Municipalities for Global Sustainability and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals
At the heart of Agenda 2030 are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are linked directly and indirectly to the municipal administration level.
Cities, towns and municipalities around the world play a central role in implementing the Agenda 2030. This collection illustrates case studies of German municipalities which contribute to the achievement of one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The present collection still does not cover the sheer variety of possibilities, but these examples encourage action.
Fact sheets on the sustainable development goals
SDG 1 - No poverty
By 2030 poverty is to be ended in all its forms. No one should have to live in extreme poverty any longer. In particular, at-risk or vulnerable groups should be enabled to follow a path out of poverty. Target 1.2 is important for Germany: By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to the German definition.
Access to food, and nutritional practices, differ widely at the global level. In developing countries hunger and malnutrition play a different role than in the northern hemisphere. When implementing SDG 2 at the local level in Germany the key aim is to improve the management of food. This involves strengthening sustainable agriculture and ensuring that consumers handle food sustainably.
Health is a human right. Improving the health of all is therefore one of the declared goals of the 2030 Agenda. Access to health facilities and preventive measures is just as important to achieving this goal as research and the development of vaccines and medicines. To improve the health of people worldwide it is also necessary to ensure health financing and professional training.
Education is a human right. It is crucial in determining how people are able to develop their capabilities and what goals they achieve in life. The 2030 Agenda aims to achieve inclusive and quality education for all plus lifelong learning, which also affects other SDGs such as reducing inequality (SDG 10). In Germany education is the responsibility of the federal states, although municipalities do play a central role in key areas such as education for sustainable development.
The United Nations has set itself the target of ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls all over the world. This includes eliminating violence against women and girls, and putting an end to child marriage and genital mutilation. It also includes recognising and appreciating unpaid care work and housework performed by women within the family, and ensuring full and effective participation and equality of opportunity for women in political, economic and public life.
Clean water and appropriate citation are essential for a healthy and dignified life. The United Nations is committed to providing universal access to clean water, improving water quality worldwide and protecting water-based ecosystems such as mountains, forests and lakes. Municipalities bear special responsibility here, because they are responsible for water supply and sanitation.
Most of the energy consumed today originates from finite fossil-based sources. Consuming them causes immense damage to the environment. For many people, the energy produced is unaffordable. This is why the United Nations intends to ensure access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services for all by 2030, and increase the percentage of renewables in the global energy mix. A further aim is to double the global rate of increase in energy efficiency.
Only sustainable economic growth will eradicate poverty and ensure decent work for all. We need to break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation. People’s lives should be improved through modern production methods and technologies. We need to make the global use of resources for consumption and production more efficient and sustainable, create decent working conditions, and promote local culture and products.
Industry, innovation and infrastructure – three central and interdependent areas that underpin our economic coexistence: no infrastructure without innovation, no industry without infrastructure. This also applies to a more sustainable future. This will require equal access to infrastructure, and the use of clean technologies that lead to environmentally sound production.
Reducing inequality and discrimination is a goal of the 2030 Agenda. This means tackling not only inequality of income and wealth, but also inequality of opportunity. Everyone should participate in economic progress and social achievements regardless of their income, gender, age, ethnicity, background or religion, and regardless of whether or not they have a disability.
Cities and municipalities are responsible for delivering general interest services. However, to an increasing extent the challenges that need to be met in municipal development and municipal management can only be tackled on a cross-sectoral basis: climate change, demographic development, migration, inclusion. To implement sustainable development at the local level, integrated strategies are needed.
SDG 12 Is about ensuring sustainable patterns of consumption and production. This means organising our economic life permanently such that we do not consume at the expense of the environment or humankind – either here or in other countries. Managing natural resources more efficiently, conserving nature, respecting human rights and social standards and ensuring fair trade – these are the challenges.
Protecting the global climate is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. The UN climate agreement reached in Paris at the end of 2015 sets the international target of keeping the increase in global temperature well below 2°C. If this target is not met there will be an increased risk of irreversible climate changes, and the scope for people and ecosystems to adapt to climate change will be reduced. SDG 13 relies on international cooperation to combat the global threat of climate change.
Earth’s sensitive marine ecosystems are under threat from pollution, overfishing and acidification. To protect them we must reduce waste and nutrient pollution. Marine and coastal ecosystems must be managed sustainably. Efforts must be made to stop acidification and put an end to over- fishing. Small-scale fishermen must be given easier access to marine resources and markets.
A wide array of strategies are required in order to fight biodiversity loss. These range from sustainable forest management to halting desertification; from ending trade in protected plants and animals, to the restoration of mountain ecosystems. The protection and sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems are also supported by the goals for food security (SDG 2), water supply (SDG 6) and climate action (SDG 13).
SDG 16 aims to create peaceful and just societies, provide universal access to justice, and build effective and accountable institutions. The aim here is to significantly reduce all violence and violence-related mortality, and especially child abuse and exploitation. This will involve strengthening the rule of law, drastically reducing illegal financial and weapons flows, and fighting organised crime.
Global sustainable development needs global partnerships. They will help mobilise financial resources, boost international knowledge sharing, make global trade more just and reduce the over-indebtedness of poor countries. Multi-stakeholder partnerships will be developed in order to support achievement of the SDGs in all countries.