City news: Bonn and Ghent score a goal for sustainability

14 October 2020

The cities of Ghent and Bonn are the latest to prepare Voluntary Local Reviews on how they are implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The idea has already been gaining ground with other Eurocities members, such as Helsinki, Madrid and Bristol, having already done so.

The participation of cities in this way is essential to realising the objectives of the SDGs. As the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has even shown: more than 65 percent of all sub-goals of the SDGs cannot be achieved without cities on board.

The city of Bonn assesses its progress against six municipal fields, namely: mobility, climate and energy, natural resources, work and economy, social participation and gender equality, global responsibility and one world.

It shows, for instance, that in the sector with the currently highest CO2 emissions, the density of motor vehicles has remained virtually unchanged since 2015. On a more positive note Bonn also reports that it tops the national league table when it comes to the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix of the municipal supplier. Moreover, it has been able to offer all interested pupils with special needs a place in joint learning in a regular school.

In Ghent, an analysis of the city services based on all 17 SDGs shows that one in five Ghentians lives in a situation of poverty and social exclusion and there are still people facing hunger in the city.

At the same time food aid services were already in full operation before the COVID-19 pandemic (the data only extends until April 2020). One project, Foodsavers, had redistributed 1,000 tons of food surpluses, equivalent to 530,821 meals or food packages by 2019, two years after the project’s launch, reaching approximately 57,000 Ghentians living in poverty.

Find this interesting? On Friday 16 October at 8:30 CET Eurocities is organising a session with practitioners and researchers on VLRs at the Daring Cities conference the cities of Ghent and Bonn will present their experience in a panel ‘Enabling Voluntary Local Reviews in Cities: A View from Practitioners and Researchers’.

Find out more here