The Office of the City of Yokohama Rep. to the Americas participated as the representative of Yokohama city in the third convening of the SDG Leadership Cities Network hosted for the first time virtually by Brookings Institution from June 16th to 18th. The main topic of discussion during the conference was the relationship between upholding the SDGs and moving toward recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. City representatives shared and discussed their challenges and efforts in the process of recovery and moving towards the new normal through the lenses of “Equity and Sustainability”, “Governance and Partnership” and “Data and Financing”.
The City of Yokohama established a coronavirus response task force and headquarters headed by the mayor to address the crisis. Under the policies decided by the national government, the city has been protecting the healthcare system and restarting the economy in conjunction with the rest of Kanagawa prefecture,prioritizing measures that are relevant to citizens’ daily lives. The participating representative of Yokohama shared during the meeting that the city is launching a “SDGs Business Support Project” which provides companies with a grant for the development of innovative products/services that incorporate the SDGs into a new normal.
Around the world, COVID-19 has been re-exposing the structural problems of poverty and racism, and exacerbating existing inequalities. Many of the conference’s participants announced that the issue of equity had become their core priority during recovery. In the participating U.S. cities, equity indicator data has taken a large role in influencing policy-making. In addition, one European city introduced deep socio-economic analysis tools into their efforts to grapple with the balance between environment, society and the economy. Another challenge many cities currently face is securing the necessary funds to continue their initiatives for recovery, and participants of the conference reaffirmed that partnerships with the private sector and citizens are imperative.
The SDGs Leadership Cities Networks will continue discussions about COVID-19 and the SDGs as recovery efforts proceed, while individual cities work to turn discussion points and shared experience from this and past meetings into concrete, actionable policies.
Some concrete actions shared during the meeting:
Doughnut economics (Amsterdam*) *Introduced by the Brookings Institution