August 14, 2014 | By Neal Peirce
As Citiscope reported this week, a United Nations Open Working Group handed urbanists a victory last month when it included a specific goal for cities in a broader list of goals for improving the lives of people around the world.The final list of “Sustainable Development Goals” for 2016 to 2030 still requires approval of the UN General Assembly. Nevertheless, including the urban goal in the final draft was a big step for the UN, which hasn’t always recognized the importance of cities in human development.The move represented the culmination of an extensive campaign by local governments, urban scholars and activists around the world. Here’s how they mobilized their effort.
A critical role was played from the start by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, or SDSN. That’s an international group launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012 to mobilize technical expertise from academia, civil society and the private sector to further sustainable development. It has co-chairs from China and France and one of its driving forces is Columbia University’s Earth Institute director, Jeffrey Sachs, a leading figure in the push for worldwide development goals and a strong proponent of an “urban SDG.”
Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in Bangalore, undertook a major role for the network as strategist and articulate public spokesman. He was joined by Cynthia Rosenzweig of Columbia University, an authority in the study of climate change’s impact on agriculture and cities.
Read the full article at Citiscope.