How to make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a reality

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From technical standards to startups programs, we can count with a variety of tools to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations 

The Sustainable Development Goals are today the main reference for governments and private managers to build a more dignified agenda for the planet. There are 17 goals in total, assumed by all of the United Nations members until at least 2030. With ambitious targets, which include hunger extinction, gender equality and climate crisis control, the SDGs are globally and universally applicable. If on the one hand such generality allows many countries to adopt them, on the other poses the question: how can we implement the same objectives in agendas of such diverse countries, whether in scale, context and budget?

Hence the importance of having concise parameters that can establish universal criteria, applicable to different contexts but with the same purposes. This is the case of the ISO Technical Standards, created by the International Organization for Standardization. Constructed by consensus, more than 22,000 documents and standards developed by the institution can contribute to build sufficiently solid foundations for the 2030 Agenda’s implementation.

Concerning the people, the standards promote better quality of life and the well-being of citizens by encompassing aspects of social assistance, setting standards for health systems and even standardizing products related to accessibility and social inclusion. An example is ISO 21001, Educational organizations – Management systems for educational organizations – Requirements with guidance for use, aimed at improving the processes and quality of educational institutions.

Regarding the environment and smart cities, the relevance of standards is also noted in the implementation and monitoring of environmental management systems, such as ISO 37120 – Sustainable cities and communities – Indicators for urban services and quality of life, which help communities to set sustainable development objectives and implement strategies to achieve them. A brazilian version is currently being developed for this technical standard, with the contribution of Bright Cities.

At the city scale, another tool has become a cornerstone for the Brazilian sustainable development: the Sustainable Cities Program. The initiative has been developing an urban sustainability, incorporating the social, environmental, economic, political and cultural dimensions of urban planning.

Bright Cities is also helping cities of different sizes and nationalities to adopt more sustainable and smarter urban policies. Using an innovative technology, its platform collects municipal data from indicators aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. That way, it can trace accurate diagnoses in areas such as governance, environment, health and education, indicating how close cities are in achieving the 2030 Agenda’s goals.

More than 50 indicators are used, each one of them covering simultaneously up to four SDGs. To demystify the smart city concept and to prove that the 2030 goals are achievable, Bright Cities has prepared a special material for each of the 17 Goals. Follow our next posts and on our social media, such as Instagram and Facebook , to learn more about their challenges, guidelines, and key indicators.