Today is United Nation’s World Cities Day. This year’s title is “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations” focusing on the role digital technologies play in enhancing the quality of life, the environment, and promoting social inclusion.
Innovation is a key theme of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cities are proving to be laboratories for SDGs innovation, showing how these goals are being turned in to real action locally in cities irrespective of delays and barriers at the national and international level. Bristol has been actively adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals since 2016. Along with New York and Helsinki, Bristol was one of the first cities across the globe to carry out a review of how it is delivering on all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals locally (Bristol Voluntary Local review), with goals ranging from tackling climate change, poverty and reducing inequality. In September, our city was one of the first cities to sign the Voluntary Local Review declaration.
This year Bristol was one of six European Cities to win the European Capital of Innovation funding bid for its ‘One City’ approach which brings together a huge range of public, private, voluntary and third sector partners with the shared aim to make Bristol a fair, healthy and sustainable city. An example of a One City project is Period Friendly Bristol, a city-wide project to end period poverty ensuring that everyone has access to sanitary products through a dedicated digital app and to drive a more mature conversation about period dignity.
Last month, Bristol publically launched its ‘Connected City’ strategy which sets out the city’s ambitions for laying the digital foundations that will help the city achieve its ambitions and ensure that citizens feel they are contributing to, and benefit from the social and economic advantages of digital technology. The strategy will ensure that technology is driven by city challenges important to citizens; that we have high quality, secure and reliable digital connectivity; involve communities and individual entrepreneurs as well as the public sector institutions and ensure that we do not lose sight of the social benefit an public good brought about by technology and innovation.
It has been said that the Sustainable Development Goals will be lost or won in cities. We will be actively using innovation, working with partners locally and globally, to ensure we successfully implement the sustainable development goals and ensure that no-one in Bristol is left behind.