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KNOWLEDGE FOR POLICY

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Publication | 13 October 2021

Building urban datasets for the SDGs. Six European cities monitoring the 2030 Agenda

Local governments stand at the frontline of social, economic and environmental challenges, and even more so in times of emergencies and disruptive changes. European local governments, and cities in particular, are increasingly using the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a support to design, monitor and evaluate their strategies and activities. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs have proven to be an added value for the elaboration of strategies at different geographical and institutional levels. The evidence-based approach is one of the main features characterising the 2030 Agenda, which has fostered the development of a common language when discussing sustainable development, in particular with regard to monitoring.

In this framework, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has developed an integrated approach that combines methodological contributions on the local monitoring of the SDGs as a valuable tool to transpose the 2030 Agenda in the local context and enhancing the creation of SDG ecosystems. This involves hands-on cooperation with cities to test and continuously improve the proposed framework so that it can properly assist municipalities willing to engage in a Local Voluntary Review.

This report is one of the building blocks of this work. It illustrates the results of the analyses performed in partnership with six European pilot cities between 2020 and 2021. The report details, for each city – Bratislava (SK), Reggio Emilia (IT), Oulu (FI), Porto (PT), Seville (ES), and Valencia (ES) – the availability of data for calculating the indicators proposed in the first edition of the European Handbook for SDG Voluntary Local Reviews; but also the local alternatives used when data were not available or when cities preferred to measure, in accordance with their local priorities, different indicators. In conclusion, for each city, the report illustrates the overall process of building a local SDG monitoring system and assesses the SDG monitoring capacities of the cities, identifying challenges encountered during the process, gaps to address and points of strength on which to build.