POLICY ENGAGEMENT: Tracking Urban-to-Global SDG Infrastructure Linkages at UN High Level Political Forum

June 25, 2018

The Sustainable Healthy Cities Network, together with the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, will host a side event at the 2018 United Nations High Level Political Forum on  Sustainable Development. The event is titled Metrics for Tracking Urban-to-Global SDG Infrastructure Linkages: Science-to-Policy Listening Session on Knowledge Needs and Practice Constraints.”

The event will be held Monday July 9th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm  at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. If you are interested in attending, please register here.

Globally, infrastructure and food supply sectors—sectors that provide energy, water, food, buildings, transportation-communication, waste management services, and public spaces in human settlements—influence our ability to attain almost all of the SDGs. In the context of urban areas, these sectors shape a number of sustainability outcomes within urban boundaries, as indicated in the New Urban Agenda and SDG 11. While a perspective focused on cities’ geographic jurisdictions is helpful to a certain extent for individual cities wishing to advance human and environmental wellbeing, the larger implications of urbanization for planetary sustainability require a view that looks at cities as part of larger systems.

Understanding the full, systemic set of SDG linkages across infrastructure and food sectors from a cross-scale perspective can advance sustainability both locally within cities, as well as regionally and globally.

From a practice perspective, developing transboundary metrics that complement metrics purely focused within a city’s boundary, raises both opportunities and challenges. The objective of this event is to generate an open dialogue about technical best practices, as well as policy and practice opportunities and constraints, for tracking urban-to-global linkages between urban infrastructure/food system choices and SDGs that affect resource use, the economy, inequality, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and the climate.

This session will discuss locally as well as cross-scale relevant metrics for tracking urban sustainability actions focusing on four grounded topic areas that are emblematic of simultaneously local and transboundary challenges:

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Air pollution
  3. Water stress
  4. Land expansion and consumption

The goal of the session is to better understand opportunities and constraints in mainstreaming transboundary SDG-infrastructure linkages and concepts as guides for practice, public investment, and policymaking.

For additional information, please contact