As cities are always the place where many SDGs will be achieved, how to achieve various goals in urban realm?

Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Cities: Achieving SDGs 7 and 11 

For cities, energy efficiency is both a long-term necessity and an opportunity. Cities are uniquely placed to encourage and deploy energy efficiency measures, given their multifaceted nature as energy consumers, managers of energy networks, and potential energy producers. City administrators can be effective communicators vis-à-vis their citizens, since they are the closest level of government to the people. To enable municipal authorities to deliver on energy efficiency’s vast potential, several elements are required:

  • City governments must develop the right policy framework for implementation. This means integrating energy efficiency into local priorities and strategies, including implementing national energy efficiency policies and programmes at the local level and ensuring that such measures are part of the long-term urban development plan. Multiple stakeholders should be consulted to maximize buy-in and create a shared sense of ownership. Energy efficiency is cross-cutting and involves a range of actors, from policymakers and investors to service providers and consumers. 
  • Energy efficiency needs investment. Local budgets must be set aside or reallocated towards energy efficiency projects to support implementation. For cities this could be renovating public buildings or putting in place more efficient public transport. Municipal budgets however are often limited. Other sources of finance need to complement the gaps. These can come from central government, multilateral development banks, or the private sector. 
  • Municipalities do not always have the capacity, awareness, or knowledge to identify energy efficiency opportunities, shape policies, and leverage investments. Local capacity building is therefore key to successfully deploying and scaling-up urban energy efficiency. To this end, city authorities should use inter-municipal collaboration networks to share tools and experiences, such as:  C40 Cities, the OECD Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign, etc. 
  • Finally, awareness-raising is critical to improving energy efficiency in cities. From creating multi-stakeholder partnerships to financing and citizen behavior in the local context, the municipal community must be made aware of the opportunity energy efficiency represents. Local governments have a vital role to play in educating these numerous actors. At the level of citizens, communication campaigns and education programmes could establish the basis for long-term transformation towards an energy efficient society.