Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Kitchener has received federal funding to implement the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals – a call to action to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.”
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Funding Program, the Kitchener will use the $95,000 grant to frame governance, starting with the strategic plan and linking to other key plans and programs. The grant will help the city create innovative and accessible tools and specifically an interactive on-line dashboard so that our progress is clear to the public.
“Canadian cities play a pivotal role in successfully implementing the 2030 agenda,” said Ahmed Hussen, minister of families, children and social development.
“Through integrated planning, housing, sustainable transport, inclusive urbanization, and more, local governments are best placed to link the SDGs with local action.”
Kitchener is partnering with Wilfrid Laurier University on a project which received a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada grant of nearly $25,000 to work with community stakeholders to develop and test innovative and practical approaches to addressing municipal climate action planning “in a manner that is just and equitable for all.”
“The reality of climate change is that it will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is also heavily impacting those same people. And the SDG’s are a practical way for city’s like Kitchener to address challenges like climate change and focus on building a more equitable community for everyone.”
Recently Kitchener announced that the municipality is participating in the ISO World Council on City Data project – sharing data with cities around the world to learn from one another as they tackle shared challenges like climate change, affordable housing, equity, diversity and inclusion and economic sustainability.
“The SDGs have been a catalyst for significant progress in community and organizational sustainability and have propelled a huge body of work by some of the top minds in the world,” said Corporate Sustainability Officer Claire Bennett.
“We’ll use the funding to assess our existing strategies, incorporate the SDGs into our decision-making and engagement processes and then measure our progress against them.”
Bennett says the real challenge is inequity.
“We want to make sure that both current and future generations can live in a Kitchener that is healthy, vibrant and inclusive for everyone.”