Adopting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as Liberal Democrat Councils

The Liberal Democrat principles strongly reflect those of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), so we believe they should be adopted both by the Federal Party and at the Local level.

Local Government has an instrumental role to play in delivering these global goals which can be used as a dashboard for delivering enhanced infrastructure and guiding policy that shapes resident's lives and the environment. Initially designed as a framework for global collaboration, the goals have evolved for use within civil society, publicly and privately and can be used as a guide for equality and sustainability locally and within communities. They can build pathways for coopertation between other local authorities and public-private partnerships to deliver well-being whilst tackling climate change and repairing ecosystems. 

Green Liberal Democrat Councillors have recently already began the process of implementation of the goals. North Yorkshire Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council have been some of the most newest additions to the list of councils who have embraced the UN SDGs, campaigns both spearheaded by Green Liberal Democrats as they believe they can and should be put in place widely around the country as a means of helping to deliver truly sustainable development, this was a significant step in the delivery framework for Local Authorities. 

The Local Government Association (LGA) has also outlined a guide for how Councils might begin to implement UN SDGs and emphasises the integral part Local Authority plays in helping to deliver the goals. See here:



There are 4 main points for councils: 

1. Adoptings the UN SDGs helps to provide a dashboard for delivering local authority's policies, work programs and initiatives, ensuring that they are aligned with national and global sustainable development agendas. 

2. Emphasises the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships to boost implementation of UN SDGs.

3. Regular monitoring, reporting and evaluation of progress towards achieving UN SDGs, which can also be vital to engaging the community in the process.

4. Encouraging cooperation and knowledge-sharing with other local authorities who have adopted UN SDGs, to aid in the promotion of collective action, globally and nationally. 


Perhaps your council is already engaging with the SDGs or policy which has an aim to promote the 17 goals in current practice or in future strategy plans. North Yorkshire Council have created some tables which show how some of their council objectives promote the global goals. If you have similar schemes and activities already taking place, then congratulations, you are enacting the aims of the SDGs!

Template Motion Below: 


Urgent Motion for [insert your] Council


This Council notes with concern the recent Special Report from the United Nations Secretary General – “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: towards a rescue plan for people and planet”- published in July 2023 to mark the midpoint between 2015 and the delivery date of 2030.

The Secretary General finds that “… many of the Goals are moderately to severely off track and puts forward five major recommendations to rescue the Goals and accelerate implementation between now and 2030”.


This council notes the third of those recommendations, calling upon Governments to “… strengthen national and subnational capacity, accountability and public institutions to deliver accelerated progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” Furthermore, this council recognises the main reasons of the Local Government Association as to why councils should investigate and implement the UNSDGs:


To that end, [insert your] Council resolves to adopt the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for guiding our local authority's policies, work programs, functions, and initiatives.

By doing so, we commit to aligning our strategies with the national and global agenda for sustainable development and working towards achieving these goals within our sphere of influence; thus, recognising the significance of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a comprehensive framework for sustainable development at the global level. We shall seek to apply the UN SDGs at the local level for the wellbeing of our residents.


Council believes that:


1.            Adopting the UNSDGs will provide a clear direction for our local authority's policies, work programs, and initiatives, ensuring their alignment with the national and global agenda for sustainable development.


2.            Emphasising the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships will help in implementing the UNSDGs effectively.


3.            Committing to regular monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of our progress towards achieving the UNSDGs is vital to engage our community in the process.


4.            Encouraging cooperation and knowledge-sharing with other local authorities across the UK and world that have already adopted the UNSDGs, will help in promoting collective action and learning both locally and globally.


Council therefore resolves that [insert your] Council:


1.            Adopts the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for guiding our local authority's policies, work programs, and initiatives.


2.            Brings together the relevant departments and stakeholders within our local authority to develop an action plan for implementing the UNSDGs, outlining specific targets, timelines, and responsibilities.


3.            Actively engages and collaborates with other local authorities, organisations, and community groups to share best practices, experiences, and lessons learned in advancing the UNSDGs.


4.            Submits regular progress reports to the council, including updates on the implementation of the UNSDGs and assessments of the local authority's performance in contributing to the global agenda for sustainable development.


By taking this step, we can also demonstrate our commitment to contribute to the global effort to achieve a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient world for future generations

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