NYC Mayor Links SDGs to Blueprint for City’s Future
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

‘A City with Global Goals,’ produced by the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, illustrates the connections between the SDGs and the visions, goals, initiatives and targets of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘One New York: The Plan for a Just and Strong City'.

The event focused on the localization of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), and is the first in a series of events that will look at SDGs.

16 November 2017: The New York City Mayor’s Office introduced UN Member States to two initiatives, a publication on harmonizing the SDGs with local development in New York City, and ‘One New York,’ the blueprint for NYC’s future. The event aimed to highlight the localization of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth).

The meeting took place on 16 November 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, organized by the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Permanent Mission of Belgium, the Permanent Mission of Argentina and the Cooperative Home Care Associates. The Mayor’s office introduced ‘One New York: The Plan for a Just and Strong City’ (OneNYC), which was launched in April 2015, and focuses on four interdependent visions: growth, equity, sustainability and resiliency. The representatives also introduced ‘A City with Global Goals,’ produced by the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, which illustrates the connections between the SDGs and the visions, goals, initiatives and targets of ‘One New York.’

Vision 1 of OneNYC says that NYC will “continue to be the world’s most dynamic urban economy, where families, businesses, and neighborhoods thrive.” The Office noted that the related initiatives and programmes address SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8, 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 13 (climate action).

Vision 2 (‘New York City will have an inclusive, equitable economy that offers well-paying jobs and opportunity for all New Yorkers to live with dignity and security’) includes the City’s initiatives and programs on : Early Childhood; Integrated Government and Social Services; Healthy Neighborhoods, Active Living; Healthcare Access; Criminal Justice Reform; and Vision Zero. Vision 2 addresses targets under SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, and 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions).

Vision 3 (‘New York City will be the most sustainable big city in the world and a global leader in the fight against climate change’) is comprised of initiatives and programs related to: Zero Waste; Air Quality Brownfields; Water Management; and Parks and Natural Resources. Vision 3 is paired with SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7, 10, 11, 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13, 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land).

Vision 4 (‘Our neighborhoods, economy, and public services will be ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats’) includes programs and initiatives for: Neighborhoods; Buildings; Infrastructure; and Coastal Defense. Vision 4 is paired with SDGs 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14.

Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, noted that NYC committed to create 4.9 million jobs by 2040, and will ensure that its economic growth is built on decent work in line with SDG 8.

Noting the importance of SDG 5 for achieving SDG 8, Gabriela Martinic, Permanent Mission of Argentina, said her government is pushing legislation for gender equality in three areas: autonomy and economic empowerment; participation in decision-making and political empowerment; and combatting gender-based violence. She said Argentina has also established a center for the economic development of women.

Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium, said that in 2016 in Belgium women earned in average 3.3% less than men (full-time male and female workers), which represents the smallest payment gap among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). However, he stressed, only 6% of CEOs are women, which shows that the glass ceiling remains in place and makes law enforcement and accountability paramount. To that end, he stated, Belgium has advanced legislation that requires companies of all sizes to report yearly on the gender payment gap.

Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, ILO, emphasized the importance of localizing SDGs in cities, since most jobs will be created at the city level. Thus, mayors have the first responsibility and should be held accountable through the public vote. In order to achieve SDG 8, he stressed the need to extend social protection, social protection floors, parental leaves, pensions and support for people with disabilities, and to promote employment for youth and migrants.

Lorelei Salas, Commissioner, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, presented legislation implemented by the NYC Mayor’s Office to support SDG 8: employers are forbidden to ask about the salary history in order to avoid perpetuating discriminative payment practices; victims of human trafficking or domestic violence are legally allowed paid leave to help them rebuild their lives; and freelancer workers have increased protection, as of May 2017. She underscored that vulnerable communities have rights, noting that NYC has strong penalties for employers’ retaliation against victims of discrimination.

Lamont Spence, Cooperative Home Care Associates, said that workers own the company, so they receive part of its profits and can be members of the board. Most of the company’s employees come from vulnerable communities, he noted, and the company offers a free four-week training for individuals with little or no work experience and a financial literacy program, as many of the workers are unbanked.

Abeywardena said the event was the first in a series. Future events will address other SDGs. [Publication: Global Vision | Urban Action – A City with Global Goals] [OneNYC Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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