Local and global momentum builds for the SDG Compacts and Sustainable Development Games

“Let the games begin so that everyone, everywhere is a winner in the race to achieve sustainable development”

Los Angeles, CA, February 7, 2018 – Following action-oriented co-design meetings in Los Angeles this week, city leaders from around the world are joining sustainable development partners to mobilize around the SDG Compacts and Sustainable Development Games, which will bring together cities, local governments and stakeholders to accelerate measurable progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on local priorities and actions.

On February 2, the City of Los Angeles and the John Parke Young Initiative on the Global Economy at Occidental College hosted an “Initiative Launch Workshop of Global Ambition-Local Action (GA-L.A.) for the Sustainable Development Goals” at the Los Angeles City Hall.  Representatives from Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, and San Jose shared lessons learned and best practices for how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can advance the impact of city programs.  Global experts from Win-Win, the World Council of City Data, SDG Compacts and Sustainable Development Games, Sustainable Urban Systems Initiative at Stanford University, Earth Institute at Columbia University, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) supported an exchange of action-learning between cities. The group of city representatives and other stakeholders committed to continued collaboration to accelerate U.S. cities’ implementation of the SDGs.

On February 3-4, 2018, Occidental College and the Global Development Incubator hosted a kick-off meeting of the Rapid Action Team Everywhere (RATE) to co-design a new movement called the SDG Compacts and Sustainable Development Games. Representatives from cities working on accelerating implementation of SDGs and Paris Climate Treaty compliance programs included Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi County, New York and San Jose. 

A dynamic exchange of action-learning among cities was supported by global experts from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), Group on Earth Observations (GEO), C-Change, Win-Win, Data Act Lab, students and faculty from the John Young Initiative on the Global Economy at Occidental College, Sustainable Urban Systems Initiative at Stanford University, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Global Development Incubator, Tata Institute of Social Studies, Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE), the Open Data Charter, and Plume Consultants Ltd.  Participants held the first trailblazers simulation exercise of the “Sustainable Development Games” that brought together local and global experts to explore, diagnose, and experiment with how SDG Compacts could accelerate SDG action in diverse environments such as Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Nairobi.  The simulation exercise unleashed creativity to generate innovative solutions to overcome seemingly intractable barriers to progress that local stakeholders can cultivate and harness as they move forward. 

The meeting concluded with the group’s consensus that the SDG Compacts and Sustainable Development Games should be co-designed from a set of core values that will guide our work with cities, local governments, and communities, such as: love, peace, justice, equity, compassion-in-action, collaboration, community, social cohesion, solidarity, unleashing innovation, seeking bold systems transformation, open-by-default, honesty, and trust. A summary of intentions that will guide the movement going forward:

  1. We are passionate for bold and transformative action for all people, our children, and future generations;
  2. We are mobilizing everyone, everywhere through fun, culture, media, arts, self-improvement, and laughing;
  3. We are catalyzing a global solidarity movement that is waging justice to generate and sustain political will between now and 2030;
  4. We are aligning efforts, modernizing, improving efficiency, and attracting more resources to achieve the SDGs and Paris Treaty Compliance by 2030;
  5. We are inspiring creativity for bold and transformative solutions using data, storytelling, and culture;
  6. We are sparking bold, leapfrog, and moonshot ambition, recruiting biennial targets by cities and local governments and celebrating progress biennially in tandem with the summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic Games where everyone is a winner in the race to achieve sustainable development;
  7. We are actively co-designing SDG Compacts and the Sustainable Development Games with Trailblazer Cities, local governments and communities in all regions of the world by mobilizing support from local and global communities in Rapid Action Teams Everywhere (RATES) with collaboration supported by Global Ambition, Local Action (GALA) for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Following this alignment, the SDG Compacts and the Sustainable Development Games will share exciting announcements soon as the co-design process continues.                                                                                                 

These principles were followed by further action-learning on February 5-6 when  Occidental College and the City of Los Angeles hosted the launch of the Global Ambition – Local Action (GALA) summit to strategize on how Global Cities can most effectively achieve the SDGs. Global Cities participating included Bogota, Bristol, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, Nairobi, New York, and San Jose. The summit’s keynote address by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, galvanized the movement with inspiration as he committed the city of Los Angeles to achieving the SDGs in collaboration with global cities.  The summit also included a plenary panel with President Patricia McCarney of the World Council on City Data along with keynote addresses from Dr. Mila Rosenthal, Director of Communications at the UN Development Programme, and Professor Saskia Sassen, a global expert and pioneer in global cities who endorsed the power of the SDGs as a framework for collective action.  Professor Sanjeev Khagram and Dr. Paul Zeitz, organizers of the GA-L.A. Initiative Summit and SDG Compacts RATE meeting, summarized the outcome of these kickoff meetings, “With only 154 months until the end of 2030, let the games begin so that everyone, everywhere is a winner in the relay race to achieve sustainable development.”

McKinley