17 Sustainability: Global

17.1        Statistics

  • Half the global population – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today79
  • The world’s cities occupy only 3% of land, but account for at least 60% of energy consumption and 75% of greenhouse gas emissions80
  • An estimated one-third of food produced are wasted each year, which equates to 1.3 billion tonnes worth around $1 trillion of food wastage generated81.
  • Water is being polluted at a faster rate than nature can recycle and purify it82.

17.2        The Challenge

Extreme poverty is often concentrated in urban spaces, where poor families settle into slums.  The fast pace of urbanization exerts pressure on water and energy supplies, the environment and public health83.

17.3        The Opportunity


While rapid urbanization puts pressure on resources and the environment, the increase in density of cities can being about technological advancement and improve efficiency, which reduces resource and energy consumption.

In addition to addressing living conditions in urban areas, there is a need to invest in infrastructure and innovation to improve transport, communications and the use of renewable energy84.


79Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/cities/


81Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sustainable Development Goals: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-consumption-production/


83Sustainable Cities and Communities. (n.d.). Retrieved from ONE: https://www.one.org/international/globalgoals/sustainable-cities-and-communities/


17.4        Resources

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