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We present a very preliminary Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index for the 124 most populous cities (measured as Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs) in the United States of America (US), covering some 70% of the population. The SDG index synthesizes data available today across 46 indicators spanning 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were agreed by all countries in September 2015. The data provides a more holistic and comprehensive assessment of sustainable development challenges faced by US cities than available through other metrics. Preliminary results show that all US cities, even those at the top of the SDG index, have far to go to achieve the SDGs. We identify significant data gaps that limit the scope of this preliminary assessment and make it difficult to gauge the full extent of SDG implementation challenges in the US. The Cities SDG Index can be applied to cities that have access to the necessary data to help compare implementation challenges across cities and countries. This preliminary working paper will be posted for public comment and discussion to seek suggestions on the metrics and methodology.

An online public consultation will be conducted from October 2016 to November 30, 2016. A revised US Cities SDG Index will be published in January 2017. The authors have prepared this draft document for public consultation to seek comments and suggestions for improvement by 30 November 2016. Please see the working paper conclusions for a list of some of the questions on which we seek guidance. All comments and suggestions for additional data should be sent to citiesindex@unsdsn.org.