UN Forum spotlights cities, where the struggle for sustainability “will be won or lost”
With 55 percent of the world population living in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68 percent by 2050, urbanization is one of the most important issues when it comes to sustainable development.
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 United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which is currently coming together in New York.
Established in 2012, the HLPF meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSCO). It is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level.
According to the UN Forum, cities are where the struggle for global sustainability „will either be won or lost. “
Without proper planning and regulation, cities could, among other things, suffer soaring levels of poverty, crime, pollution and climate change. “Cities are the spaces where all SDGs can be integrated to provide holistic solutions to these challenges” affirmed Maimunah Mohd Sarif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
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Since the adoption of the SDGs, the UN has been encouraging cities and communities to join the urgent discussion about what is working at the local level, and how we can address the shared challenges that remain on the way to reaching the Global Goals. To this end, the UN recently launched the Local 2030 platform for cities and local governments in New York to pursue new pathways.
The city of Bonn provides a great example for local action - UN Bonn’s host city and its Mayor Ashok Sridharan contribute to the debate at the local, regional, and global level. As recently elected ICLEI President, Sridharan will lead the ICLEI network of more than 1,500 local and regional governments who are transforming our urban world.