April 2019: New York City has released its strategy ‘OneNYC 2050’ based on the premise that the fights for environmental sustainability, economic equality and social justice are “deeply intertwined.” The strategy outlines eight goals and 30 related initiatives that align with the SDGs, and is accompanied by an action plan and ten indicators to track progress on implementation.

In 2018, New York City was the first city in the world to release a Voluntary Local Review (VLR) of city-level progress on the SDGs. As noted in this SDG Knowledge Hub story, the VLR was presented during the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and was modeled after the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) presented by countries at the yearly HLPF that take place under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) each July.

OneNYC 2050 was released on 22 April 2019. The strategy includes eight volumes, each focusing on one specific goal: a vibrant democracy; an inclusive economy; thriving neighborhoods; healthy lives; equity and excellence in education; a livable climate; efficient mobility; and modern infrastructure. Each volume also outlines the SDGs that align with each OneNYC Goal.

Among other elements, the strategy seeks to:

  • Reach carbon neutrality by 2050, by pursuing steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from buildings, and by sourcing 100% clean electricity, while creating green jobs and holding polluters responsible for climate-related costs;
  • Lead by example on climate change by ending City purchases of unnecessary single-use plastic foodware, by committing to a carbon neutral City fleet by 2040, by pursuing expanding mandatory organics collection citywide, and by undertaking comprehensive projects to mitigate climate risk;
  • Introduce congestion pricing, to reduce traffic in Manhattan and generate funds for essential subway repairs and enhancements, while improving bus service;
  • Guarantee health care for every New Yorker to create the most comprehensive, universal coverage in the nation for uninsured New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay or their immigration status;
  • Expand the municipal ID card to enable banking access for more than one million underbanked New Yorkers;
  • Support working New Yorkers by aggressively enforcing fair wage and work regulations, and by expanding retirement and other benefits for workers not covered through their employer; and
  • Protect tenants from displacement by guaranteeing legal counsel to all New Yorkers facing eviction by 2022, and by more aggressively monitoring and penalizing unscrupulous landlords.

OneNYC 2050 is accompanied by an action plan that specifies the lead agencies for each goal, as well as milestones to complete by 31 December 2020 and by 31 December 2021. It notes that implementing the initiatives will require coordination across all City agencies and offices, as well as private and nonprofit partners, global peers, and New Yorkers.

The strategy also includes ten indicators to track progress on implementation. It notes that the indicators intentionally cut across challenges, goals, and the work of city agencies to reflect the interconnectedness of the actions required to achieve the OneNYC 2050 vision. These indicators are:

  • Voter turnout rate in local elections;
  • Total jobs;
  • New Yorkers lifted out of or near poverty;
  • Share of low-income renter households that are severely rent burdened;
  • Earnings disparity by race;
  • Premature mortality rate;
  • Air quality;
  • New Yorkers who graduate high-school on time;
  • GHG eliminated, reduced or offset; and
  • Share of New York City trips by sustainable mode.

According to the strategy, the City will track and publish these indicators every year to assess progress and course-correct as needed. It also invites New Yorkers to hold the City accountable.

As noted in this SDG Knowledge Hub summary, New York City has started a partnership with Helsinki, Finland, which is expected to present its VLR in the summer of 2019. [OneNYC 2050]