“We resolve, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.”
In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit adopted a new framework to guide development efforts between 2015 and 2030, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development’. The 2030 Agenda contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and 169 targets. The SDGs address, in an integrated manner, the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development, their interrelations, aspects related to peaceful societies and effective institutions, as well as means of implementation (finance, technology, capacity development, etc.). Heads of State and Government also committed to engage in the systematic follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The follow-up and review will be based on regular, voluntary and inclusive country-led progress reviews at the national level feeding into reviews at the regional and global levels.
By endorsing a stand-alone goal on cities (Goal 11), known as the ‘Urban SDG’, – “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” – the international community recognised urbanisation and city-growth as a transformative force for development. This first-ever international agreement on urban-specific development acknowledges sustainable urban development as a fundamental precondition for sustainable development. UN-Habitat has prepared a ‘Monitoring Framework’ as a guide to assist national and local governments in their efforts to collect, analyse, validate data and information in view of the preparation of country-based reports. The Monitoring Framework provides the use of necessary definitions, method of computation and metadata of indicators, including spatial indicators. It also includes global, national and local monitoring to support the implementation of SDG Goal 11 targets. The proposed indicators for Goal 11 are illustrated in the Figure below.
The 17 SDGs update and expand on the preceding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One major difference between the pre-2015 and post-2015 goals is that the former was seen to largely apply to developing countries, while the SDGs are expected to apply to all countries uniformly.
It is paramount to capitalise on indicators developed for the SDGs and Goal 11 in particular. However, given our territorial focus on the urban-rural continuum and integrated approach, also other Goals and their indicators are of great importance for the application of the Guidelines – their urban and territorial dimensions and components in particular. Additional indicators should be developed complementary to the SDG indicators, as well to the eventual New Urban Agenda indicators – see further.
For mayors and local leaders that are working to improve the quality of life in urban environments, the SDGs provide a roadmap for more balanced and equitable urban development. All cities aim to increase prosperity, promote social inclusion, and enhance resilience and environmental sustainability. In this way the SDGs capture large parts of the existing political agenda in virtually every city. When aligned with existing planning frameworks and development priorities, they can strengthen development outcomes and provide additional resources for local governments.
proposed indicators for monitoring sustainable development goal 11
The digital platform ‘Localising the SDGs’, supported by the Global Taskforce, UNDP and UN-Habitat fosters and enables local governments to share knowledge on how to localise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The platform aims to provide practical direction in assessing, planning, implementing and monitoring local policies related to the SDGs, featuring tools to share experiences, discuss issues and ideas and post events and resources. In addition, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in partnership with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and CityNet, launched the ‘Urban Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform’ to share innovative practices in urban policy, planning and management from around the region.
Back in 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to mobilise global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Following their adoption, the network is now committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at local, national, and global scales.
 Operating Paragraph 3 of the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
 SDG Goal 11 Monitoring Framework, op. cit.