As part of its commitment to delivering the goals by 2030, the UK is undertaking a voluntary national review of progress towards them. This will draw on evidence from local and national partners, and the findings will be presented to the UN in July 2019.
The evidence gathered so far has highlighted how some councils are already making an active contribution to national progress and working to embed sustainable development locally. For example, the experience of Bristol (see below) shows how the goals can be used to bring together local partners, raise awareness of sustainable development and shape local policy.
While not every council has an explicit policy related to the goals, the wide range of services and investment provided by local government invariably means they have a key role to play.
Goal 8, for example, focuses on the importance of promoting decent work and sustainable economic growth. This is an area where many councils have had an impact through the development of local industrial strategies, or through initiatives such as the London Borough of Hackney’s Inclusive Economy Commission.
Similarly, goal 5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls by making sure they have equal opportunities in all areas of life. Councils have a key role in identifying and tackling violence and harmful practices against women, such as female genital mutilation.
Of course, if councils are to play their part fully in achieving these goals, then the funding pressures they face and the scale of the challenge need to be recognised – points that the LGA will continue to make in our representations to government as part of the review.
Bristol Sustainable Development Goal Alliance
Since the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were agreed in 2015, the Bristol Sustainable Development Goal Alliance has led on driving this agenda in the city. The Alliance is a network of more than 80 stakeholders and includes representatives from local government, higher education, the private sector and civil society.
The Alliance’s work has led to the establishment of an innovative partnership between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, which has sought to link local research and engagement with the goals. This has resulted in the goals being used as a framework to develop Bristol’s new One City Plan, which offers a shared vision for Bristol in 2050.
The city is now producing a pioneering voluntary local review of its progress towards the goals, along with the development of a monitoring system that will measure progress towards the goals and the One City Plan.