World Cities Day China Observance / Shanghai Award

Johannesburg, South Africa |  Updated:2023-11-08

Johannesburg stands as a formidable commercial center on the African continent, contributing significantly to South Africa's economy with approximately 15% of the country's GDP being generated. This dynamic urban landscape has experienced remarkable population growth over the past decade, expanding at a rate nearly doubling that of the entire country, which has created opportunities for prosperity but also challenges for development.

Johannesburg contends with typical developmental obstacles encompassing climate change, economic downturn, poverty, inequality, and housing and infrastructure backlogs. These trends are further exacerbated by rapid urbanization, as the city undergoes swift population growth, which urgently calls for an increase in the level of public services available to respond to this set of challenges.

The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in the City of Johannesburg serves as a vital planning and implementation tool mandated by South African local governments, which not only provides a forward-looking blueprint for the City's development, but also responds positively to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and New Urban Agenda (NUA) initiative.

Over the next five years, the IDP focuses on 11 key tasks such as developing good governance, financial sustainability, energy mix, sustainable service delivery, etc. In order to assess the state of sustainable development in the city, Johannesburg has established the City of Johannesburg SDG Indicator Tracking Platform to assess the city's sustainable development goals, with a specific focus on "building databases to improve urban sustainability assessments". Through the Indicator Tracking Platform, Johannesburg tracks 92 domesticated SDG indicators relevant to local context, providing 10 years' worth of data points where possible, aiming to present a holistic "whole picture" view of its progress.

This platform has revolutionized the way data is accessed and utilized within the city. All city departments and entities now have access to shared data, facilitating integrated planning and fostering collaboration. Through streamlined access to essential data points, key stakeholders can make informed decisions, effectively targeting resources and efforts where they are most needed.

The operationalization of the platform's data has made a substantial contribution to various sectors. Communities that were underserved are now able to efficiently deploy resources.

Beyond being a data management tool, the platform operates as a transparency tool, promoting awareness of the SDGs throughout the city. By making information readily accessible to communities, the platform empowers residents to be actively engaged in sustainable development efforts.

Through transparent reporting and effective data management, the platform improves the sustainability of urban governance, social inclusion, economic growth and environmental protection. Johannesburg's Comprehensive Development Plan embodies a holistic approach that promotes more targeted investment and efficient resource allocation, and lays the foundation for sustainable infrastructure development and improved service levels. The platform responds to local development challenges while contributing to the global sustainable development agenda.

Moreover, the city's financing and investment mechanisms prioritize self-sustainability and minimal reliance on external funding to advance its long-term implementation of sustainable development activities. By relying on revenue generated through its own services, the city aims to reduce dependence on external sources of funding. This enables it to have greater control over its financial stability and allocate funds to key projects and initiatives that advance sustainable development.

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