmental conditions, they also offer growth and development potential – making them central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a main focus of the third day of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Wednesday.

Through the inherently integrated nature of urban development, the 11th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) impacts a wide range of 2030 Agenda issues from sustainable consumption and production to affordable and clean energy along with health, sustainable transportation, clean water and sanitation. Basically, life on land.

According to the UN, cities are where the struggle for global sustainability “will either be won or lost.”

“Urbanization is one of the most important issues when it comes to sustainable development,” Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York.

“We must make sure we do it right if we are to achieve the SDGs and move towards a world where we see an end to poverty, the protection of our planet and everyone enjoying peace and prosperity,” she added.

While SDG 11 pledges to make cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable by 2030, local and national authorities are making uneven progress towards achieving that goal, according to the UN.

A new report by UN-Habitat and partners tracking SDG progress since their 2015 adoption coincides with the first review of SDG 11 at the HLPF.

At the current rate of expansion, over 700 cities will have populations of more than one million by 2030.

While cities can be powerhouses of economic growth and development, without proper planning and regulation, they could, among other things, suffer soaring levels of poverty, crime and pollution, says UN-Habitat.

“Cities are the spaces where all SDGs can be integrated to provide holistic solutions to the challenges of poverty, exclusion, climate change and risks,” affirmed Ms. Sharif.

Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, told the HLPF that although there are no global homeless statistics, “housing conditions are fraught.”

She underscored that some six billion people are inadequately housed worldwide and that close to 900 million people are living in informal settlements and encampments in both the global North and South.

“If we do not find housing solutions, no State will be able to meet their Agenda 2030 commitments because without access to adequate, secure and affordable housing there is no equality, there is no end to poverty, to health and well-being, to sustained access to education, to employment,” she added.

Established in 2012, the HLPF meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at the global level. The Agenda with its 17 Global Goals were adopted in 2015 by UN Member States and aim to protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Historic Step

Meanwhile in the afternoon, New York City took the distinction of becoming the first city in the world to report directly to the international community on its efforts to reach global benchmarks in addressing poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.

Among other accomplishments, its Voluntary Local Review (VLR) showcased significant achievements in cleaner air and water, record job and wage growth, and tripling the number of children in free pre-Kindergarten.

“We encourage cities and communities to join the urgent discussion about what is working on the local level, and how we can address the shared challenges that remain on the way to reaching the Global Goals,” said Penny Abeywardena, NY Commissioner for International Affairs.

Moreover, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Wednesday, 11 July 2018, as Global Goals Day in New York City, to welcome HLPF participants and express local solidarity with efforts worldwide to achieve the goals.

Applauding the Mayor’s leadership and New York on the SDGs, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the UN recently launched the Local2030 platform for cities and local governments to pursue new pathways for low-emission growth and climate action, poverty alleviation and inclusion of the most vulnerable residents.

“This Voluntary Local Review is a first step towards such progress and I urge other cities and local governments to follow suit,” he said.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

India’s economy is growing fast, but its poorest areas lag behind. Here’s why this could be about to change

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

Embracing the diversity in a multicultural city of Romania

The role of medical students in promoting women’s rights

Venezuela: European Parliament calls for additional sanctions

UN highlights importance of skills development on World Youth Skills Day

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

17 ways technology could change the world by 2025

Human health – litmus paper for the climate change?

Mozambique cyclones a ‘wake-up call’ to boost resistance: UN weather agency

UN human rights chief regrets closure of Burundi office following Government pressure

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

Here are what UNESCO considers to be remarkable new World Heritage Sites

Coronavirus: Commission lists key steps for effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment

Cyprus President urges collective leadership to address ‘root causes’ of world’s crises

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Pedal power makes ‘positive impact on climate’, urges UN on World Bicycle Day

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

What is the Coral Triangle?

Asylum seekers in Sri Lanka fear for their safety, in wake of Easter Sunday terror attacks

This warehouse is one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Greta Thunberg at #DavosAgenda: Here’s how climate experts responded to her speech

Statement by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría on the outcome of COP 25

Deepfake democracy: Here’s how modern elections could be decided by fake news

Why leaders need to upgrade their operating systems

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

Trump reshapes the Middle East at the expenses of Europe

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

Building trust: Here’s what you need to know about The Davos Agenda 2021

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

8 fascinating and fearsome frontiers of science you should know about

South Africa’s cabinet is now 50% women for the first time ever

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

EU approves close to €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the coronavirus pandemic

UN urges ‘maximum restraint’ as Israel-Hamas tensions rise over rocket attack

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Climate change: What is COP26 and why does it matter?

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

Here’s how businesses can make the circular economy a reality

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is behind the wide reach of  fake news about Coronavirus?

Telemedicine in Brazilian favelas: The medicine of social isolation transforming public health

The Commission breathless behind the horsemeat scandal

COVID-19 is a threat to waste pickers. Here’s how to help them

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

4 ways to build a net-zero economy by 2050

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s