SDGs Cities Challenge

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

SDGs Cities Challenge Map - Connected Cities Lab

Connected Cities Lab is working with the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia and Banksia Foundation to identify the best approach for cities to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a new participatory action research project.

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 (in 2020 it runs Monday 28 September to Friday 2 October 2020), 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 will be 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.

ABP Symposium – Introducing the SDGs City Challenge Participants

There is a wealth of resources available for cities and business to support the implementation of the SDGs however it is not always easy to find a methodology that best fits a city’s local context and identifies appropriate local solutions. The SDGs Cities Challenge links cities with their urban partners in academia, business and community in a structured process of co-design. This create innovative approaches for cities to accelerate action towards the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG11, using an initiative or project to which they are already committed.

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2020 Cities Cohort

The 2020 SDGs Cities Challenge began on 13 May 2020 with ten initial cities across Oceania and the Asia-Pacific region:

2020 Challenge timeline

Sunday 9 February 2020

SDGs Cities Challenge launched at the World Urban Forum, Abu Dhabi

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Webinar 1: Introductions, Sustainable Development Goals

  • Introductions to Connected Cities Lab, Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, Banksia Foundation
  • Introductions to cities, each outlining their individual Challenges and motivations for joining the Challenge
  • Discussions on localising the Sustainable Development Goals
Wednesday 10 June 2020

Webinar 2: Understanding your challenge in the context of the SDGs, partnerships discussion begins

  • Linkages between Challenge areas; both with fellow Challenge Cities, and the 17 SDGs
  • Linkages that Challenge Cities currently have with implementation partners to identify gaps in knowledge, as well as outlining possible future solution providers for intensive workshop at Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning Symposium
Wednesday 15 July 2020

Webinar 3: Voluntary Local Reviews and beginning to understand your solutions. Knowing your data and data capabilities

  • Learn how to develop a Voluntary Local Review, and why this could be useful to cities as they localise the SDGs
  • Understand the different ways VLRs have been developed to date, and what the current best practice is for VLR development
  • Map out the data each city holds to ‘baseline’ the relevant SDG indicators relating to each city’s given challenge area
Wednesday 12 August 2020

Webinar 4: Profiling your challenge

  • Form a complete understanding of participating City Challenges – including finalising known information and data associated with Challenge.
  • Obtain feedback from other City Challenge participants on Challenge.
  • Specify questions and knowledge gaps for expert input, in the context of addressing these at the intensive workshop(s).
  • Initial preparation for the breakout session(s) at the SDGs, Climate Change and Cities Symposium on October 1 & 2
Wednesday 16 September 2020

Webinar 5: Mapping implementation, including partnerships with academia and business

Monday 28 September 2020

2020 ABP SDGs, Cities and Climate Change Symposium:

28-30 September - Intensive Workshop for cities

1-2 October - Symposium

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Webinar 6: Group learning and engagement post-workshop and symposium

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Webinar 7: End of SDGs Cities Challenge: Pathways Forward, Implementation & VLR Development

Project team

Project partners