Toronto, 13 April 2016-- A roundtable discussion on the prospect to connect the monitoring of urban Sustainable Development Goals to UN-Habitat City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) was held in Toronto, Canada. The meeting was hosted by International City Leaders (ICL), and the International Centre for Urban Management (ICFUM), supported by UN-Habitat and UNDP.
The meeting was graced by Canadian Members of Parliament, and city leaders from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including directors of planning from various municipalities, urban planners, councilors, architects and academia.
The discussions aimed to inform local leaders on the potential of the CPI to become the monitoring and reporting framework for the urban SDGs. The meeting agreed to create a network of leaders to advance this agenda and to organize an international conference in Toronto in February 2017 on this topic. It was also agreed that this network would provide feedback from the perspective of the Greater Toronto Area in Habitat III Conference.
Discussions were based around the challenges and opportunities leaders are facing to achieve the SDGs locally and globally by 2030. Mr. Adam Vaughan, MP of Spadina-Fort York and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, and Mr. Ali Ehsassi, MP of Willowdale, both focused on the perspective and approach of the new government, and the positive implications on sustainable development issues such as affordable housing, early learning, childcare, first nation inequities, homelessness, water management and infrastructure in Canada. UNDP Policy Specialist, Ms. Bahareh Seyedi, stressed the importance of ‘Not leaving anyone behind’ in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the SDGs.
Kimberley Bilmer, Director of the CPI programme for metropolitan cities (CPI-MC) commented on how UN-Habitat global CPI initiative can support the monitoring and reporting of urban SDGs.
Ms. Karen Cilevitz, Councillor of the Town of Richmond Hill, complimented the CPI framework, its vision and potential to bring the global agenda to a local level. Mr. Paul Grenier, Region Councillor at the city of Niagara, and Mr. Adam Vaughan noted that using CPI to achieve SDGs is something city leaders could successfully incorporate into their policies.
Ms. Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning at the city of Brampton, commented on the need for an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach in applying the CPI to achieve the SDGs.
The meeting agreed the key is to engage city leaders, in particular mayors in discussions and implementation and that connecting urban SDGs and CPI can contribute to the better measurement of sustainable development. As suggested by Mr. Grenier, funding from a provincial or federal level could be easily justified for such an initiative. Ms. MacDonald suggested that the CPI would lead to increased accountability in the reporting process.
The roundtable was the first discussion on SDGs and CPI in Toronto and it was concluded that continued dialogue is needed amongst city leaders to increase awareness on the importance of the SDGs. International City Leaders closed the session referring to the International Conference on Applying the CPI to achieve SDGs that will take place in 2017. Participants expressed their interest in continuing the dialogue.