30 July 2019
City of Los Angeles Highlights SDG Efforts with Voluntary Local Review
Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash
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Los Angeles is one of the first cities in the world to report on its progress and ongoing challenges in reaching the SDGs.

The city has been examining each SDG target to determine whether it applies, and if not, whether it should be revised to do so while meeting its original intent.

LA’s Green New Deal released in April 2019 provides a “global model for local action” to address the climate crisis, and underscores the need for equity and justice to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

18 July 2019: The City of Los Angeles, California, US, released a “voluntary local review” (VLR) of progress towards the SDGs. The review details efforts to: achieve cleaner air and water, clean energy, green jobs and environmental justice through the City’s Green New Deal; increase access to affordable education workforce training; reduce income inequality and close gaps in economic prosperity; and meet targets on public safety, transportation and hunger.

The City’s ‘LA SDGs’ website notes that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation approached the City of Los Angeles and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles with the idea to pilot implementation of the SDGs in Los Angeles, and funded this effort with support to the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.

The office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the City’s first VLR during an event hosted by the Government of Canada, and with the World Council on City Data (WCCD) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on the sidelines of the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York, US. The mayor’s office also notes support for its VLR efforts from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) Local Data Action Solutions Initiative (LDA-SI).

The report describes how Los Angeles has mapped its policy initiatives to support the SDGs, and the City’s efforts to expand shelters, housing and services for the homeless and to provide equal economic opportunities for women and girls. The mayor’s office reports that the City has been examining each SDG target to determine its relevance, and if it is found to not apply, to consider revising it to do so while meeting its original intent. Thus far, the City has published data for indicators related to SDGs 5 (gender equity), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). It notes that it is still exploring data sources for other indicators related to these and other SDGs.

In April 2019, the City presented its Green New Deal, which provides a “global model for local action” to address the climate crisis. The Deal’s goals include: achieving carbon neutrality and zero waste sent to landfills by 2050, and 100% renewable energy by 2045; recycling 100% of wastewater by 2035; sourcing 70% of all wastewater locally by 2035; and planting 90,000 trees by 2021. In the foreword to the report, Garcetti writes that the Deal represents the “integrated and indivisible nature” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and underscores the need for equity and justice to achieve the Agenda.

Los Angeles is also working to localize and progress on the SDGs ahead of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, partnering with students and faculty from universities to capture data and align plans with the SDGs.

The review notes that Los Angeles has partnered with New York (US), Helsinki (Finland) and other cities on methodology and knowledge sharing.

Accompanying the VLR’s launch, the City also launched two websites. One gathers content from the Los Angeles community to create an index of SDG-related activities in the City. The second is a local data reporting platform that is built with open-source code, and others are invited to use the code to build their own reporting platforms. [Mayor’s Office Press Release] [Publication: Los Angeles Sustainable Development Goals: A Voluntary Local Review of Progress in 2019] [Methodology for Revising National SDG Targets for the City of Los Angeles] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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