Watch the full video recording of the event here.


On September 24, 2015, more than 40 global mayors and local and government leaders came together to support a sustainable future free of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. On the eve of the SDG Summit, urban leaders from all corners of the globe collectively stood together, endorsed the SDGs and committed to their local implementation. The evening was truly inspirational. California Governor Edmund Brown and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio opened and closed the proceedings with their rousing calls for immediate action. Passion flooded the New School’s Tishman Auditorium as Mayors discussed the daily monumental challenges they face while also instilling hope showcasing the innovative solutions that they have put in place to improve the lives of their citizens.

Read Citiscope’s coverage of the event

Though the 2030 Development Agenda and its 17 SDGs will be endorsed at the national level by member states, sustainable development cannot be achieved without the full support of and partnerships with the world’s cities – home to more than 50% of the world’s population and growing. Whether it be fighting natural or man-made disasters, such as sea level rise and segregation, the world’s mayors are now united through common goals. Sustainable development will either succeed or fail in cities. Echoing the room’s resolve to solve urgent challenges, New Orleans Mayor Landrieu captured it best, “If we can’t find a way, we will make one.”

The evening culminated with a virtual signing of, “A Declaration of Cities’ Commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda” which can be accessed here (see list of signatories here). The high-level event was hosted by the UN SDSN in partnership with The Campaign for an Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the New School. Speakers included:

  • David E. Van Zandt, President of the New School in New York City
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of UN SDSN
  • Edmund Gerald Brown Jr., Governor of California, USA
  • Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Marcio Araújo de Lacerda, Mayor of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Angela Brown Burke, Mayor of Kingston, Jamaica
  • Morten Kabell, Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Iliza Saaduddin Djamal, Mayor of Banda Aceh, Indonesia
  • Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  • Khalifa Sall, Mayor of Dakar, Senegal
  • Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, USA (read full transcript of address)
  • Aromar Revi, Co-Chair of the UN SDSN Thematic Group on Cities (moderator)
  • María de los Ángeles Duarte, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Ecuador


Mayor Betsy Hodges: Minneapolis is among cities pope asks to help combat climate changeStarTribune, October 2, 2015

Jessica Espey and Danielle Petretta: Local linchpins: Mayors commit to the SDGsCitiscope, September 11, 2015