Many cities are experiencing high levels of growth, particularly in parts of Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Latin America. As countries urbanize, populations and economies become concentrated in urban areas, leading to changes in lifestyle and work. Many cities, however, are struggling to sustainably manage this transition. It is often a challenge to provide access to land and housing, support basic livelihoods, supply municipal services and implement longer-term planning and policy decisions.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development maps out a path towards greater sustainability. The 2030 Agenda builds upon the Millennium Development Goals and calls on countries to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 15 years, through efforts to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
The SDGs explicitly acknowledge the important role that cities play in the pursuit of sustainable development. This is particularly the case with Goal 11, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. At the same time, cities will play a critical role in the 2030 Agenda, because much of the action required will be taken at the local level. For example, cities are critical actors in the implementation of SDG 6, which calls for the “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”; SDG2, which seeks to end hunger and achieve food security; and SDG 3 which focuses on “ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages”. In addition to these interlinkages, cities will also play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change and the implementation of commitments made by governments in Paris at COP-21 of the UNFCCC.
Already, many cities are formulating and implementing innovative policy, projects, programmes and other initiatives designed to achieve sustainable growth and development. These initiatives need to be shared. New approaches to urban sustainability, proven strategies and tested best practices should be fostered and promoted across the region.
In this way, the Urban SDG Knowledge Platform is a unique mechanism for exchanging ideas and experience. The Platform aims to support cities in meeting the challenges of sustainable urban development by fostering knowledge sharing, dissemination and cooperation, and advancing urban innovation. Through the Platform, members and visitors can share and discuss, learn and collaborate for a sustainable urban future.
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