If you haven’t heard of them until now, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals that 193 UN member states have committed to in order to alleviate poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people have the opportunity to enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs are a call to action for governments, businesses and civil society to come together to create a better world and leave no one behind. But working towards achieving the Global Goals requires processes for governments and organisations to be able to monitor, assess and report at a local level.
From 2019-21, Healthy Cities Illawarra, together with UOW Colleagues A/Prof Belinda Gibbons, Justin Placek, and Chris Weston from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment collaborated to develop a useful tool that could be used ‘on the ground’ to help local governments, and indeed other organisations, map their own progress against the SDGs and their respective targets.
Our research project (Ethics Application 2019/301) worked initially with Shoalhaven City Council to conduct a mapping exercise to align the global SDG Targets and Indicators with some of their key strategic and operational documents. After manually conducting thematic analysis to identify, analyse and interpret patterns of meaning within the local council data and the SDGs, the research team with the technological expertise and support from Dr Mehrdad Amirghasemi (SMART Infrastructure Facility), then designed and developed this online tool. The SDG Localiser enables the manual process to occur in a more efficient way, shortening the timeframe with a digital trail that can show growth overtime. Thanks to Shellharbour City Council for conducting early useability testing and providing feedback.