Voluntary Local Review

NYC is First City in the World to Report to UN on Local Steps Toward Global Goals

In April 2015, NYC committed to becoming the most resilient, sustainable, and equitable city in the world through its groundbreaking OneNYC strategy. OneNYC is a model for sustainable development at the local level. The plan includes commitments, milestones, and metrics. NYC publishes an annual progress report on Earth Day, which is April 22nd.

When global leaders committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, in September 2015, the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs recognized the overlap between our local strategy and the Global Goals. The Office established the Global Vision | Urban Action program to use the Global Goals as a common language to talk about shared challenges and solutions with partners in NYC and around the world.

Three years after OneNYC was launched, Mayor de Blasio announced record progress in creating the fairest big city in America. Jobs are at record highs across the five boroughs. Crime is lower than it’s been since the 1950s. The air and surrounding waterways are cleaner than they’ve been in decades. Our neighborhoods are safer, more affordable, and more environmentally just. And we have raised the bar on climate leadership by taking the fight straight to the fossil fuel companies that have created the climate crisis.

Since April 2015:

  • All OneNYC initiatives have launched and are already underway
  • Over 80% of OneNYC indicators are stable or improving
  • Of the 564 milestones set for the end of 2017, 86% were either completed or partially completed

NYC announced on May 1, 2018, that it would become the first city in the world to submit a review of its progress directly to the United Nations during the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Modeled after the Voluntary National Review (VNR) that countries are invited to submit to the HLPF every year, the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) highlights NYC’s sustainable development achievements since 2015. It uses the common language of the Global Goals to translate NYC’s local actions to a global audience, with a focus on the five priority Goals for the 2018 HLPF.

The review was developed by IA in partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Offices of Operations, and Climate Policy and Programs, and in consultation with relevant NYC agencies.

It is a presentation of existing NYC information in a format that is accessible to the UN community as well as other stakeholders following the SDG process, in line with United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) documents recognizing the key role of local governments in the implementation of the SDGs.

To complement the written report, IA partnered with relevant city agencies to develop a series of site visits for the UN diplomatic community, focusing specifically on the Global Goals to be reviewed in July 2018. This included a trip to the country’s largest recycling facility to explore Global Goal 12, a ride on a sludge vessel to learn about Global Goal 6, and a tour of a community garden to delve into Global Goal 15. During the site visits, NYC agencies also highlighted how their work is integrated with additional Global Goals.

Through this process, NYC agencies have actively engaged in linking the City’s local sustainability work to the Global Goals, and we have identified additional opportunities for deeper engagement with UN agencies, member states, cities, and other stakeholders. We aim to build on these connections in the coming year, and hope other cities will join us in submitting a VLR at the 2019 HLPF.

Download the 2018 Voluntary Local Review: New York City’s Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Download the accessible version of the 2018 Voluntary Local Review: New York City’s Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

VLR Cover