SDGs Cities Challenge

A collaborative project contributing to the implementation of key urban Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets and indicators

The Melbourne Centre for Cities is running the SDGs Cities Challenge for a second time, this year with local governments across Australia, New Zealand, and the USA.

Delivered in collaboration with ICLEI USA and partnership with Brookings, United Nations Association of Australia (VIC), and the University of Texas at Arlington. The Challenge aims to encourage cities to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals while also contributing to a collaborative research project documenting how cities use global frameworks for local impact and vice versa.

Participating cities will undertake the six-month program that brings them together in a collaborative, learn-and-do group-training engagement to gain SDG expertise and align city goals with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The engagement will offer deep-dive technical assistance and a facilitated learning environment supported by the 2021 cohort of cities and diverse guest speakers, as each community assesses and aligns its urban challenges against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2021 SDGs Cities Challenge begins on 14 July 2021 with eight initial cities and counties from the United States:

    • Atlanta, Georgia
    • Dallas, Texas
    • Denton, Texas
    • Fayetteville, Arkansas
    • Maui County, Hawai’i
    • New Haven, Connecticut
    • Orange County, Florida
    • San Antonio, Texas

What is the SDGs Cities Challenge?

The SDGs Cities Challenge asks interested cities to align an existing or new project to a key urban SDGs target.  Solutions relating to this project are worked through via a collaborative process, using knowledge and practical expertise in local government, academia and business, offering each city the opportunity to produce an implementation plan, and ultimately a voluntary local review (VLR) aligned to the SDGs.

The SDGs Cities Challenge is a comprehensive, long-term program aligned with the 2030 Development Agenda. The ten-month program is centred around an annual five-day workshop, which gives participating cities the opportunity to share their experiences and urban challenges and their progress in mapping their work against the SDGs with expert support from a diverse group of urban stakeholders.

Two days of the 2020 workshop was a key feature of the Annual Symposium of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, allowing the audience to learn from the participating cities of the SDGs Cities Challenge. The symposium was titled Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change and Cities and outputs are available via the buttons below.

Download the 2020 SDGs Climate Change and Cities final report

Visit the 2020 SDGs Cities Challenge webpage

Project team

Person Position Phone Email
Cathy Oke Deputy Director (Strategy and Operations), Lead: Symposium, Marketing and Communications
Alexei Trundle Associate Director (International), Lead: International Partnerships
Amelia Leavesley Scaling sustainability: the role of cities in multilevel waste governance