Practicing Sustainable Development Goals

Article image - Practicing Sustainable Development Goals Christopher Woodthorpe, Newcastle resident Jean Campbell, and bin positioner Josh Wilkes.

Director of the United Nations (UN) Information Centre, Christopher Woodthorpe, has had a first-hand look at how City of Newcastle, New South Wales, is implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a recent visit.

The Canberra-based UN veteran, said, “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.” While in Newcastle to deliver the keynote address for a SDG symposium Mr Woodthorpe caught up with one of the City’s on-the-ground SDG flag bearers. 

As a bin positioner for the Waste Management team, Josh Wilkes, practices at least five of the SDGs on his daily rounds.

He drives across the Local Government Areas ahead of garbage trucks - and in their wake - to help around 200 residents with mobility challenges by taking out their bins and then tucking them back inside again.

The bin positioner role emerged from the City’s Social Strategy.

Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, said, “This is a fantastic example of how we are putting the spirit of the SDGs into practice to make life better for residents in a smart, liveable and sustainable global city. 

“The SDGs explicitly include disability and persons with disabilities 11 times.”

Organised by the City in partnership with the Australian Library and Information Association, the symposium looked at how the UN SDGs can be applied across the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum (GLAM) sector.

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.

Newcastle has been an official UN City since 2016.