NYC sustainable development-compressed Photo: Andrew Moore/Flickr

The United Nations’ new Sustainable Development agenda is codified in its 17 Global Goals, which aim to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.” The agenda was launched at the Sustainable Development Summit in 2015 and the UN hopes to accomplish these goals within the next 15 years.

BuzzBuzzHome News decided to dive into the agenda and have a look at the progress New York is making on achieving them. As you’ll see below, the city has a good head start on a number of the goals.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all

De Blasio has made issues of sustainable energy a priority for his administration.

For example, The New York City Housing Authority’s initiative “NextGen” is a wide-ranging plan to revitalize public housing, but a key to those reforms is creating energy security through environmentally-conscious means. They have committed to reduce waste and implement recycling across developments by the end of 2016 as well as executing “a series of competitive Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs) to upgrade and retrofit thousands of buildings to achieve lower energy costs and energy consumption.”

Mayor de Blasio has also made a commitment for 100 percent of city buildings to be powered by renewable sources of energy.

Meanwhile, the City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan offers sweeping reforms to make big change in energy trends. The plan notes that NYC’s square footage is highly concentrated in less than two percent of its properties. These account for nearly half of NYC’s square footage and as much as 48 percent of total energy use. The plan offers regulatory measures to control energy efficiency in these large existing buildings.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Infrastructure issues have become troublesome for New York City recently, as systems that were once cutting-edge become outmoded. But that doesn’t mean that steps aren’t being taken to build a city of the future. In 2012, the Department of Environmental Protection announced that it was planning on investing $13.2 billion into the city’s infrastructure by 2022. And Mayor de Blasio recently pledged $100 million in infrastructure investment to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

The first component of the UN’s goal here is to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing.” Mayor de Blasio has consistently worked towards creating more affordable housing. The City recently created 20,300 affordable apartments and has a goal of 200,000 affordable apartments by 2025. De Blasio is also championing Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which requires a share of new housing to be permanently affordable.

“Housing production and preservation, specifically of affordable housing, is not only in the domain of city government now, of what had been in the federal mandate if you will, but it’s become an obligation… It’s just like education. It’s just like safety. It’s just like picking up the trash,” said Alicia Glen, NYC’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, at a Museum of the City of New York Affordable Housing Symposium,

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

Battling climate change has been a key feature of Mayor de Blasio’s platform. He has set the ambitious goal to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Initiatives like the NYC Carbon Challenge leverage commitment from large organizations like hospital buildings and universities to make significant progress towards this goal. In fact, six early achievers have already met the 30 percent goal.

A third NYC panel on climate change was recently announced, with the aim of increasing city-wide sustainability and examining climate risks on a neighborhood scale. Panelists will work toward increasing the efficiency of resiliency plans to bounce back quickly in the wake of unexpected detrimental events like Hurricane Sandy.

Follow @bbhnyc as we report on city sustainability issues.


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