19 January 2022
VLR Lab Adds Four Recent Local SDG Reviews
Yokohama, Japan / Viviane Okubo on Unsplash
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Voluntary Local Review reports were prepared by Tokyo, Yokohama, Kaohsiung, and Orlando in 2021.

VLRs are produced by local governments and comprise evaluations of the local entity's action on the SDGs.

In December 2021, the online Voluntary Local Review (VLR) Lab added four VLRs to its collection. The reports were prepared by Tokyo, Yokohama, Kaohsiung, and Orlando. The VLR Lab is an online platform offering information about actions that cities and regions are taking to implement the SDGs. 

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) manages the VLR Lab. VLRs are produced by local governments and comprise evaluations of the local entity’s action on the SDGs. 

Tokyo Sustainability Action‘ was launched in March 2021. This VLR identifies crises the city is facing, noting that COVID-19 and the climate crises are faced by all of humanity while a shrinking and aging population, the decline of the Japanese economy in the world stage, and earthquakes and volcanic eruption risks are particular to Japan’s experience. The VLR goes on to introduce “Future Tokyo: Tokyo’s Long-Term Strategy,’ which identifies 20 visions for Tokyo in the 2040s. This strategy for Tokyo includes 20+1 strategies and 122 projects to implement the strategies. The strategies will be rolled out between 2021 and 2030. 

The projects include:

  • initiatives that will integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions, such as the Tokyo Bay eSG Project – Creating Japan’s future from Tokyo Bay;
  • initiatives that focus on building the economy, such as Smart Tokyo: TOKYO Data Highway Strategy;
  • initiatives that focus on the “society” dimension of sustainable development, such as the Strategy for Putting Smiles on the Faces of Children and Strategy for Promoting Women’s Empowerment;
  • initiatives that focus on the environment, such as the Strategy for Making Tokyo a City Filled with Water and Greenery and the Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy;
  • initiatives that promote the reform of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, such as the Strategy for Structural Reform of the Tokyo Government; and 
  • initiatives to promote partnerships, such as the All-Japan Partnership Strategy.

Yokohama’s VLR titled, ‘Voluntary Local Review 2021 Yokohama: Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ discusses the city’s policy and enabling environment, methodology to implement the SDGs at the local level, progress on Goals and Targets, and means of implementation. Specific projects related to SDG implementation in Yokohama include the following:

  • “Yokohama SDGs Design Center,” which connects regional actors with industrial technologies and knowledge of companies
    and universities; 
  • “Y-SDGs certification system,” which helps local companies and organizations that promote the SDGs;
  • public-private partnerships such as the development of a “Renewable Energy Utilization Strategy”; and 
  • a public assistance program for vulnerable people.

The ‘2021 Kaohsiung City Voluntary Local Review‘ identifies key sustainable development strategies and actions related to the city’s economy, employment, education, quality of life, and peace of mind. With regard to the economy, the city is using land planning, building and transforming business districts, fostering innovative industries and the cultural sector, and creating sustainable consumption and production patterns. With regard to employment, the city is improving the investment environment and ensuring the right to work of different groups, among other activities. The section on education includes actions on online and action learning, senior education, and parent-child reading promotion. The section on quality of life includes actions on social housing construction for housing justice, inclusive parks, and convenient and diverse public transportation. The peace of mind section includes actions on disaster prevention and rescue capabilities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving tribal infrastructure, and maintaining the city’s biodiversity.

The VLR titled ‘Orlando and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Voluntary Local Review of Progress‘ outlines progress towards the following SDGs: 

  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 

Among the recommendations for future action, the Orlando VLR calls for addressing indicators for which data is current unavailable, addressing the remaining SDGs in a follow-up VLR, and using the VLR to deepen engagement at all levels. This section notes that the VLR found 37 indicators among the nine priority SDGs that are relevant to Green Works Orlando, but for which data is not currently available and recommends filling these gaps. It also highlights that future iterations of the report can bring No Poverty (SDG 1), Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5), Decent Work (SDG 8), Industry and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Sustainable Cities (SDG 11), Life Below Water (SDG 14), and Peace and Justice (SDG 16) into focus.

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