The Austrian associations support their cities in contributing to the SDGs with a Best Practice Collection
While the national level in Austria lacks a strategic framework to implement the 2030 Agenda, cities and towns seem discouraged by the extent and seemingly superordinate abstractness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), write the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns (AACT) and the Centre for Public Administration Research (KDZ).
The facts are clear: not much has happened since Austria has committed to implementing the Agenda 2030 in national law and aligning its actions in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a resolution adopted in 2015.
As cities and towns carry disproportionate responsibility for promoting and contributing to sustainable development, Austrian municipalities appear to be in need of inspiration for possible actions.
Together, AACT and KDZ have compiled a collection of examples from European cities, that have already set measures to actively contribute to the SDGs. The current edition of collection ranges from German towns such as Ludwigsburg, Solingen or Hannover, “sustainability pioneer” Ghent in Belgium, to the small Austrian town of Scharnstein.
The examples are categorised according to the role and application of the SDGs in the process. In some municipalities, the SDGs were the immediate cause of action; elsewhere, they were integrated in already existing strategies. Specific focus is put on the control level and participatory elements of the process, as cities, that have effectively included the public and local stakeholders, have proven the most successful in communal sustainability management.
Workshops with cities and NGOs
Background information and descriptions of specific measures and projects are also included. In addition, KDZ has organised workshops with participants from Austrian local governments, administration and NGOs on strategic courses of action in cities and towns. In group work, further possible measures and projects were developed and added to the collection of examples.
To support the identification of specific measures within the local fields of action, all measures are arranged in six SDG target areas, following a concept by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) from 2017:
- Sustainable Resource Use (SDGs 6,7,12)
- Earth Preconditions (SDGs 13,14,15)
- Basic Human Needs (SDGs 1,2,3)
- Universal Values (SDGs 4,5,10)
- Social and Economic Development (SDGs 8,9,11)
- Governance and Partnerships (SDGs 16,17)
Awareness-raising within all municipal players and establishing a strategic framework for sustainability management are of particular importance for the effective support of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda on the local level, as the analysis of European best practice examples has confirmed.
(© Picture: Klaus Pressberger – Workshop in Leoben, Styria, March 2018)