13 July 2018
New York City Presents First-ever Voluntary Local Review at HLPF
Photo Credit: Lynn Wagner
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At the HLPF, New York became the first city to submit a Voluntary Local Review to the UN, demonstrating local progress towards the SDGs.

The VLR highlights the City’s OneNYC strategy, developed in 2015 to deliver on a vision of growth, equity, sustainability and resiliency.

Mayor Bill de Blasio designated 11 July Global Goals Day.

11 July 2018: New York City became the first city to present its Voluntary Local Review (VLR). The city’s VLR focuses on the OneNYC strategy released in 2015, highlighting synergies between the strategy and the SDGs.

Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, New York City, presented New York’s VLR during the SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) review by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Similar to countries’ Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), the VLR is based on guidance for country reporting provided by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Division for Sustainable Development (DSD).

The VLR notes that 71 City agencies developed and continue to work towards OneNYC’s visions of growth, equity, sustainability and resiliency, and highlights the most relevant SDGs for each of these visions. The OneNYC strategy aims, among other objectives, to lift nearly a million New Yorkers out of poverty (SDG 1), expand access to nutritious, affordable food (SDG 2), and protect residents who are vulnerable to climate change (SDGs 11, 13). New York’s VLR highlights that, since OneNYC’s release, all planned initiatives under the strategy have been launched, and progress is being made on over 80% of OneNYC indicators.

The OneNYC strategy aims to lift nearly a million New Yorkers out of poverty.

Focusing on the Goals under review at this year’s HLPF, namely SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11, SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), and SDG 15 (life on land), the VLR, developed through collaboration across multiple City agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Operations, Climate Policy & Programs and others that work on water, sanitation, energy, housing, production and consumption, and land use, highlights the City’s Global Vision | Urban Action program, which shares New York’s innovations in sustainability with the world.

The VLR notes three areas for action in 2019: strengthening partnerships established between City agencies and SDG stakeholders; including a deeper reflection of civil society and business partnerships; and seeking out opportunities to discuss the content, format and process of the VLR with other cities and subnational governments to enhance SDG monitoring and reporting.

In her remarks during the session reviewing SDG 11, Abeywardena underscored that, although the SDGs may be national commitments, more than half the world’s population now lives in urban centers. The New York City Mayor’s Office, she noted, is uniquely positioned to amplify policies and practices from cities around the world.

In recognition of the event and the review of SDG 11 at the HLPF, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a Mayoral Proclamation designating 11 July Global Goals Day. The Mayor’s Office for International Affairs also organized a series of site visits for the UN community to share best practices. The City’s Department of Transportation co-organized a walking tour showcasing some of the City’s sustainability initiatives in line with the SDGs one day prior to the VLR’s presentation. [NYC Voluntary Local Review Homepage] [Global Vision | Urban Action Homepage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on SDG 11 Review] [IISD RS Coverage of SDG 11 Review]

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