How cities in Southeast Asia are acting on the SDGs ahead of their national governments

Commentary (Op. Ed)
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In Southeast Asia, national governments are busy incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national development policies. But while central mandates for implementing the goals are expected to eventually “trickle down” to cities, this process is being slowed by the comprehensive nature of the goals, requiring significant coordination and consultation across government. Furthermore, central guidance may not necessarily be practical: Many city officials have said that they are often confused by conflicting or overlapping policies from multiple ministries, and such frustrations are expected to persist in implementing the SDGs.
However, a group of frontrunner cities — formally recognized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as “Model Cities” — are bucking this passive stance by pursuing the SDGs on the ground ahead of national instructions.

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