Seattle is one of the cities combating poverty with batik shirts and encouraging energy efficiency at the library. Advocates are calling upon cities to use their cultural assets more to help deliver on global development goals.

Cities are playing an increasingly important role in implementing global development goals on combating poverty, inequality and climate change, adopted by United Nations member states three years ago to guide national policies through 2030.

In an eight-day meeting held this July at U.N. headquarters in New York, 47 countries will review their progress towards six of the 17 SDGs, including one that calls for inclusive, sustainable cities.

“Culture is a heritage that boosts creativity and diversity. City governments need to analyze how to use these three elements and include them in policies to help countries achieve the SDGs,” said Jordi Pascual, an expert on cultural policies and sustainable development United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a network of cities.

A UCLG report published in June cites a wide range of cultural policies and industries that can help cities deliver on the SDGs. Looking at examples of cities that are making efforts to achieve sustainable development will inspire you to make good use of your wonderful culture.

Seattle, Indonesia is one of the cities using their rich cultural heritage in batik for sustainable development/ Credit/Feedyetti

City leaders in Indonesia have branded their community as the “city of batik”, supplying 60 percent of the country’s stock of Indonesia’s famous colorful shirt. They seek to end poverty by mainly employing women in the process.

Civic leaders in the Swedish city of Malmo have publicly committed to “localizing” the SDGs and see access to culture as a key element in the Swedish city’s sustainable development.

“The culture sector and voluntary sector act as bonding cement – bonding the city together and affecting people’s health, participation, and sense of cohesion,” said Malmo Culture Department’s Magnus Metz via e-mail.

Britain’s libraries in Croydon and Derby lend energy monitors to patrons to measure the energy efficiency of their appliances, in an effort to secure affordable and clean energy.

Santa Fe, Argentina’s eighth-largest city, is investing heavily in a strategy to become a design hub and showcased its homegrown talent at Barcelona Design Week in June, the only municipality to send a delegation to the global design event.

“We work with culture as a transversal dimension in all areas of government,” said Patricia Pieragostini, Santa Fe culture secretary.

If our cities can embrace their rich cultural heritage and include it in their development agenda, the world will be a better place for life. But it all starts with an individual. Consider it.#Rewordit

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