The Dynamics of the UN Voluntary Local Review using Causal Mapping within and across the Sustainable Development Goals: a case study of Bath and North East Somerset

Charlotte Matthews, Will Airey, Fiona Remnant, Aurelie Charles, James Copestake

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Abstract

Since 2018 when New York City pioneered a “Voluntary Local Review” (VLR) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), more than 60 localities worldwide have compiled a VLR to assess the progress of the SDGs locally. For local governments, it remains however difficult to see the points of leverage and priorities that would trigger positive change, within and across the SDGs. In effect, critiques of the SDGs have already pointed the potential problems of synergies and trade-offs within and across the SDGs, which makes it difficult to identify the links between local initiatives, local actors and SDG outcomes. To alleviate this problem, the report compiled here provides a Voluntary Local Review of the SDGs in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) in 2023 augmented with the causal maps of the SDGs, both within and across the SDGs. Such methodology allows us (1) to identify the leverage points for positive actions towards the SDGs, and (2) to identify the key stakeholders enabling that process. In the case of B&NES, successes have been in terms of community engagement with local priorities and values, B&NES Environmental Project with the Clean Air Zone, Waste treatment and CO2 reductions; and B&NES Housing Project with its commitment to affordable housing and environmentally friendly infrastructure. Many challenges remain notably in terms of addressing inequalities by, for example, improving access to all the SDG-related leverage points.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Publication series

NameCentre for Development Studies Report
VolumeSeptember 2023
ISSN (Electronic)2977-392X

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