SDG 11: Progress, challenges, lessons learned and tools for sustainable transformation of cities

Friday, 14 July, 2023 - 08:30 to 10:00
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Monday, 10 July, 2023

SDG 11: Progress, challenges, lessons learned and tools for sustainable transformation of cities

2023 HLPF UN DESA/UNITAR SDGs Learning, Training and Practice Workshop - Session description (public)

Session 9

Session 9:  Friday, 14 July, from 8:30 am - 10:00 am EST

Joint session organized by the Sustainable Cities Institute, World Blind Union (WBU), UNIBOUniversity of Paris Saclay, and the International Association of Universities (IAU).

Information and Registration : | Registration Link

Key deliverables of the session:

  1. Identify key themes (Access, Equality, Innovative Approaches, Knowledge/Education) and reflect on how to connect these to accelerate SDG11 implementation. 
  2. Share progress, learnings and examples of good practices for the sustainable transformation of cities.
  3. Highlight the importance of strengthened partnerships between cities, universities, policymakers and urban professionals, civil society including NGOs and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities. 


Urbanisation is undoubtedly one of the major global trends of this century. How we govern, plan, and design our cities and urban communities impacts the realisation of human rights for all and how the growing urban inequalities are addressed. Furthermore, the city is conceived as a space where the social contract is renewed and revitalized. The world is off-track towards achieving SDG 11, calling for accelerated, upscaled, and concerted actions to leave no one and no place behind. On this path, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral partnerships are key enablers towards realising the goal’s targets by 2030. 

This event will discuss progress, learnings, and challenges towards achieving SDG 11 and present innovative tools, data, and initiatives addressing SDG 11 and the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda from multi-dimensional perspectives, specifically from higher education, research, data, and accessibility angles.  

Session structure:

  • Welcome: Inga Žalėnienė, IAU Vice President and Rector, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania
  • Presentations:

The Sustainable Cities Institute will show how to use the Sustainable Development Index of Brazilian cities as a tool for monitoring SDG progress at the local level.

The World Blind Union (WBU) will present the publication “The Journal of Public Space: Special Issue on Universally Accessible Public Spaces for All” produced together with City Space Architecture - comprised of articles, case studies, best practices and lessons learnt in relation to public spaces from disability inclusion, ageing, and accessibility perspectives. 

The International Association of Universities (IAU) will stress the importance of education and capacity building for SDG 11, but also how partnerships with higher education for the SDGs can accelerate action. Examples of good practices that will be briefly illustrated:  Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania) and Luther College/RCE Saskatchewan (Canada).

UNIBO and University of Paris Saclay, represented by Prof. Daniela Piana, will define the concept of space and the social contract in the city, based on a method and a menu of actions developed by World Educational Heritage and FUTURA, including means of knowledge transfer, connecting people and co-creation, and fighting inequalities through data-driven as well as human-centred tools. 

  • Discussion around the questions:
    • What would an ‘ideal city’ look like?
    • How can multi-stakeholder partnerships lead to the transformation of the city?
  • Questions from Audience 
  • Conclusions (Moderator) 


  • Jorge Abrahão, General Coordinator of the Sustainable Cities Institute, Brazil. 
  • Hannes Juhlin Lagrelius, Programme Officer, Global Programme for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development, World Blind Union, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Benjamin Dard, Senior Advisor for Inclusive and Accessible Urban Development, World Blind Union, Toronto, Canada.
  • Roger Petry,  Professor of Philosophy at Luther College at the University of Regina, Canada, RCE Saskatchewan and IAU HESD Cluster for SDG 12.
  • Paulo Alexandre da Silva Pereira, Head of the Environmental Management Laboratory at Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania
  • Daniela Piana, Chair Political Science and Rituals and Legal Performativity in the Digital Age, University di Bologna, Coordinator Rule of Law and Digital Citizenship, ICEDD, LUISS, Roma. Permanent Invited Scholar ISP Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris Saclay.

Moderator: Isabel Toman, Programme Officer, Sustainable Development, International Association of Universities, France.

For further questions on the session please contact:

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