Despite a crisis of confidence at the national level, a significant majority of Americans still believe in the ability of their local governments to deliver. This is good news, because U.S. cities are increasingly responsible for taking on local challenges with global implications, such as pollution, violence, climate change, and economic opportunity and security.

Local actions, global lessons

As municipalities go about their business, they are increasingly turning to their peers, engaging in city-to-city networks and communities of practice (an estimated 300+ globally) to share best practices, experiment with innovations, and design new solutions. It reflects a problem-solving mentality that has earned many U.S. city leaders a reputation for pragmatism over politics.

This is the way American cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, and Pittsburgh come to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, collectively agreed by the world’s nations in 2015, reflect national commitments to end poverty, achieve economic prosperity, and reduce inequality and injustice while promoting environmental sustainability and tackling climate change.

Yet cities worldwide and in the U.S. are taking on the SDGs themselves, viewing the goals as a planning tool for prioritizing, measuring, and mobilizing social, economic, and environmental progress. On November 29 at Brookings, leaders and experts from these three cities will explore the local value proposition of the SDGs to U.S. cities along several dimensions:

Common Language: As the SDGs have grown into the lingua franca of development globally, they give city officials, stakeholders, and even residents a common and immediate frame of reference when engaging counterparts. The globally accepted and vetted framework offers the potential for comparability, allowing cities to measure themselves against other communities using a holistic vision of sustainable development.

Read more at Brookings