Newcastle demos SDGs for UN visitor

29 Oct 2018

The head of the United Nations office in Australia is the special guest of our UN city today just months after City of Newcastle adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of our long-term strategic plan.

Christopher Woodthorpe, Director of the United Nations Information Centre, is a keynote speaker at a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Symposium at Newcastle City Hall.

Christopher Woodthorpe with Josh Wilkes and 94-year-old Hamilton resident Jean Campbell

“The SDGs are our plan for a better world for all, and it’s inspiring to see how City of Newcastle is pursuing this aspiration,” said the Canberra-based UN veteran, a regional spokesperson on the multilateral program adopted in 2015.

This morning he caught up with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and another of the City's on-the-ground SDG flagbearers, Josh Wilkes. As a bin positioner for our Waste Management team, Mr Wilkes practices at least five of the SDGs on his daily rounds.

He drives across the local government area ahead of garbage trucks - and in their wake - to help around 200 people with mobility challenges by taking out their bins and then tucking them back inside again.

"This is a fantastic example of how we already put the spirit of the SDGs into practice in an attempt to make life better for residents in a smart, liveable and sustainable global city," the Lord Mayor said.

"The SDGs explicitly include disability and persons with disabilities 11 times, so I'm delighted to show Mr Woodthorpe how the City of Newcastle is changing our processes and practices to align with them while improving services to our community."

Today's symposium, organised by the City in partnership with the Australian Library and Information Association, is looking at how the UN SDGs can be applied to the arts sector.

Representatives from the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum (GLAM) sector from across the Hunter Region are discussing how they can collectively embrace and further the goals.

The 17 UN SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership to end poverty and other deprivations, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth.

The bin positioner role emerged from the City's Social Strategy, out of which also came the capability to support residents recently displaced from non-compliant boarding houses.

The City will begin engaging with the community next month to update the strategy, which will be closely aligned to the SDGs, and refresh our goals to further support social connections in our communities.

The 17 sustainable development goals to transform our world are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

The City of Newcastle was officially made a UN City in 2016 when the UN's training arm announced that the University of Newcastle would host an International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Australasia and the Pacific region.