Q&A: How New York City’s SDG leadership aided COVID-19 response

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Penny Abeywardena, second from the left, at the launch of the Voluntary Local Review Declaration during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly. Photo by: Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, City of New York

Penny Abeywardena never expected that part of her job as New York City’s commissioner for international affairs would be sourcing personal protective equipment and ventilator parts from the United Nations and foreign governments during a pandemic with her own city at its epicenter.

For her first six years in office as a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, Abeywardena fostered New York City’s relationship with the world’s largest diplomatic corps and spearheaded the city’s efforts to align its own planning with the global Sustainable Development Goals. Her office leads the Global Vision, Urban Action program to share lessons and progress with other cities around the world.

“New York City is as large, if not larger, than 141 countries, so we felt like what we were achieving here could be relevant abroad. But we also have structural inequities that make sure that we show up with the humility to learn from the Nairobis and the São Paulos,” Abeywardena told Devex.

To read full article visit: https://www.devex.com/news/q-a-how-new-york-city-s-sdg-leadership-aided-covid-19-response-100454

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