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Susan Parnell Explains the UN Sustainable Development Goals and What they Mean for Urban Development

Africa's Urban RevolutionSusan Parnell, co-editor of Africa’s Urban Revolution, recently shared her insight on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Yanna Romano, who wrote an article about the web of debates around the matter for UrbanAfrica.Net.

In the article, Romano explains the purpose of the SDGs – to balance social, economic, and environmental needs in specific areas by 2030 – and how these goals are to be achieved.

Parnell recently went to New York to represent the International Council for Science in a UN discussion about the SDGs. She says that the path to implementing these aims in cities can be blocked by serious disagreements about what needs to be done, and how. Nevertheless, Parnell is hopeful and positive about the urban development project:

In spite of these tensions, Parnell remains relatively optimistic. For her, there is reason for the global community to recognise the urban arena within its own framing. Firstly, it allows for the establishment of empirical standards to be addressed by nation-states at the subnational scale — a disaggregation that could help global policies to translate more meaningfully on the ground. The same policies do not necessarily apply to urban and rural areas identically; with their distinct challenges they usually require different kinds of solutions. Taking food security as an example, research shows that hunger manifests very differently and for different reasons in cities than it does in rural areas.

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