Sustainable Development Goals
Today, many species face extinction threats because of the destruction and transformation that occurred in nature, like climate change and environmental pollution. While 10% of the world population struggles with extreme poverty, one out of nine people suffers from hunger. In different parts of the world, many people are being exposed to discrimination and can not equally benefit from the services and opportunities in society. These problems, which we might find their reflections on every society regardless of development level, constitute just one part of the “global problems” that the world is facing. Moreover, crisis such as COVID-19 exacerbate some of these mostly human-induced problems.
For the period we are in, we need, now more than ever solution proposals and steps to to take together for ensuring the continuity of life, protecting the environment, and building more fair, inclusive, safe, and resilient societies. In 2015, 193 countries, including Turkey, gathered in the United Nations General Assembly, took one of these steps by adopting 17 global goals, called “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs), as a part of the 2030 Agenda. Although these goals have been accepted by the central governments to create sustainable societies by 2030 , the realization of these goals depends on the efforts of local governments and other relevant actors. As underlined in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) report titled A Territorial Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals and published in 2020, 105 out of 169 sub-goals of the SDGs can not be achieved without including local governments in the process. While municipalities are directly responsible for achieving some of these goals, they also contribute to this process indirectly. Considering that it is essential for citizens and the change of the habits of people and institutions to change their habits and adopt behaviours which support sustainability to realize SDGs, the role of the municipalities is crucial as they are one of the actors closest to citizens and are aware of the local needs. Local governments are undertaking activities to inform about SDGs, raise awareness, gather local partners together, and achieve these goals with relevant stakeholders.
Less than ten years remain to achieve these targeted global goals. Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU) is carrying out activities to support the local governments, raise their awareness towards SDGs, strengthen their capacities, and follow their activities during this process, called “Decade of Action.” In order to operate SDG activities more systematically, MMU opened a position for the “Embassy of SDG” in 2020, which made MMU the first public institution to open such a position. Also, in 2020, it created the “SDG Working Group” consisting of representatives of each department in MMU to incorporate every unit’s points of view and expertise into SDG activities and ensure coordination among departments. MMU SDG Working Group members gather regularly to shape the MMU’s SDG related activities and support member municipalities in this regard.