Pittsburgh adopts UN sustainable development goals, but Mayor Peduto offers few specifics

  • Lucy Perkins/WESA

(Pittsburgh) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Friday that the city will try to address global problems like poverty, gender equality, and clean energy. He said the city will adopt goals set by the United Nations and apply them to Pittsburgh.

“Although nations can ratify treaties, the implementation gets done at the local level,” said Peduto, who attended the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September. “Don’t wait for nations to do it: Do it yourself, and have those around you join you.”

The 17 goals set by the United Nations include: quality education, clean water and sanitation, climate action, and sustainable communities.

Peduto offered few specifics on how the city would actually address these issues, though a press release cited efforts to expand the city’s electric vehicle fleet, construct new bike lanes, and prioritize green buildings in city neighborhoods.

The city has already pledged to address some of the concerns raised by the UN goals, like climate change. The new development, said the city’s chief equity officer Majestic Lane, is that Pittsburgh will be using metrics to track progress toward those goals.

“It’s really taking what we’ve already been doing, but saying now we’re going to work together with our partners to see the progress we’re making,” he said.

The mayor did not provide a timeline for when projects to address these goals will be rolled out.

“Every time that I’ve set a date, I’ve been wrong,” said Peduto, referring to an in-process plan to address city needs dubbed “OnePGH.” The approach is supposed to enlist large nonprofit employers and other stakeholders in an effort to address local challenges. “I would only say ‘soon.’”

He also said there will be no penalties if the city does not solve these goals.

“It’s a commitment of civic pride and civic well-being,” Peduto said.

New York is the only other city in the U.S. to adopt the UN goals to date.

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