By Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance, Bureau for Programme and Policy Support, United Nations Development Programme
“Cities are major drivers of the global economy. Today, cities occupy only 2% of total land but account for 70% of GDP.” (Habitat III, 2016)
Many of the investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will take place at the sub-national level and be led by local authorities, especially in urban areas. Massive public and private investments will be needed to improve access to sustainable urban services and infrastructure, to improve cities’ resilience to climate change and shocks, and to prepare them to host 2.5 billion new residents over the next three decades, particularly in developing countries. If city authorities can meet these challenges head-on, the sustainable development dividends could be immense. This reality underscores the need to recognise and strengthen the capacities of local authorities as major actors in promoting sustainable development.