ICLEI Briefing Sheets

ICLEI Briefing Sheets are a service of the ICLEI World Secretariat to provide background information on current themes and debates regarding local and urban sustainability.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015

01 - From MDGs to SDGs

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the centerpiece of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, were adopted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. This briefing sheet explains the formation of the SDGs and examines factors that can contribute to or limit their success.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

02 - Cities and the Sustainable Development Goals

Although they have been adopted by national governments, the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are fundamentally relevant to local and city level actors. This briefing sheet documents why cities and local governments are crucial for the successful implementation of the SDGs.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

03 - Introducing a new Global Goal for Cities and Human Settlements

Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11) aims at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030. By shifting focus from national states to urban areas, it launches a whole new era of international development - cities will be the heartbeat of this era.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

04 - The importance of all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for cities and communities

The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that global development issues, including poverty and hunger, will not be solved without leadership. A dedicated goal (SDG 11) focused on cities and human settlements, calls for the leadership of local governments, yet the role of local actors extends beyond achieving the SDG 11. This briefing sheet aims to describe the importance of cities and human settlements in attaining all 17 goals by 2030. It is divided into 17 separate briefs, providing the major cross-cutting links between sustainable development, urbanization and local governance.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

05 - Implementing the SDGs in cities

The world has agreed to implement 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Due to the scope of the global urban transition, major successes or failures will hinge upon progress made on the urban goal (SDG 11), as well as on the ability of global actors to localize all 17 SDGs. This briefing sheet describes how a new governance regime and means of implementation can enable different stakeholders – from frontrunners to followers – to drive change.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

06 - Measuring, Monitoring and Evaluating the SDGs

The targets laid out by the SDGs will serve as a management tool to help national and sub-national governments develop implementation strategies and allocate resources accordingly. This briefing sheet examines the role that data and indicators will play in ensuring transparency and accountability in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and for monitoring progress towards the SDG targets at the sub-national level.

In German/Auf Deutsch

07 - Towards the New Urban Agenda

Linking with international processes

In 2016, the Habitat III conference will set a New Urban Agenda of the United Nations for the next 20 years. The goal is to shape regional and national urban agendas worldwide. This brief explains how four major processes and landmark events in 2015 addressing disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework/ HFA2), financing for development (AAAA), global sustainable development goals (SDGs), and the new post-2020 climate regime (COP21) have set the scene and will shape this new global agenda for cities and local governments in the years to come.

Also available in German/Auf Deutsch

Climate Series 2015 (COP21)

01 - A brief history of Local Government climate advocacy

Local Government Climate Roadmap - mission [almost] accomplished!

On the eve of the COP21 and what is hoped to be an ambitious and breakthrough global climate agreement, ICLEI takes a look back at 25 years of climate advocacy by local and subnational governments. In particular, the Local Government Climate Roadmap is concluding its eight year quest for the recognition, engagement, and empowerment of local and subnational governments as governmental stakeholders in the global climate regime.

02 - Vertical Integration

between levels of government to effectively address climate change

Vertical integration between different levels of government – from national to local – provides a platform for fruitful interaction, joint planning and coordination, all of which are essential to the mutual reinforcement of approaches for addressing climate change, sustainable energy planning, implementation and reporting..

03 - Friends of Cities

Good practices in multi-level partnerships for scaling up climate action

To tackle climate change, all levels of government must work together. To enhance local and subnational climate action, the Friends of Cities at the UNFCCC strive to ensure the recognition of the important role of local and subnational governments as well as their engagement and empowerment in national and global processes on climate change.

04 - Forging Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable actions to tackle climate change

Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable (MRV) action at the local level

is paramount for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to avoid breaching tipping points of dangerous and irreversible anthropogenic changes to the global climate system. This brief explains what MRV entails and what its benefits are.

05 - Reporting Platforms

for local and subnational climate action

Through ambitious and committed climate action, local and subnational governments have made a convincing case for a more significant role within international climate change dialogues, as well as for increased access to financing for low-carbon strategies. For this to happen, however, local and subnational governments need the legitimacy which comes with high quality, measurable, reportable, and verifiable data. This briefing sheet details protocols, GHG inventory tools, and reporting platforms which can provide this legitimacy, and multiply the scope of local and subnational government climate action.

06 - The Transformative Actions Program (TAP)

Linking with finance to TAP the potential of local climate action

The Transformative Actions Program (TAP) is a collaborative initiative to improve access to existing capital flows for cities and regions, catalyzing and accelerating additional capital flows, and maximizing investment in low-carbon and climate resilient urban development and governance processes.

07 - Cities and Regions are ready for COP21! #WeAreReady

But what is happening and where?

Cities and regions have made it clear that they are ready to scale-up their climate action at and beyond the COP21 in Paris. And while a considerable amount of this activity is going to be focused around the Cities & Regions Pavilion in the Green Zone, the power of local action is going to influence an ambitious Paris Climate Package through advocacy efforts in the Blue Zone and throughout the City of Paris. This briefing sheet outlines what is happening and where.


Come rain or shine: Water resource management lessons from Bangkok

Bangkok, as the major economic and political hub of Thailand and one of the largest metropolises in Southeast Asia, is a beacon of efficient water management in the region. The City’s actions, undertaken despite a failing centralized system and rising climate change pressure, could benefit millions of people.

Building Urban Resilience in Small Island Cities, Towns & Provinces

The towns and cities of small island and archipelago-based nations are often overlooked by international urban resilience policies and programs due to the small populations involved. However, these cities and towns are some of the most vulnerable, diverse, and rapidly growing urban centers anywhere in the world.

Nature-Based Solutions

Nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development

Planting trees to improve urban air quality, converting abandoned industrial sites into urban parks, greening roofs to reduce buildings’ energy use, and restoring
degraded wetlands to prevent floods: Nature-based solutions are increasingly being implemented in urban areas to enhance resilience, support sustainable development, and safeguard biodiversity. Good practice examples from Germany and China showcase the potential of nature-based solutions for urban areas emphasizing their multiple social, environmental and economic benefits.

(German Version)(Chinese Version)

China's 'Sponge City' Concept

By turning cities into “sponges” China aims to restore urban water cycles and improve urban resilience to flood and drought events. The city-wide deployment of nature-based solutions such as green roofs, pervious pavements and bioremediation along with the restoration of urban and peri-urban wetlands and rivers lie at the heart of the national initiative.

(German Version)(Chinese Version)

Latest Briefing Sheet

Nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development

Nature-based solutions are increasingly being implemented in urban areas to enhance resilience, support sustainable development, and safeguard biodiversity. Good practice examples from Germany and China showcase the potential of nature-based solutions for urban areas emphasizing their multiple social, environmental and economic benefits.

Contact: urban.research@iclei.org

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