Last week marked United Nations (UN) week, the fifth anniversary of the ratification of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the launch of the Decade of Action. Building on the excitement of last week, the City of Kitchener has received federal funding to support its work implementing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.  The SDGs are the product of international research into where specifically governments can focus their efforts on the economy, equity and the fight against climate change.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Funding Program, the City of Kitchener was awarded a grant of nearly $95,000.  The grant is the result of the City’s commitment to the SDGs through its strategic plan and council’s work championing the goals. Kitchener is using the SDG 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. Through integrated planning, housing, sustainable transport, inclusive urbanization, and more, local governments are best placed to link the SDGs with local action. The Government of Canada is pleased to support the City of Kitchener to advance the 2030 Agenda in Canada. By working together, we can achieve the SDGs and leave a better world for future generations,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Kitchener is a leader in raising awareness and support in making the SDGs meaningful at the local level through partnerships.  The City 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 gather a diverse set of 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. The SDG’s are a practical way for city’s like Kitchener to not only address challenges like climate change but to also focus on building a more equitable community for everyone. The goals have been a wonderful tool in focusing our attention on the areas where we can have the biggest impact. This is more important than ever as we plan our long-term response to the pandemic under historic financial pressures.”

“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 City of Kitchener 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.”

This funding announcement builds on an announcement earlier this month that the City 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. These complex issues are increasingly connected to one another. By incorporating the guidance of the SDGs throughout its operations, the City can make those connections and address their root causes holistically.

“The real challenge is inequity,” said Bennett. “We want to make sure that both current and future generations can live in a Kitchener that is healthy, vibrant and inclusive for everyone.”


For more information:
Shawn Falcao
Manager, Corporate Communications and Marketing