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The SF UN Goals Coalition’s aim is to get the San Francisco UN Goals Advisory Committee up and running in City Hall. The Advisory Committee will take on the more complex task of localizing the goals of the UN in detail. The expectation, though, is that the coalition will remain active in support of the Advisory Committee, so it is important for coalition members to understand what the Committee is likely to be doing. 


The awesome 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to be implemented at both national and local levels. 


Background: there are 17 SDGs with 169 targets and 232 indicators. See the Wikipedia article and the SDG Tracker. The SDG Index page includes a link for a 2019 US Cities Sustainable Development Report. San Francisco - Oakland - Hayward is at the top of the list showing the area is at 70 percent fulfillment of the SDG targets. Here is a page about SDSN USA


The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments was created in 2013 to provide cities and states an avenue for concerted input to the SDG process. The Taskforce Resources page includes a link to a report to the 2019 UN High Level Political Forum, which meets annually to promote the SDGs. The 2019 “Towards the Localization of the SDGs” report was jointly put together by the Taskforce and United Cities and Local Governments. UCLG has a program devoted to localizing the SDGs with many learning modules and other resources.


There is much more. Here is a list of pages with resources for localizing the SDGs:


More background - various global meetings have set agendas for implementation of the SDGs. 

  • 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda - an agreement towards the financing of the SDGs.

  • 2016 - New Urban Agenda adopted unanimously by all the nations of the UN - “By readdressing the way cities and human settlements are planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed, the New Urban Agenda will help to end poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions; reduce inequalities; promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in order to fully harness their vital contribution to sustainable development; improve human health and wellbeing; foster resilience; and protect the environment.”  See the full report in English and Spanish.

  • LRGF - Local and Regional Governments Forum - meets annually.

  • WUF - World Urban Forum - meets annually.


Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) of SDG progress are modeled after the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) which are provided annually by some 50 nations. As of December, 2019, nine cities are providing annual VLRs. IGES, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies hosts several pages concerning VLRs, including a list with links to existing city VLR reports. See for an overview. Details of the Los Angeles VLR. Details of the New York City VLR. A note of particular interest from the LA VLR page, their process includes creating new targets “to ensure we leave no one behind”.

Other UN Goals and their relationship to the SDGs.

  • Human Rights are imbedded in the SDGs from top to bottom.

  • For several reasons, the SDGs are unlikely to be achieved without nuclear disarmament. The global Mayors for Peace network has 7,850+ members and is a great reminder that cities already stand for nuclear and general disarmament.

  • Culture must play a huge role in bringing humanity together to achieve the goals of the UN. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was involved in the development of the SDGs and in 2019 has followed through with the very thorough Culture 2030 Indicators.

  • The Convention on the Complete Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women is of particular interest to all United States cities, since the U.S. has not ratified the Convention. See the Cities for CEDAW resources page.


  • Circular economy and the green economy - these come up over and over and it is good to have an idea of the difference.

  • Gender equality and gender equity are another pair to understand. This article from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) addresses the question and also explains what gender mainstreaming is. 

  • Intersectionality is a feminist concept in its origins, but the idea can be generalized. Voices of Humanity will be implementing bottom-up “intersections” to enable any combination of “silos” to have its own forum. For instance, the intersection of “music” and “UN Goals” is likely to house a lively discussion! 

  • In the realm of nuclear disarmament, it is crucial to distinguish between nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament.



  1. Academics must be included in the coalition.

  2. Both vertical and horizontal geographic connections between government levels are important goals.

  3. Putting together a city plan is a big job. Our “together and apart structure” will both ease the task and provide flexibility. To some degree, the structure *is* the plan.

  4. VLR pulls everything together and gives the city more visibility so should have some priority.

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