Yokohama City in Japan is one of the cities participating and represented in the “SDG Leadership Cities Network” hosted by the Brookings Institution. The Network is comprised of representatives from municipalities around the world dedicated to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): the 17 goals created by the United Nations to serve as a framework for sustainable development, including environmental preservation, social equality, and global partnership. The SDG Leadership Cities Network has allowed city representatives engaged in the SDGs to have in-depth discussions with other likeminded colleagues around the world to share best practices, discuss progress, and debate future action.
The Brookings Institution has just released a new report, titled “Local Leadership Driving Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons from three years of the Brookings SDG Leadership Cities Network” compiling the results and accumulated experience from the Network’s three years of discussions and meetings.
2030 has been designated as a target for achieving the SDGs around the world. In many cases, greater acceleration and focus on efforts will be required to meet 2030 goals. As globalization continues, leadership at the city level on global challenges is gaining in importance.
This report from the SDG Leadership Cities Network summarizes the role that cities can play in the achievement of the global goals based on actual examples from the participating cities in the network.
According to the report, the following are the observed effects of SDGs promotion and advancement on cities:
- Setting policy priorities and shifting policy approaches to focus on long-term goals and transformative change.
- Realizing the commonality of priorities shared across sectors
- Strengthening the city’s policy interventions to advance equity and sustainability
- Shifting government budgeting and procurement to align spending with policy commitments
- Using regular reporting to measure progress, hold themselves accountable, and reveal gaps
- Initiating efforts to measure the “SDG effect” on community outcomes
- Using the SDGs to review whether internal governance structures create barriers or facilitate cooperation
- Enhancing partnerships and coordination across sectors and jurisdictions
- Driving local progress through community awareness and engagement
- Using the long-term horizon of the SDGs to recognize the need for continuity and persistence of policy over time
- Exploring new investment partnerships with the private sector
- Increasing advocacy to influence the international financial system
- Providing a platform to align multiple levels of government
- Accelerating city-to-city cooperation to foster national policy change
- Interjecting cities more forcefully into global agendas
As the only member of the SDG Leadership Cities Network from either Japan or Asia, Yokohama City has been honored to participate in the network and share the experiences and practical cases its efforts locally and across Asia. In this report, some of Yokohama City’s most successful initiatives are presented, including the certification system of SDGs-focused companies (Y-SDGs) as an example of conversion of public procurement, and urban problem solving support (Y-PORT) in emerging cities as an example of intercity cooperation.