LOCALISING GLOBAL GOALS IN AUSTRALIA’S GLOBAL CITY: SYDNEY
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are universal, adopted by world leaders to provide an ambitious 15-year outlook across social, economic and environmental objectives. They offer a cross-disciplinary approach to respond to a rapidly changing global environment. The UN recognises the importance of cities in achieving the SDGs. More than half of the world’s inhabitants live in cities and this is a trend that will continue. This integrated and long-term approach to addressing development is not new to city and regional strategic planning practices. Strategic urban planning practices adopt a process of research, setting mechanisms, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to work towards a preferred economic and social geography of the city. Strategic planning for cities has a lead role in connecting the global aspirations in the SDGs to local action. At a simple level, measuring and monitoring a consistent set of indicators – such as the SDGs – will highlight important spatial differences that national reporting cannot distinguish. However, ad-hoc SDG plans will not realise the full potential of the SDG framework. Achieving the SDGs goals and targets will require alignment with existing local processes for integrated spatial planning and investment. This paper draws on Australian strategic planning for cities. In particular, Greater Sydney and the role of both the newly established Greater Sydney Commission and local governments through community strategic plans. Greater Sydney – as Australia’s global city – has a major national role in reaching the ambitious SDG targets. This requires reflection on local circumstances, through evidence based research and public input, to identify needs and priorities backed up with actions to deliver real change. These actions need to be supported by a comprehensive indicator and performance management framework to focus implementation, allocate resources and provide greater accountability. Achievement of the SDGs requires a local response and the urban planning profession has a lead role.
sustainable development indicators, UN sustainable development goals, governance, city planning, strategic planning, Sydney