Three perspectives on enabling local actions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dianty Ningrum, Shirin Malekpour, Rob Raven, Enayat A. Moallemi, Gary Bonar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Enabling local adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is important to accelerate global efforts to achieve sustainable development. However, local governments have plural perspectives on how to engage with the SDGs. In this paper, we identify three perspectives on how to enable local SDGs based on cases of nine local governments in Australia. We emphasise the need for seeing local SDG adoption as contextualised and actor-driven processes. Local governments worldwide are taking the initiative to engage with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) despite the absence of a globally-coordinated guideline on local SDGs actions. With less than a decade until its 2030 deadline, a more targeted and nuanced approach to enabling local SDG actions is needed. In this paper, we argue that there is a need to look at local SDG actions as an actor-driven process where agency, contexts, purpose and dynamicsco-evolveand shape the outcome of the process. Using Q-methodology, we explore different perspectives on what enables local SDGs actions in nine local governments in Australia. Three perspectives in enabling local SDG actions emerged from the study: 1) “Enablers should support institutional embeddedness of the SDGs”, 2) “Enablers should support stakeholder coordination for the SDGs”, and 3) “Enablers should support community engagement for the SDGs”. Each perspective has preferred enablers, contextualised within certain ways of engaging with the SDGs,certain views of the SDGs,and specific local contexts and capacities. This study provides insights to contextualise knowledge in current literature to enable local SDG actions. Many understand that the local adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not a one-shoe-fits-all process, but what are some of the plurality in local SDG adoptions? In this paper, we identify three perspectives on enabling the SDGs based on nine local governments in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • policies
  • politics and governance
  • social value

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